Dec 1, 2007

Traumador: The Pack

Over at the Tyrannosaur Chronicles (which I'm sure you're all reading ;p ) Traumador's life has been recently severly disrupted by the Pack of the Primordial Feather. Their official symbol is being unveiled in the next day or two... Just one problem

I'm not sure which to use?

You're thoughts on which looks better/would represent an evil group of meat eating dinosaurs.

The Beginning of the End of the End

Well it's over officially. Yesterday was quite possibly the last university lecture I'll ever have.

I do still have one more posting next year, but as for classes I'm done. Not sure how it feels yet. It still hasn't sunk in.

Of course real life being the ubber and ultimate TV show couldn't see our last day being boring, right in the middle of our getting up and getting ready for class the fire alarm went off. Thing is there are only 7 of us still left living in the hall. Meaning this was no drill...

Lots of firetrucks and firemen showed up. Turns out it was a false alarm, but was entertaining non the less. Somehow we were only 2 minutes late for class too!

There actually was a lot more that happened on the last day, but probably won't be that interesting to someone not in the class.

The next big event which will truly mark the End of the END TM is my parents arrival in 3 days.

I also need to get my butt in gear and get my Dinosaur Provincial Park application put together.

Oh and clean my room, and pack my stuff.

Okay so who ever said life would be slack and fancy free after classes didn't quite get it right. BOO!

Nov 27, 2007

Production Website

Due to a hopeful increase in my creative output the next couple months due to classes ending, and the rather encouraging increase in Traumador's blog traffic I've finally hit a point where it makes sense to open a formal blog for Prehistoric Insanity.

Now it won't just be me blogging on this. Peter Bond is already aboard, and will have a bunch of news and posts about his new movie projects in particular the Bluebell Woods. There is also likely to be some Traumador preview stuff coming soon. Most important of all hopefully I get some time in on the year long abandoned delta patrol.

Point is I'll post little notices here when I post something project related, but in future any post substantially about my movies or creative stuff will be on the Prehistoric Insanity Blog.

Nov 19, 2007

Cartoon RAGE!

So having a bit of free time this weekend to just let my brain re materialize I poked around on youtube.

Here I made a awful discovery.
As many probably know I'm a HUGE fan of Bruce Timm's animated DC comics cartoons. My movie folder is half full of the complete series of Batman, Superman, Batman Beyond, and Justice League. They are the best depictions of superheroes in any medium in my opinion.
It was a great loss 2 years ago when they cancelled Justice League after 4 amazing seasons (the 3rd be a particular highlight). Leading up to that cancellation a new breed of DC cartoon had been creeping in, and contaminating my beloved Timm series.

In particular "The Batman". Done in blatant anime rip-off style with inferior writing, voice castings, and concepts. Timm's series had something for both kids and adults (I still remember watching his Batman in elementary and loving it). This new breed of DC cartoon is watered down into the kid only zone, and frankly this is a poor move. Kids today recognize this difference and aren't likely to stick with the franchise long term like I and others have with the Timm stuff.

This pains me as instead of giving priority to the long running and still very successful Timm line of cartoons, slowly but steadily these new anime knock offs eroded the Timm series to the point that the network cancelled the Timm line.
Now with the Justice League and Superman off the air for a couple years, this is what we get!!! "The" Batman struggling for ideas (curiously very similarly to Smallville) has had to resort to making their Batman's show into a blatant rip off of Timm's Justice League. With unoriginal watchtower design and everything!

As if that weren't enough this upcoming season their introducing "The" Superman on "The Batman". Due to the inabilities of the writers' of "The" they're trying a new desperation tactic. Rather than mess it up on their own they'd rather leech off Timm's stuff and cast the exact same voice actors for Superman and Lois Lane that Timm had!?!?!

I sit here and wonder in my head why did we have to lose the Timm shows if "The" was just going to rehash them? Rehash them badly!

Now of course I know why my thoughts are silly and invein, in show biz new and shiny is always better than tried tested and true (though new and shiny tends to be exactly the same anyway). It cheeses me off is all!

What next "The Firefly" or "The Star Trek"... oh wait. "The Star Trek" comes out a year from now.

