Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shooting clay

So I've been playing a lot of "Red Dead Redemption" lately. It's an open world western (video game), and instead of following the story line I find myself wandering the desert shooting hawks and rabbits. So I decided it'd be fun to shoot a real moving target... or at least a clay one.

Holly and I went down to take a lesson. We were both at a slight disadvantage from the start. For Holly, the stock of the shotgun was a bit too long for her. This caused her to have to push the rifle slightly off of her shoulder to reach the trigger. The next day she had a giant bruise on her right bicep. She thought it pretty cool going into work wearing a t-shirt, and telling people that asked that it was from a 12 gauge. Everyone seemed to agree with her in her meetings that day.

For me it turns out I'm left eye dominant, who knew? This means that when both eyes are open, what I see through my left eye takes precedence. This is a bad thing for a righty, since I hold the gun with my right arm, causing my right eye to line up with the sight. The instructor asked me if I wanted to learn with both or one eye open. I asked him what he thought, and he told me since I was starting I should learn correctly, using both eyes. So he put a piece of scotch tape on my sunglasses, covering the spot on my left eye where I'd see the target.

When I shot my first clay pigeon, I did it like I was used to in video games. I usually fire a rifle in video games, and as such pinpoint accuracy is needed. The clay moved a lot faster than I thought it would, so in no time it was off in the distance. I lined myself up for a shot. As it got further away it moved slower, relative to my sight. On it's way down I took a shot, and amazingly it exploded. I say amazingly not only because it was one of my fist shots, but because I didn't think a shotgun could shoot accurately that far off.

After that I was told that it was not a rifle, and that I should react faster and shoot sooner. So I did. I was amazed that I was able to hit it as often as I did. Holly guessed that I hit over 3/4 of the clays. I'm interested to go with some friends soon to see if I'm naturally good at this or if it's just easier than I thought. I really have no gauge. Of course the instructor was telling me how far to lead the clay from each position. Holly also hit three in a row on what I felt was one of the hardest positions (withe the clays moving perpendicular to you, which required the most lead). Lets hope she doesn't get mad at me, because I certainly can't run as fast as that clay was moving.

So as for the tape. This was interesting. At each position (you fire at the clays from different angles to get a variety of shots in) I always started by firing with my left eye closed, and did well with that. Then I'd give it a try with both eyes. It's hard to explain, but something about it just turned my brain sideways. I felt much less confident and very much like I was just guessing. But when I pulled the trigger the clay would often explode. Very strange. When the clay was coming in from my left side I understood why the instructor wanted me to use both eyes. If I'd had the left closed, I wouldn't have been able to pick up the clay till it entered my right eye, which would've put me at a distinct disadvantage.

A final note is that every now and then I would simply loose the clay. I'd be off, or flinch causing me to miss. One time that I did this, I simply moved my aim to where I projected the clay to be in a moment. I then waited till it came close and pulled the trigger. This wasn't the way we were being taught. We were supposed to swing the gun in front of the clay, following it with a slight lead. But when I shot the clay exploded. The instructor told me he was tired of telling me which way was the right way to do it when I was hitting them, so he gave up ;)

Below, some videos of my gun slingin wife. The instructor noted that she stopped complaining about her arm hurting when she started hitting the clay. The second video is of her hitting one, (though it's hard to see the clay with the compression, but you can hear it shatter). What bruise?!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tossed In Space

A friend and I pitched an animated short Idea the other day. It was a lot of hard work getting a pitch together in only three months. We had story sessions over and over again late after work. My partner in crime Chris did at least a thousand different storyboard drawings. Editing together a story reel and adding sound had us pulling several all nighters. Holly did some incredible character design for us (pictured left), as well as putting together a beautiful presentation. It was like being in college again, crunching for a final project. But in the end we had a little premiere party for our friends to show it off and it was a lot of fun. We had about a week off (where I asked holly to marry me) and then we got a call that it was time to pitch to the execs. The room was tough, and afterwards I felt that maybe they didn't like it. A few minutes later we ran into another group that pitched, and it seemed that they had an even tougher time than we did, which made us feel much better and even got our hopes up. A few days later I heard a rumor that another group had been contacted and that they were going to get green lit. So that night Holly and I went out for a failure dinner (I told her a while back that I was trying for three things that the odds were heavily against me: publish a short story, pitch a feature idea, and pitch a short animation. Since each were likely to fail, I thought that just like how you go out to celebrate when you get something, we'd go out to celebrate my failures to make three in a row easier to take). She told me that I was jumping the gun, and that I owed her dinner later if I ended up being wrong. Then next day I got a call saying that they loved the concept, but wanted to give us notes on what they felt could use improving. We'd then address the issues and re-pitch. Sure doesn't mean we got it, but it's a start! I mean fuck, any news in this industry is good news. And I get to have dinner with a hot chick again. Note to self: listen to Holly more, she's much smarter than you.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Gettin Hitched

Yep, I dun asked Holly to marry me. Had an incredible trip for a week throughout California. Finally making up for some of the rediculous rent that we pay to live in this state. Holly put up a much more detailed account of things at

...she's gonna marry a slacker.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

San Diego Cruzin

Lemme tell ya. Life dont get much better than cruising along the southern California coast on a Harley with your gal on the back and the sun in your face. I looked down at the back of the chrome headlight and saw my smiling face surrounded by bending palm tree's reaching up into a beautiful blue sky. The way the curved headlight bent everything gave this surreal feeling of cramming the entire surrounding into one image. The sight accurately depicted the feeling itself. I'd highly recommend it. Sucks that my girl probably wont get on the back of your bike, but I'm sure you'll find some way of compensating.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Pixar : Dreamworks :: Nintendo : Sega

I've decided that there aren't enough obscure SAT references for you analogy fans out there, so I cleverly incorporated one into my title. That's right, not only am I going to oversimplify the movies made by the two major animation houses of the minute, but I'm going to do it using an obscure analogy to the video game systems of my youth. I'm seriously considering high-fiving myself right now.

So when I was a kid I had a Nintendo, and my friend had a Sega (genesis). We would constantly argue over the merits of each system, positive that our own was the far superior system, and ignoring the merits of the other. Unbelievably I think that some insight can be gleaned from these arguments, which probably gives you a hint as to my current mental faculties.

The arguments go like this. Nintendo released far fewer games but for the most part, their games were always up to a certain standard. It was a relatively safe bet to buy a Nintendo game, because even if you didn't love it, you'd most likely like it. However, their color pallet was very similar from game to game, and the games rarely ventured too far away from the center line.

Sega, on the other hand released more games, and a greater variety of games. This made their games more interesting, but also very hit or miss. Sometimes they had break thru games like madden football, but the risk of innovation gave them their fare share of duds as well. Their games also had a greater variety of look and feel.

So what I'm saying here is that Pixar is like the Nintendo of old. If you go see a Pixar movie, it's a safe bet, because they know the recipe for a great animated movie. It will, however, most likely look and feel similar to their others. Dreamworks Animation is like the Sega of old. If you go see a Dreamworks Animation movie it's riskier. You may like it, you may not, but it will definitely be different from the norm.

So which is better? Personally I think the world needs both, unless either of them is willing to give me cash to say otherwise. And we're not talking about a lot of cash here. Really. Call me.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Your first time is always rough

Well, the first post on a blog is always lame, so I'll save you the horror.