BennyEast.Com/Blog The official blog of Kenny West

27Jun/110

Construction Paper Comedy Update

I have FINALLY figured out this whole construction paper animation comedy thing!  Basically I was having a difficult time figuring out the best way to cut shapes out and scan them in and get the sizings right and all that for creating my animated sequences.  I kept trying different things and nothing really looked right or fit or anything.  So right before I left to come to camp I decided ok, i'm not going to bring my "box o crafts" and things and sit here cutting out and scanning in construction paper, but at the same time I wanted to at least get things really going with the animations.

Soooooo I was like wait a second/minute/hour/day... I could just scan in FULL sheets of construction paper and then cut them up digitally.  I can just keep the same original sheets of paper in a folder on my computer and open them up new and cut out shapes.  WHOA!  Wait, this means I don't waste all this paper and making scraps and messes... this ALSO means I can make these anywhere I can bring my laptop.  I pretty much spent a few hours tonight hanging out in my cabin just playing around with digitally cutting out construction paper shapes.  This is so neat!

Right, so, I had the whole writing the comedy script part down, check.  Then I got the whole recording my audio backing tracks part down (double check).  So the last part left was creating animations using construction paper over top of the audio I had recorded in.  Well now it's all figured out!  Now I can use photoshop to digitally "cut out" shapes, then import them into flash.  I can then use flash to animate over the also imported audio track!  Then I can export that video into a quick video editing program, like premier and presto!  I can't wait to finish the first one.  I mean, it's still going to take a while to animate, but at least I have finally figured out the whole process.

The last thing I can do is use color balance settings and take the full 6 original construction paper colors and make "new" colors and save those new full sheets for future use!  It's almost BETTER even than cutting out real construction paper.  I also can use the "free transform" function in photoshop and warp the shapes, which is something I definitely can't do at all with real construction paper.

This is kinda exciting. So tonight I just made a little test image.  I set out to just make a basic sailboat sailing on some water under some blue sky and sun and a cloud. Then I put sunglasses and lips on the sun and thought it reminded me of Marilyn Monroe, so I went with it.  I found a Marilyn Monroe quote and then changed a few words to fit better.

This is just a first test example still frame thing of making some of my construction paper comedy animation.  My next one will be animated to an audio track and will have things moving around the screen and all that goodness....

but for now...

"Marilyn Sunroe"

 

 

Nothing like a little sun humor to brighten everyones day!. :)

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25Jun/110

Vacation Recap Week 1

I’ve been on vacation for a week now doing my thing at the summer camp.  And it’s just been one of those weeks that keeps you smiling the whole time.  This has been the best time I’ve ever had here!

I won’t go through every little detail day by day but it’s just been one awesome week.   It’s not anything different.  It’s the same really as previous summers.  But I’m just enjoying it a lot more for some reason. Maybe it’s because everything is going fantastic as far as setting up the computer things (the job I’m doing here) but I am just generally having a swell old time hanging out.  And as far as the computer thing goes I’ve actually figured out a whole boatload of things that had me completely stumped/confuzzled/frustrated last year.  Now it’s all super clear and things are working as smooth as ever!  Maybe it’s the coffee I’ve been drinking each morning? Last year I was all tea, but this year I’m doing coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon (chamomile and mint in the evening).  I think it keeps my brain on overdrive.   Or something like that.

It’s just been just great seeing people I’ve known for years and getting to spend time with great friends.  I’m also making lots of new friends and we are just having so many laughs and fun times hanging out around camp.  It’s been a bit chilly lately so we have been hanging out nights by the fire in the lodge. One night was a fire on the beach, another night we were out on the town in Portland.  Good food, good drinks, good friends.   Camp friends are more like extended family than friends.

I think the best night of the week was a lip-sync contest.  it was pretty freakin sweet.  All of the cabin staff participates in kind of a “mock evening program” as practice for how to run an evening program for the campers.   This year the staff put on the most creative and funniest lip sync’s that I’ve ever seen.  I decided to contribute with my own lip-sync performed to the double rainbow song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX0D4oZwCsA).   I put on my rain jacket, rain boots, took out my umbrella and put on a small theatrical performance.  I did a last minute chorography to the song that everyone kinda sorta thought was super fantastically funny.