I think I'll just go cry myself to sleep with a Justice League episode playing in the background.

Nov 13, 2007

Lemming Ducks

Well finally there is some good news in life. I have one last day left in posting. More importantly, though I apparently did so by the skin of my teeth, I've pasted this posting!

Now it's come at a cost. I'm starting to develop a nasty head cold, and been stressed to the point of less than 5 hours sleep a few times. If not for the turning point of that good news today I'd probably give up on life. To illustrate how I live in Murphyzarro (that's my new term for Murphy's law mixed with Bizarro world) let's look at my walk home from school today (after recieving this good news... the universe needs to remind me whose in charge).

As I approach the Leith (aka aqueduct enclosed stream) bridge I have to cross to get home I see on the other side a elderly woman trying to herd a group of lost Ducklings. As it's spring here in New Zealand we have a lot of cute little Mallard chicks running after their mothers. Well this group has clearly lost their mommy and is desperate to find her...

Seeing how this good willed woman is having trouble with them, and as of such just stressing and freaking them out I step in to help her out. I hope Shannon Helm is reading this little story as it is proof of one of my major beliefs in life.

"No good deed goes unpunished!"

So stepping in with I take charge of the flock of cute little down balls. Armed with the ideal duck herding tool my umbrella I set about my task of trying to get them out of at least harms way, and maybe find mommy.

The problem their up on street level of a major road with no where immediately to go but the sidewalk or the road (to get promptly run over). I opt to herd them back across the bridge's sidewalk and onto a side street running parallel to the Leith. After a few close calls of a duckling or two running away from me sideways into the road I get them on the side street. PHEW! I think...

Here it at first just seems to be a big, but not life threatening problem. We're still 3 metres above the Leith, and the artificial banks here are initially straight up and down walls. I aim to get my little flock down further to where are least the walls slope at a 45 degree angle down to the stream.

About 2 metres down the side street some of my flock suddenly duck (get it) under the fence onto the precipice of the sheer 3 metre wall. They fortunately stop seeing what is for them a 3-4 storey fall straight down. I try to reach my umbrella in front of them, but yet keep my body back so they'll run back under the fence and back onto the sidewalk.

That's when disaster strikes! Mother shows up down below in the river under the bridge (the opposite direction from safe slanted wall section) calling her babies who she realized has a big scary human looming over them...

For a moment I think it's okay my 3 stray wall sitters double take the fall, and hesitate. Just as I'm about to let out the sigh of relief one of them jumps. The other two follow nearly immediately. My heart literally stops.

From behind me the nice lady who got my attention earlier says "oh good their flying down to the river." Just as number 4 leaps off the top to plummet the 10 feet to the ground. I can assure you seeing its fall well from this vantage they didn't fly...

Dashing to my last three who are on the other side of a big flax plant I swore to arrive to watch them all throw themselves over the edge.

Now the tale doesn't have the worst ending it could. Apart from number 4 (who took a running start, and thus fell further out from the wall) I couldn't see their landings making me think I'd just killed a whole family of ducks (not outright dead mind you, but mortally wounded). Thankfully they slowly started walking back into view from the bottom of the wall (which I can't quite see the bottom of due to the fence).

However there was some damage. At least two of them had bad limps, and one of these I'm certain broke its leg based on its stopped every few step to sit down. Most however seemed okay.

There was nothing I could do about it. I still feel terrible. Clare and Rhonwyn on hearing the tale have tried to assure me that I probably saved some of them from being run over. Still my good intentions like a lot lately have become a lot more stressful and intense than it should have.

I just stand by my belief that no good deed goes unpunished. So the question why do I keep doing them?

Nov 8, 2007

The Middle of the End...

Well it had to happen sooner or later... the good times had to come to an end.

As was foreshadowed in the beginning of the End TM things here in New Zealand were going to deconstruct, and done so they have.

It all ended in the midst of explosions, and this time I'm not hyperbolizing or being dramatic. There were actual explosions all around Dunedin... due to

Guy Fawkes Day

Showing just how "British" NZ still is there were full on celebrations of the guy who tried to blow up the British Parliament several hundred years ago. What this entails around Dunedin anyway is every university flat (apartment) that still has residents to go and buy tons of fireworks and setting them off throughout the night.

