Total Pageviews

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Knee UP, or Down

I realize that I haven't even mentioned that the last artwork for ANIMATED PERFORMANCE, barring the cover, was completed on September 1. I literally went down to the wire on it, finishing just before school started. A serious knee injury made it difficult for me to sit for long periods in front of the computer for some time, and only when I started seeing a physical therapist (the doctor said it was just a 'sprain' but you can go to a phys therapist in Canada on your own) did I find out that I wrenched open the old accident wound from my car crash when I tried to climb the impossible stairs to the GO train on July 21. I guess the knee was giving me a ten year anniversary present. Anyway, the physical therapist has been wonderful; but my exercise program abruptly stopped in July. I wondered if the book would also have to stop, since I couldn't hit my deadlines.
Enter some wonderful friends I met on Facebook, though I'd met one of them previously, and another was familiar through his films. Elliot Cowan, who created The Stressful Adventures of Boxhead and Roundhead, kindly offered to do some drawings, and there are five of his funny sketches in the book as a result. Elliot is what we would call a mensch, and his animation is actually hand drawn and finished in After Effects--the Boxhead Roundhead series shows that you can get some great effects with simpler programs than Maya if you have imagination and talent. Other folk from Facebook either donated artwork or recommended someone whose work would suit (there are some fine surprises in the illustration.)
So I am waiting for two things: the legal paperwork from a well known studio (which is being reviewed at this time, I am informed...cross fingers...) and the layout for the cover so that I can slot my artwork into it.
And the layouts for the book of course. I am really crossing fingers, holding thumbs, and breath as well for this last one. Nuff said for now.
But anyway, the knee injury, though better, will only relapse if I cannot exercise. Winter is rapidly approaching here. I have been okayed for aquatic exercise and bicycling. These aren't easy to do in the dead of the Canadian winter.
The Oakville Club's pool is outdoor, and closed for the season; and the club itself is down a steep hill that is very dangerous for me to attempt in the dead of winter; since the sidewalks can be very icy here. (There are no problems with cars. They shovel the roads but do not take as much care with the sidewalks.)
So regretfully I have had to resign from the club and join the local Y, which is accessible by bus, which has two lovely pools and the finest workout room I've ever seen. There is also a cute little cafe and a bright, cheery design to the entire building. It's cheaper, but not THAT much cheaper than the club. The main advantage is: I can actually use the facilities. And I intend to do so. I want the knee to get better and I want to keep my health up...I will be less likely to get sick in winter if I exercise.
Or maybe this will all turn into another sick joke like my first exercise experience did. I was doing really well til that damn knee went out in the middle of Union Station.
The good news is that I have two years to come back to the Oakville Club without penalty. Lots can happen between now and then, but it's nice to know. I enjoyed being there, but really I couldn't do anything after the accident.
Knee injuries are the worst. I want to get this over with, for once and for all.
Wish me luck.


I realize that both my readers have probably decamped for Facebook fields. I've been shockingly lax in posting lately. This doesn't mean there hasn't been some news...quite the opposite.
The school year has of course begun, and I've been pretty busy with that.
I invited Don Hahn of Disney to the Sheridan campus and he graciously lectured for nearly two and a half hours, screened the rare short LORENZO, and provided the Sheridan students with a wonderful glimpse of how the legendary teacher Walt Stanchfield conducted his classes-at one time Stanchfield modeled for a 'leggy' woman to show her the pose he wanted!
In that same week (the second week of term), Mark Mayerson invited two other animators to lecture the same students. One was my former Disney colleague Joe Haidar, who had produced a short film of his own (the Animated American). The other was independent animator Paul Fierlinger, who described how he managed to work in his own style for fifty years. A regular smorgasbord of techniques, everything from major studios to one man (and woman) operations, was discussed during that time. I know this did the students a world of good and we hope to have more speakers in future.
Now we're nearly at midterm already (where did the time go?) and just past Canadian thanksgiving, which was a lot of fun. I invited Rose Keefe, writer of THE STARKER, the biography of Big Jack Zelig. This "Jewish Robin Hood" was the terror of the lower East Side of Manhattan in 1912. Rose is a near neighbour and she was great company. Gizmo the cat fell in love with her (possibly because Rose also owns ferrets--Gizmo likes people who have other pets). And we discussed famous early Twentieth Century murders at the dinner table...which I find a whole lot more interesting than football.
Other guests included a fellow professor from Sheridan (she and her family were originally from China); one Chinese graduate from Sheridan, and one Russian friend who arrived a bit later. So all of us, other than Rose, were immigrants.
Gizmo was so excited she kept inviting herself to sit at the table and had to be removed four times. She really just wants to sit and be part of the conversation (made no motion toward the food) but since I refuse to be a Crazy Cat Lady, she gets to eat on the floor out of a cat food bowl. Really.
So anyway that brings me sort of up to date except that I plan to take a little trip during our midterm break. More about that later, if anyone is still reading.
again, my apologies for the long hiatus. Check me out on Facebook...I'm there pretty often, throwing pies.