Tonight I’ll be doing a song for the staff talent/ no talent night.  It’s just a good fun time where everyone and anyone who wants can get up and do anything they want.  I do a song every year.

So that’s been my first week.  I’m looking forward to week two.  The campers arrive tomorrow and I’ll probably have my hands full with helping the campers figure out how to email friends and family back home, but if it’s anything like how all the other technology things have been it should be smooth sailing.

I hope everyone else is having a fantastic start to the summer of 2011.

I’ll leave you with a picture of one of the sayings written all over the lodge.

 

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22Jun/110

Photography #34: “This Summer Beach”

So i'm hanging out in Maine for my vacation at my old summer camp that I was once a camper/counselor at.  Now I just help with computery things and hang out and have fun with the staff during training week.  Then I'm here for another week when the campers are here as well to help out with whatever is needed (mostly computer issues, camper's trying to email family and friends at home... but I also do some music like playing a song or two at campfire).

I haven't updated yet since i've been at camp... I was walking by the waterfront this morning and snapped a photo with my iphone.  I decided to do some edits in photoshop and thought "hey that looks pretty neat!  I think i'll post that up."  So here's my attempt at creativity today and to give everyone a small slice of camp in a thousand unspoken words...

 

Photography #34: "This Summer Beach"

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16Jun/110

My Biggest Fear

So... I've just been thinking a lot about this.

Here's my biggest fear:

 

My biggest fear is to one day be standing at an alter... and one of us... either me or her... is not all in, or both of us?  I don't know.  I mean... I just don't understand how anyone ever gets married and BOTH of them are saying "Hell YES" let's do this.

Like I feel like part of one or both are just settling.

So, in my previous blog I noted that i'm 28 and really, it's just down hill.  I mean you can't be a rockstar when you are 28 and up... and you really can't get WILDLY successful with the ladies once you start losing your hair, or getting grey hair... I'm pretty sure that's right around the bend for me.

So... then the question is... maybe do you just GO with  the next person who says yes and seem to like you?  I mean... love just seems soooooo unlikely to me.  I mean, mutual love... where both people love. I feel like every relationship someone or BOTH have to be settling.

 

But everyone always tells me don't settle.... just wait... she will come along.  But then my REAL worst fear is I wait... and wait...

 

and i'm 75 or 90 and on my deathbed.

no kids...

no family.

 

Just alone.  Because I just kept waiting.

 

So do you just find someone you can at least stand and you at least don't mind being around and maybe they are a good kisser or something and maybe decently cute and maybe they like the same food you like or the same cereal?

Or they have the same shirt you have... who knows.

Then you both go well... if we keep waiting there's a chance NO one will ever show up...

So... you wanna just do this?

But then I am back to the scene were we are at the alter and we are both like well we don't REALLY love each other...

 

but we don't want to be alone.

 

I mean, I want to marry because BOTH OF US say HELL YES... I say: I LOVE THIS GIRL and She says: I LOVE THIS GUY!

 

I don't want to be in a relationship even if BOTH of us mutually at the same time aren't TOTALLY into it and passionate about each other.

 

But maybe that's all just stuff of movies?  Maybe real marriages are just fake.... maybe real relationships are just two people who can't find anyone better and they are just like well...

It's either keep waiting for something that might never come...

Or we just keep each other company.

I mean, I want butterflies... I want someone who makes my heart race... I want someone who I get excited about...

 

But everyone tells me all that stuff fades anyways.

 

So then I guess if that all fades anyways... maybe there's no point in trying to find that... and I should just settle for the next person who comes along who says well... why not?  I'm sick of waiting... you're sick of waiting...

Let's just wait together.

 

This is my worst fear... to be an old man... and never have found love...

OR

to be an old man... and be with someone I really am not in love with and  never was in love with or vice versa.

 

I don't know what is worse.  But everyone says just be alone until you find that one and if you never find her then you never did.

 

Wow... what a depressing thought.

 

To go your whole life and never find someone that is your first thought when you wake up in the morning and the last thought before you go to sleep.

 

I don't know... wait?  Or settle?

 

I guess I'm not really ASKING anyone... I'm just feeling crap because I don't know... I just am.  haha... yep.  So I'm not looking for an answer... I'm just typing.

Anywho that's my ABSOLUTE WORST fear.  So I guess my second worst fear would be to find that person... get married.... and then only get to spend a short time with them.  And then have to start ALL over again.