We by chance accident were out hunting vampires that same night (hence Clare with stake er uh cricket wicket), and saw much of the festivities.

Despite the pretty lights and loud noises not all was joyful in the world of Dunedin. For you see all of us had various woes, but I get ahead of myself... this was the end of the story. First the leadin

The Middle's Beginning

I'd spent the weeks lead up to the middle of the end planning like a madman for my 10 day posting (this means I needed a lesson plan for EVERYTHING I'd do in the classroom for 10day. In the end this amassed a collection of some 146 plans). Now as we all know paperwork and organization is NOT my strong point...

However I needed a most organized binder for my posting. I had to drain all my surrounding organization energy to pump into the binder. As a result the rest of my room was well this. A record unclean for even me. My floor was (okay nearly still is) pure paper. Not a bare patch of carpet to be seen.

It was worth it though. The head of the program on the final check and inspection of the binder "jokingly" asked who I stole the binder off due to its pristine nature. I'll get a pic of it up soon. It truly is amazing I of all people put it together... but at a cost LOL

Now as I'm sure many of you know I've had something border lining a chronic addiction to Vanilla Coke since its introduction in 2002. It had stopped being made in Canada for the last few years for some reason, but arriving in NZ I was delighted to discover it was being made in 600ml bottles! The catch only this size which is proportionally the most expensive (my theory on how they can make a profit off the flavour). I've been trying to resist, and apart from vacations I'd been doing good until this planning crunch.

I'm back on a bottle a day. Which though a tiny fraction of what I used to drink in the great white north when it was on tap at 7/11, but it is still an addiction.

So I'm going to up my efforts to end the Jonsing...

An unexpected treat was meeting with my recruiter (who set off this whole adventure a year and a half ago... man that seems like a lifetime ago!) was receiving a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup! I haven't had one since Canada cause they don't do peanut butter things here (their actual peanut butter is different and gross!).

Back to the Story

So the big event that marks the middle of the End TM is the departure of all the normal uni people around the hall. We Ed graduate people are an odd bunch we started a month before everyone, and end a month after everyone. Meaning the hall was empty when we moved in, and is now close to empty again for the End TM of our courses.

Most notable departure was of course Rhonwyn. She left exactly 2 days (she claims 1) after our 6 month anniversary. I can't claim any romantic awards for this event. I was up to my eyeballs with teaching so nothing particularly special happened. In my defense I did manage to take her to dinner a few days before on the weekend.

Another notable disappearance was the German (this photo being taken about 3 minutes before I saw him for the last time till next year).

Andy flew out on the same plane as Rhonwyn so that day was a big hit to our social group. In fact to be precious it was the near extinction of it. All that remains is me and Clare (who is sticking around to work... she like me has had an insane week. Her finals have all been this week so I've had company in my misery at least)

Needless to say emotions were high surrounding these events... and you're all probably thinking what an ass I am for taking a picture of Rhonwyn crying. Well jokes on her, and well you. This is her actually laughing at a really bad joke I told about the German the night before they left. I just posted it as a proxy of the sadness...

Well okay I'm a little bit of a dick. I also faked a crying picture just so that I can claim to be a new age sensitive guy... oh yeah probably shouldn't have said that part than...

The End of the Middle of the End TM

So now I'm mostly on my own dealing with the drain, strain, and uh brain of the End TM. Clare has kindly been letting me watch some Farscape when we both have spare moments in the busy schedule (last night being the first time multiple eps were watched).

Otherwise I must devise solutions to this problem on my own. Which can be well kinda bizarre to the average civilian...

Captain Windo the wind up Tyrannosaur Skeleton thinks I should stop wasting time blogging, and do some marking. Frankly I can't argue with his insistent mechanical logic (even if it stops after 30 seconds until he's wound again).

The End TM marches on.

I'm safely over the halfway on my posting. When that is over 2 last homework assignments. Than my parents arrive for the End of the End TM.

So till than I'm ending the Middle of the End TM...

Oct 31, 2007

Dromaeosaur Footprints!

