Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Pixar Story

I recently watched a documentary called The Pixar Story.  For the most part it focuses on John Lasseter who's the creative genius behind Pixar.  He's had a fascinating life, starting off working as a sweeper at Disney's  Tomorrowland, getting a job as an animator at Disney, being fired for being too daring, then starting Pixar which was eventually bought out by Disney.  He's come full circle as he's now Chief Creative Officer at Disney and has also overseen the running of Disney's theme parks.

As the documentary points out, Pixar is something of anomaly - every one of its films have been a huge success.  It's also been a game changer, moving Disney and many other studios away from traditional animation to computer-animated films.  The reason for Pixar's success has been the studio's zeal and dedication to creating something that's high quality and will stand the test of time.

Watching The Pixar Story you see the melding of technology and art and how this led to the formation of Pixar and the phenomenal success of computer-animated films.  You also get to see an artist follow through on his passion and create something that millions of people can enjoy.

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Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas this year was a lot of fun and made up for my sub-par Christmas last year.

It started with a long lie-in, then after I'd got up I walked over to my mum's place where my brother and sister were. My mum cooked us all breakfast and then we opened all our presents. Notable things I got include a Star Wars wallet, some books I'd been wanting, PJs and a Mick Foley action figure.

At around 2:30 we went over to my aunty's house, which is nearby, and enjoyed a couple of beers while watching Jingle All The Way.  By around 5:30 Christmas dinner was ready and my aunty had cooked a feast which has to be up there with the greatest meals I've ever eaten.  For the first time in a long time I ate so much it physically hurt my stomach, but it was worth it.  After that we drank some more, listened to Barry Manilow and played Scrabble.  We rolled home around 11, full and happy.  It was great to see my mum have such a good time.  She had drank quite a bit of wine but I hadn't seen her laugh like that in a long time.

Today I was back at work at Pizza Hut, but it was strangely quiet.  The weather this Christmas has also been a bit odd.  It's really warm in Sheffield for this time of year, so no snow.  It's an interesting vibe.

I'm working every day for a bit, but I'm off for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.  I have a friend coming up to Sheffield for the 31st and we should be going to a house party.  He's a British JET CIR who's still working in Japan but he's back for Christmas. Haven't seen him for a bit so it should be fun.

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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

5-a-side, radio show etc.

So BJ F.C.'s season ended on a high with a 5-1 victory against the 2nd placed team, leaving us with a 3rd place finish overall, I believe. We've really improved over the course of the semester and everyone's found their role within the team. There've been a few disagreements over team choices, but we've all enjoyed it on the whole.  We'll probably enter a 6-a-side league next semester.

Another thing that's on a temporary break is my radio show on the uni station. I feel I'm getting better at producing a high quality, interesting radio show, and I'm starting to get a lot of interaction with my listeners. Every week I have something to read out from my listeners and it really adds to the show. You can hear my final episode of the semester on Mixcloud.

My sister's birthday do today was fun.  We went for lunch, had some afternoon drinks and then played pool till late.  At the pub I saw one of the actresses from This Is England 88. All three episodes of that were on in the last week. It's a great saga that keeps on developing, and it makes it even more interesting that it's filmed in Sheffield.  You can recognise a lot of the filming locations when you're watching and many of the cast are spotted around town on a regular basis.

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Monday, 19 December 2011

End of term

Uni finished a couple of days ago and it's great to get a bit of a break.  It's not gonna be a complete break though, as I'll be working at Pizza Hut most days, and I have a couple of exams in January to revise for and an essay to write.  But due to the nature of my masters I've already handed in a big chunk of the assessed work for the first semester. In fact, most of it came in the last week.  I finished off my four patch stories from Barnsley on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, handed in my TV news piece on Wednesday, and then I had an assessed news bulletin on Thursday.

I've uploaded my TV piece to YouTube:

After handing everything in, everyone from the journalism masters courses - including the lecturers - went for a pint at a nearby pub, and then we had a party in the evening at my classmate's house.

The first semester has been tough, but not as intensive as my Japanese degree, so it wasn't too bad.  And most of it is practical, working with cameras or voice recorders, so I really enjoy it.

It's my sister's birthday tomorrow so I'm going out for lunch with her and some family and friends.

Things are a bit strange at home at the moment; I won't go into details, but it means I'll be moving out around the beginning of February.  I must have moved house more than anyone I know. I never seem to stay in the same place for very long.  Looking forward to Christmas though, missed it last year being in Japan. I think we're going to our aunty's on Christmas day.

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Saturday, 3 December 2011


I've been subscribed to LOVEFiLM for a few months now and I think it's a decent service for the price you pay.  They seem to throw in special incentives to stay subscribed every now and again, which I also think is good.  For example, the other week I received an extra DVD from my rental list randomly, and yesterday I received three gift vouchers to give out to friends.  These vouchers give the user two months subscription for free, and each voucher was personalised with my name on, which was a neat touch.

Personalised voucher

Personalised voucher (inside)

Funny flyer

I think things like this do go a long way to keeping your customer base interested.

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