 

I just don't know how ANYONE ever gets married for REAL love.  It just seems to unlikely unless you settle and take what ever you can get.

 

Like that song... if you can't love the one you love... love the one your with.

 

If we all lived by that song... everyone would be getting married left and right.  I don't know...

 

I guess I'll just keep waiting and dating and hope something sparks one day.

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16Jun/110

If autotune was never invented I would not still be recording music

I did open mic tonight and man it was just pure suck.  hahah yea it just reminds me that I need to not quit my day job.

I think i definitely need to stop thinking that anything "real" is ever going to happen with my music.  I mean ok I have fun so that's fine.  At least open mic gets me out and I meet cool people and have fun.  But I don't really think I'm going to ever book a show ever again.  I definitely like writing and recording music, but if autotune was never invented I would not still be doing music.  I really need to just realize that I can't carry a tune at all.

I really felt like crap tonight because I was up there on stage and just off to the right in the back were these 3 beefy arms folded testorone let's hit up the gym and pump iron for 8 hours together guys that just kept looking back and forth at each other and laughing and you could TELL that they were totally saying "MAN this guy SUCKS".

So I was just like ok let's just finish this up and get off stage.

I'm always going to be that ugly duckling reject dude that no one wants.  haha I just need to face that and realize that's who I am.  I'm not that big beefy testosterone sports playing gym pump iron guy that all the people think is sooooooo cool.

So I guess i'll just keep doing what i'm doing and doing open mics.  But I definitely won't ever book anymore shows because I just hate those type of people in the crowd.  I can stand them for 2 songs but no more than that.

Oh well... I'm just THAT guy that people make fun of.  haha... I need to just admit it.  Sigh, I kinda suck.  I keep thinking one day I won't suck and I'll be cool... but let's see... I'm 28... there is no uphill from here.

It's pretty much ALL downhill.

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15Jun/110

This week: music instead of comedy

So I'm waiting to get sleepy again after having some chamomile tea.  While I'm waiting I've been reading and kinda strumming my guitar a little.  I think that I'm going to do the Burlap and Bean open mic again this week before I head to Maine.  I wasn't going to do it and instead I was going to skip it and sort/pack.

I think I'm just going to go and do it and play music anyways.  But my plan is to come straight home, get my gear and be one of the first on the list so I can get an early spot.  I'll just eat there and I'll just play my two songs and then come home and pack.

I think that I'm definitely better at the whole music thing and comedy needs work.  But hey I might rework my jokes and maybe give the comedy another go after I get back from camp.

Playing open mics is  turning out to be a good way to network and meet new people who are also doing music stuff.  Then we can swap ideas and info.  It's fun and I enjoy it.  I think it's just what I'm going to focus on for now along with recording and always getting new material up on my site.  So that's my plan for thursday night for Burlap open mic.

Tonight I went through my site and consolidated some more pages.  I also put a link to CD Baby to purchase my song "A Place That Fits" with my other social networking sites.  I need to go through all my other social networking sites and do some updating.  I need to add new material to those and make sure things are all good and up to date on those sites.

I really like the new front page "portal" looking thing.  At  work we have this "portal" that students go into.  It has all the good stuff they need right in one place.  So I definitely want to make my site more like that with the whole "all the good" stuff right in that one place and then all the other stuff easy to find and get to.  I want to make it so that for any new fans at open mics my music and website can be approached with ease.  I also decided to take the kennywestmusic.com link and redirect it to umm... well... my music page!  I dissolved the EPK page.  Basically I wasn't using it because i'm not currently booking any shows.  So instead now when I tell people at open mics hey check out kennywestmusic.com it actually goes to my music.  I need to focus on getting more fans and THEN focus on playing shows.

I think my next step is to get little business cards made up to hand out.  I had some peeps come up on monday after I played and ask if they could buy my music on iTunes.  It was cool!  I told them to check out my site for now but that at least one song should be on iTunes soon.  I haven't looked yet but I'm guessing my one song should be up very soon on iTunes.  It might actually be up already.  I'll have to double check and see.

Ok well I'm all kinds of sleepy now so I'm going to head to bed.

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14Jun/110

I need to start packing for Maine!

