Walking Dead: Be angry. You’re supposed to be.

I’ve been reading some of the reactions from Walking Dead fans regarding the last episode. Many of you are angry, angry as hell. Why?  Because you felt the producers of Walking Dead somehow betrayed you or toyed with you by not letting you know who died in the last episode this season.

If you are angry, good. I think you are just where the producers and writers of the show want you to be. What??? you say.

Let’s take a look at, what if they DID tell you who died. You’d still be angry, right? None of us want to see any of the main characters we’ve come to love die. When we thought Glenn had died in a previous episode, we felt anguish. We hoped and prayed that he made it through somehow. Once we discovered he had survived after all, we felt relief, just like Rick’s group felt relief. But before that we felt fear, just as Rick’s group did.

We’ve lived through these experiences with the characters – the not knowing, the anguish, the fear, the relief. We’ve watched them falter and succeed. We grew with them. In doing so, we built a bond. We feel close to them. We became a part of Rick’s group.

Now back to the final episode of the season. As the group loses more and more control of their own circumstances, our fears grow, yet we keep the slightest amount of hope, just like they did. When Negan takes his bat to one of the members, we are put into that person’s point of view (POV), so we can’t tell who it is. This is where most people feel betrayed, by the not knowing. If you did know, you’d feel excruciating anguish and anger at the loss of one of the main characters. You’d still be angry. Even if you knew, you’d still be angry. So why didn’t they tell you?

As the saying goes, “Time heals all wounds.” By the time the new season starts in October, we would have had time to digest the loss (about 6 months). So when we jump back into the story with the group in shock of realizing who just died, we’d be in a different place than them, having already digested who had died and the implications of that. Not knowing until the new season starts ensures we will be in the same place as the characters, feeling the same anguish, the same anger, the same loss, the same shock.

But you still feel like you’ve been toyed with? I hope so. I think the producers and writers made that intentional. Think about it. Rick’s group is being toyed with by Negan. They are absolutely helpless and terrified. You’ve been walking with Rick’s group their entire journey, feeling what they feel. Why should now be any different?

The final scene puts us in the POV of the character that receives the fatal blows. You hear Rick’s group screaming, pleading, and grieving, reacting in shock over “your” brutal death. Your bond to them is closer than ever before.

If you are still angry at the producers and writers of the show, I doubt any one of you will miss the first episode of the new season. You’ll be in there, right along side the rest of the group, emotionally tugged into the most uncomfortable places you never want to go. It is through these unwanted experiences we learn from others the possibilities of the human spirit. The writers and producers are taking us on that journey, to discover within ourselves, the darkest and brightest moments of humanity. It is these moments that make us feel alive, make us want to fight for something, make us want to right a wrong, make us want to live.

Go ahead, be angry. You’re supposed to be.

Just Chill

Need something to just help you chill?

I’m all about web sites that bring more than just information or pretty pictures to the screen. I came across http://ambicular.com/ that uses natural sounds, video, and animation to produce an immersive environment.

If you scroll down there are others to choose from. And they change out the “environment” every 10 days. Put on the headphones and enjoy.

 

Riders on the Storm

I wrapped my fingers tightly around the prickly, grainy stalks and yanked up hard toward the empty sky. The tassel separated with a dull pop. I flung it to the ground, stepped forward in the hard black dirt to the next stalk, and reached up again. The sun glared down on my bare shoulders and back, baking them to a soft brown with a cherry tinge underneath.

“Riders on the Storm” by The Doors floated across the corn field from our little portable radios that hung from our belt loops. Everyone tuned into WLS from Chicago, so the whole field was alive with music. And this day, everyone listened. The Doors had lost one of their band members. Not only was this our first summer job and our “initiation” into freshmen year at high school, we were suddenly faced with the realization that we would not be on this earth forever. That death could come at any time, like it did for Jim Morrison.

Sweat rolled down my arm into one of the small cuts on my inner elbow. The salt-sting made me wince. I had not bothered to put on long sleeves this morning when we hit the field at dawn. The leaves of the corn stalks were still dripping with morning dew then and wet corn leaves have paper-sharp edges. But now, as they dried out under the midday sun, they softened, and most of us girls had peeled down to bandanas on our heads, halter-tops and jean shorts. The guys just peeled down to jeans, their bare chests and backs exposed and glistening, tanned and hardened.

I grasped a corn tassel and yanked. Pop! Some of the chaff stuck to my sweaty palm as I let go. “Into this world we’re thrown,” I sang with the radio, letting the tassel fall. I wiped my hand against my shorts to relieve the itch and moved further down the row, pressing the fallen tassel into the warm earth with the heel of my tennis shoe. The tall green stalks, standing stiff like soldiers, lined the dark dirt ahead of me on both sides for what seemed like forever, eventually converging in a shimmer of heat, like a mirage, a promise of its end.

A flash of red bandana between the stalks two rows over told me that Donna had caught up. Absorbed in the song and her work, she belted out in a deep grinding voice, “There’s a killer on the road.”

I laughed to myself and sang quietly along with her as we moved down the rows. Reach, yank, pop!

The sky was still empty and the sun had moved high overhead. The corn stalks no longer shaded the ground at its feet. It heated the black dirt beneath us, like the black seat in a car that burns you. I paused to wipe my brow with my forearm, but it felt rough and gritty and left a layer of chaff sticking to my wet forehead.

