Sunday, November 12, 2006

Aviation - Licensed PPL !

August 28, 2000 I flew my first solo flight in a Cessna 172 as a holder of aPPL (private pilot license) !

I flew the "City Tour", flying from my home airport CNC3 (Brampton) to City Centre (CYTZ), then on to ButtonVille (CYKZ) before returning to home base.

I started my training Mar 22 the same year, so it took about 5 mths to get my license, flying 2 -3 times a week in the evenings and on weekends.

I've always had an interest in flying, but living in Toronto, you don't see many small planes, mainly because CYYZ's (Pearson International) airspace envelopes about a 35 mile radius of sky around the city. Small planes can and do fly in certain areas, but rarely directly over the city or surrounding suburbs.

So that is part of the reason why I didn't learn to fly until in my middle 40's. I wasn't really aware of small light planes, thinking that a pilot license was only for airline pilots !


Draw - Learning to Draw

After too many years, I finally decided to try to learn to draw, or probably more accurately to say is to release whatever drawing talent I may have.

After doing some research, and picking up some books and finding some tutorials on the net, I started at it, both on paper and digitially, using a few different 2d painting and animating programs.

As anyone who researches the subject will find out, the them repeated in most drawing books is that it is not the dextrous physical skills that most people lack, in fact it's the ability to see what you are looking at that makes the difference. (Though natural

After only a few days, I undertook the challenge of doing a self portrait and I amazed myself with how well (I thought anyway) it turned out.

I also have tip toed into the "waters" of 2d animation, while with 3d I like to think I'm at least "wading" in the shallow end. Though I might be decieving mysef with the 3d, as the computer can do some of the work for you, i.e. the 'inbetweens". But only to a limited extent can you rely on computer automation, otherwise your animation will get the dreaded "floaty" appearance.

(click to launch animations)

Music - Playing At Guitar

I've been playing "at" guitar for a "few" years now.

I say "at" rather than just "play" or even dare call myself a guitar "player", as that is the term that pros like Al Dimeola, Alex Lifeson, Jimmy Page, Jimmy Hendrix, Carolos Santana, Kim Mitchell, David Gilmore and Tony Iommi (to name a few of my favorites) use to refer what to what they do. What I do with a guitar is as far from what they do, as my golf game is as far from the PGA Tour pros' :) ... Well actually my golf game is a lot closer to a pro's game than my guitar playing is.

Ok, I'm hard on myself, and actually for some of the simple things I've done on guitar, I'm actually pretty proud of myself. They sound good ... to me anyway. I'm in tune (more or less) and on the beat ... I think my sense of rhythm and timing is pretty good ... not that it's something that I can take credit for developing. Must be part of my European ancestry :)

I started when I was about 10 years old with used electric gutar bought from my neighboour.

It took me seemingly "forever" to learn even the basic barre chords. The fingering was not all that difficult for the basic major and minor chords, but my left hand seemed to stubbornly want to exert tremendous tension and pressure while trying to hold the chord. Or maybe it was my brain thinking that all that tension was necessary. Or maybe just because it was a cheap guitar and the action on it wasn't very good :)

I have some of my "sound sketches" on SoundClick.

Not polished songs by any means, but they amuse me :)

Like many other endeavours, part of my frustration with learning guitar has been to try to do too much too soon, instead of learning and perfecting simpler "baby steps", but I'm slowly learning that lesson ... in a lot of areas in my life as I pass through middle age. (I hope it's the middle anway).


3d - Character Animation Chapter 1

3d animated movies are the hot new thing the past couple of years, starting with Pixar's Toy Story.

At about the time Toy Story, came out, I was just starting to play with 3d software. I think 3d Studio (the precursor to 3dsMax) was the first software I started with.

The first time I started up 3dStudio, I wasn't impresed at all, as all I saw was a "wireframe" grey display, nothing at all similar to the vibrant photorealistic scenery that was in Toy Story !

It was awhile before I found out what "rendering" meant :)