Ok, I just realized it's already Tuesday and I leave for Maine on Saturday!  Ahhhhhhhh.  I need to pack!  I def need to be packed up and ready to go Friday night when I go to sleep because I'll be working this Saturday overtime and then leaving RIGHT after work to head to the Hartford area to stay with old time family friends peeps over night and then continue on my way up to camp.

So I think definitely starting tonight I'll start sorting out what to take and what not to take etc. etc.  I know for a fact that I do NOT need 12 pairs of pants like and a thousand million shirts like I always bring.  I'm totally just going to actually do laundry this year instead of going the whole 2 weeks without doing any laundry.  Note to self: Pack lighter and just do laundry.

The other thing I always do is bring all this crap I don't actually end up using.  So I'm just going to only bring stuff I REALLY think I'm going to need.  I know the old saying is "better to have it and not need it than to not have it and need it"  I don't know about that.  I mean, especially when you have to carry stuff through the woods to a cabin and back... it's probably better to just do without.  It's only 2 weeks anyways... I think I'll be ok.

I definitely will be bringing up my folding bike.  That was just AWESOME to have and super useful.  I will need all my music stuffs to compose and working on some new tunes while i'm hanging out.

Anywho I can't wait!  I just have to remember to take my plants over to my moms house so that they can be watered and read to (ok maybe not read to) while I'm away.  But maybe if she won't read to my plants they can at least be put next to the other plants at her house and they can be friends and chill and hang out in the sun together and share plant stories.

I wonder what plants would talk about if they could talk?

The running joke between my old college roomie and myself is that every plant I have is named Robert (Plant).  Since we both do music we had a plant while we roomed together named Robert Plant.  Yep. Named after this guy...

So yes I can't wait.  I always LOVE the drive up to New England.  It's a bit long but it's always a wonderful drive.  I love the last bit as things get more and more tree covered and the smell of pine trees is in the air.  And there are more and more mountains.  It's just a great sight.

I think one day I want to live in the New England or Boston area.  I definitely could see myself moving up that way at some point and maybe getting an IT job there or trying to make it in music in Boston.

But for now I'll just enjoy my two weeks up there.

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12Jun/110

Navigation Update Part 2 And Also Other Updates

I just thought up something that might possibly be a cool idea.  I don't know how well this will work but here's what I want to try: On the top navigation of my website instead of just having all the things in the same place all the time to keep it fresh I'm going to move the items around.  However, I'm not going to just move them around randomly and nonsensical.  I'm going to move them so that the item that has the newest updated material will be at the far left.

It will look like this:

[NEWEST][NEWER][NEW][OLD][OLDER][OLDEST]

If that makes sense?

So any time I post something new I'm going to move that item so that it will be easily accessible right at the front.  This will enable anyone who loads up my site to know which pages have been updated recently and which ones haven't been updated in some time.

We'll see how it goes.  It could actually be more confusing than before and in which case this would sort of be bad because it would be the opposite of my goal!  But I'll give it a try and if it works then I'll keep doing that.  If it doesn't work I can just arrange them in one single order and keep that order.

My goal is to try and make the site better.  I always want to make the site better and to make better content to put up on the site too.  It's just something I enjoy doing a lot.

Perhaps maybe then the material in the oldest spot, if I basically never update that section, I'll eventually archive it and pull it from the site.  So like I said hopefully this will keep things fresh and interesting.

Anyways I hope maybe that makes sense!

 

The other updates are that I have started working on recording another song that I have written.  I have 4 songs written that are in recording phase.  I have another 3 to 5 songs that are in the half written phase.

As well I am working on that animated comedy video thing.  I'm not too far into it.  But hopefully I can get things rolling on the whole animation thing and really get working on it so that I can post that.  As always I'm always trying to think of new and cool creative things to post up here.  It's just so much fun to make and create things.  OK, that's all for now.

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12Jun/110

Navigation Update

Hey all.  Hope everyone is having a super fantastic Sunday.  This post isn't going to be very interesting or funny or any of that.  It's not some crazy story about my dreams last night of which I had two of them.  Although they were somewhat interesting and are worth mentioning.

Dream A: They changed "Dancing With The Stars" to "Sleeping With The Stars" and there were a bunch of parents going to protest the morality of it.  They asked me to come along I said "But I'm not a parent."  They said to me  "that I would be some day and I should care now instead of caring someday."  Makes sense.  I suppose just because I'm not in that role life right now, I will eventually be some day so I shouldn't NOT take interest in things just because they do not currently pertain to me (double negative in there I'm aware).