I could not see over the rows of corn to either side, to see how far along everyone else was. All I could do was keep moving forward in this sea of green and chaff, in the trough of the wave I was assigned to. If I fell behind, our crew chief, who wandered across the waves behind us, would let me know.

I moved forward, reach, yank, pop, listening to the music waft over the field. The sounds of thunder and rain, mixed with the tinkling of light-stepped piano keys, made you forget momentarily there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. How we wished for those clouds, a respite from the angry sun. A rain to turn our sea of sun-baked corn stalks into wet muddy puddles.

The last phrase of the song became a whisper, “Riders in the Storm.” With the music silent, the air filled with the wavering buzz of bees. A crew chief shouted to his team as we reached the end of the field and gathered by the bus. Chuck Buell, the afternoon DJ, announced the next song on the WLS Hit Parade. We quickly forgot about rain and thunderstorms as the girls listened to the Bee Gees’ “How can you mend a broken heart?” and the boys rolled their eyes.

by Barbara Seaton
Copyright 2014

A short memoir piece written in the fall of 2014 about my first summer detasseling corn back in 1972.

Flowers, leaves, and bugs

Pink Tulip - thumbnail

I love to capture the natural world around me in its vibrant color and come in close to find the hidden worlds that most of us miss. Sometimes the only time we see a particular moment is through the eye of the camera.

Mountain Laurel Wasp Rhododendron at Gibbs Gardens Clematis Japanese Maple Leaves after the rain Japanese Maple Leaves Violet after the rain Tulip petal after the rain Flower Dandelion Dogwood Flower Dogwood Flowers Dogwood Flowers Dogwood Flowers Pink Tulip Bee on Redbud Flowers
Pink TulipPink Tulip

 

Dogwood Flower Flowers Flowering stem tip Purple Tulip with raindrops on petal Purple tulip up close Pink Tulips Red Azaleas

Zangar Shore – WOD

Zangar Shore

Along the northern shores of Nagrand in Draenor lies the Zangar Sea. And there between, lies the Zangar Shore, where the mushroom forests climb up from the water to create a high canopy overhead along sandy beaches. It is host to sporebats, fen striders, and other creatures of the bog.

There were so many beautiful views (I took 50+ screenshots) it was hard to narrow it down to just the few here.

 

Zangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar ShoreZangar Shore

And don’t forget to look underwater! There is a cave far below.

Zangar Shore Underwater CaveZangar Shore Underwater CaveZangar Shore Underwater CaveZangar Shore Underwater CaveZangar Shore Underwater CaveZangar Shore Underwater CaveZangar Shore Underwater CaveZangar Shore Underwater Cave

Auchindoun – WOD

Auchindoun

Seeing Auchindoun in all its glory is amazing. Before, in the Outlands, you could sense the design amongst the ruins and shattered stone. Now, in Draenor, you can see the sweeping buttresses, curving stairways, and open plazas without scar or blemish. Fountains, pools, and hanging foliage add to the beauty of this magnificent creation. Kudos to the landscape artists!

 

Approach to AuchindounSteps leading down to AuchindounDoorway into AuchindounGhosts of AuchindounPlaza of AuchindounFoliage and Fountains of AuchindounSteps leading up from a plazaA guard of Auchindoun at restAuchindoun

 

Tappy the Nail – My first animated short film

Tappy the Nail

Tappy the Nail was the result of a graphic design class where we could choose what medium we wanted to work in. I chose to work in animation using Blender. My instructor gave me goals and guidelines, but other than that, he left it up to me to come up with what I was going to do.

This was the first animated short film I had done. I used Blender for the modeling and animation, then brought in the clips into Adobe Premier Pro to combine clips and sound for the finished result.

One of the greatest challenges for me was the mouth. I had planned on just creating a simple bar with an armature so I could change the shape of the bar, but my instructor said no. He wanted me to incorporate the mouth into the actual body of the nail. Sigh….So I did my research and discovered relative vertex keys.

Then, carefully, with the precision of a cross-eyed drunken monkey, I took my digital knife and cut an opening in Tappy’s face. And with a little digital plastic surgery and the help of relative vertex keys to move the mouth, Tappy had a bonafide mouth that moved and formed the shapes I needed to match the sounds and expressions.

Tappy is a simple little nail that finds delight in a simple little butterfly.

Tappy the Nail

Once I have the video uploaded, I will insert it in place of the image above!

Wormwood – Making a caterpillar bend

Wormwood - closeup of caterpillar

Wormwood was to be a….worm. Well, he ended up a caterpillar. So maybe he’s a caterpillar in a bigger world called Wormwood. Yeah, that sounds good.

My intent with this character was to create an armature so that I could move and pose him. Initially he was modeled in a straight line. In the images below, I had grabbed and lifted his head (Disclaimer: No digital caterpillars were injured during this process.) and his body followed by bending at each section.

Getting the “bends”:

Wormwood - caterpillar side view
Wormwood - catepillar with texture

And Rabbits…..Oh My!

Modeled Rabbit

In one of my animation classes, we were required to use Animation Master. The software came with a pre-modeled rabbit. But I wanted to try my hand at re-modeling the rabbit in Blender.

So I took screen shots from various angles of the wireframe of the rabbit, and brought them in as backgrounds in Blender. Then I modeled the rabbit from scratch. Below is the result.

Modeled Rabbit

And he looked pretty close to the original in Animation Master.