Dream B: I was chillin in an igloo songwriting with Sting.  It was fun.  We came up with some good ideas, but I had no way to write them down and then I woke up and probably wouldn't have been able to play the stuff we came up with anyways because when you do music in dreams it's awesome.  When you try to replicate it in real life.  It doesn't sound so hot.  It's even less good when you "sleepbox".  Apparently one time I was making beats in my sleep or so my roommate from college told me.   He said he woke up one night and I was beat boxing and singing and mimicking guitar sounds in my sleep.  Awesome.

So this is just a basic post to inform everyone that, no, your computer/internet/browser isn't broken.  I changed the header navigation thing on my site and did away with the drop down.  Now all the links are just directly there and clickable instead of being under categories.

But you should still "Listen" "Read" and "See" more (just not butts)

I know... I know... some of you might be asking "But WHY?!?!?!"  I liked the little dropy downy thingy.

Well... I found out that on my iPhone in safari when I was trying to show a family friend at this wedding I was at something on my site a while back the drop down things didn't seem to work!  the only way I could get to the page was because I knew the direct link to it.  Otherwise it wouldn't have worked.  I'd rather have my site functional than look cool.  So I've been meaning to remove the drop downs for a while and replace them with just all the pages.  I also have entirely tooooooo many pages full of junk on my site.  So my next step is to consolidate and clean up and take out some of the stuff that isn't really all that important.  It's a bit overwhelming having SOOOOOO much content.  Or so I was told on more than one occasion by a few friends.

One friend said, "Man, your site is CONFUSING.  I can't freaking figure out what the heck i'm clicking on dude!"

The more I looked at the site as a whole in Dreamweaver... the more I was like... damn, he's totally right!

So I'm De-Confusifying it.  So hopefully it will be easier to navigate and find things!

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11Jun/110

The Problem With Live Looping

Today was a pretty awesome day!  I slept 15 hours (see previous post) then got up early and took care of lots of little things on my to do list.  Then I decided to head to the local coffee shop and read.  I stayed in the coffee shop for a while enjoying a nice little caffeinated beverage.  On my way to the coffee shop I noticed that they were having a "party" of some sort on the next street over.  They had actually blocked off the street so I decided this must be worth checking out.

It turns out it was the Maine Line Jazz and Food Festival (http://www.mainlinejazz.com).  I got myself an alcoholic beverage from a nearby bar and watched a band called Hybrid rock out on the stage.  These guys were FANTASTIC!  Solid, well rehearsed, technically complex, and the songs had a beat that just made you want to groove.  After the jazz band finished up I decided to head back to the coffee shop I was at previously for a second beverage.  SO here I am.  There's a guy playing now and he's pretty good.  He's using looping technology because he's a one man show.  I've played around with looping technology and if done right it can really enhance your show.  But if done wrong it can drive people away.

This guy seems to have it for now.  There was one song that was in the red, but for the most part he's doing it up.

What is right and wrong?  Well, I'll keep this short since the coffee shop is closing soon, but here's the deal:

Right: short and sweet (like I said I was going to keep this post).

Wrong: long.

What do I mean by that?

Well basically people get bored quickly of hearing the same thing over and over without some kind of subtle change.  So it's tough to do live looping right.  You have to practice it a LOT.  In order to pull it off one should definitely build up the initial loops quickly and get into the song quickly.  It's best to have a "B" part of the song that breaks up the monotony.  If you technically can you should build up at least 3 different parts of the song in loop form and switch between those 3.  So loop "A" is the verse, loop "B" would be the chorus and "C" would be the bridge.

If an individual takes a long time building the loop and then lets the same loop run through the whole song it can sort of become annoying to a point where it's hard to appreciate the music.  The other part is if the looping technology is over powering.  If the artist makes a drum beat and it's excessively loud then it can be hard to focus on the lyrics.

 

So I'm going to leave with a video of a guy I think has the looping down.  His name is lucas carpenter check him out.  Notice how he starts with building the beat quick.  Then adding in layers of the beat instead of just letting the whole thing loop through out the whole song.  It makes it very dynamic and fun to listen to.

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