Hot off the press from Laelaps (for whole scoop check out his far superior blog) the first ever confirmed footprints of a Dromaeosaurid (aka raptor dinosaur) have been discovered!

There are multiple sets from the same geologic formation. One of which is very interesting as it shows multiple individuals possibly walking together and in unison... in other words possible pack behaviour.

Interesting to see that their walking as opposed to hopping. Only a bit over a year ago I had a number of Tyrrell Science people flip my world upside down by saying due to an inward angle of the hips that Dromie legs came together at the feet, and thus made them more likely for a Kangaroo type hop.

I guess the paradigm isn't as flipped as I thought. Which is equally flipping as I'd just started to accept bounding raptors... Got to love science!

Oct 20, 2007

Mosasaur Rising...

Well it's that time of year again! Crunch time!

Granted I've never had a blog during a proper crunch (apart from previous crunches in this program which just don't compare to this one!). I have so much to do that I have felt like I'm bleeding from my eyeballs. No they aren't tears, but my eyes have swollen twice. Rhonwyn thought I'd been in a fight. That is till the swelling swapped eyes!

What this means is that I've spent roughly 10 hours at my puter today. That is pretty much the whole waking day thus far, except for the 45min X 2 for meals and 30 min for a walk to the grocery store for study food.

Now a tradition of my for such crunches is of course to procrastinate. Before you freak out on me I got that out of my system last week... Meaning I have to pick up for my moderate slacking off now (to be fair I DID get 5 assignments done, and this stuff I'm previewing for you).

On to the slight bit of sunshine in my otherwise depressing modern life, the traffic on Traumador's blog has nearly gone up 150% in the last month. I attribute this to a combination of the current fun and Dinosaur intensive Cousin Larry Visit storyline , and my current targeted advertising.

My system for advertising has been quite ingenious, but sadly I can't boast about it on the open web as I don't want everyone to scam my system (but if you email me I'll let you know if you ask nice).

Keeping up on these two tactics I'm hoping to keep up the increase in Traum's readership. So the foremost is how to keep the palaeo content of his page up? Well you've already seen the Sauropod for the upcoming "the other" storyline. As a palaeo finale to his tenure here in New Zealand I have conceived this...

This was the prototype ad for Traumador's "Taniwha" storyline. Taniwha are sea monsters of Maori myth and often are reptilian in form (other times a BIG shark or whale). They often in the stories sound like they could be marine reptiles from the Mesozoic, and as of such a species of Tylosaur has been justly named Taniwhasaurus.

I figured why not have one come back and pay Traumador and company a visit in Dunedin...

So for a few hours (I'm at the point where modelling something only takes me a couple hours... meaning I waste little homework time on it... just enough to unwind after skool or classes) I tried to model something like this. I love this rendition of a mosasaur minus the tail. I went with the more paddle like tail restoration from Chased by Dinosaurs.

I also tried to base my model as much on skeletons as I could. I'm not sure what clad of mosasaur we have in Alberta such as this one from the Tyrrell, but Mosasaurs for the most part are all roughly the same.

The first rendition of the model. None textured, and frankly a mix between a Pliosaur and a Mosasaur. The one problem is that I have a tendency to slim things down (Peter always critiques me justly on this habit), but with Marine reptiles this means a Mosasaur turns into a Mosasaur.

So I had to come back to the model table and try fattening him up.

I was much more pleased with this overall body. As of such I played around with textures for only 20 min before I produced the final draft. I went with a blue version of a great white shark. Dark on top light on the bottom. Though my light on the bottom doesn't really show in this darker water lighting, but it's there in lighter water lighting I assure you.

The final problem was the head. It was too crocidilian/Icthyosaur (partially due to my not paying attention to tooth placement initially). I had to readjust mostly the top jaw to be more triangular with less angles and curves (though the Chased by Dinosaurs curve into a rather slender snout... I opted for a more robust snout).

This is my favourite render of the Mosasaur so far, and ironically it's from the old model. You'll note how the body is only 1/3 the length of the animal, and it still has the sloping snout. However I'm in love with this lighting (which I can reproduce in other angles... sort of... this effect is caused by the angle of the light shafts) and the sea floor (which is not reproducible... it's actually a flat surface that this exact camera angle has made look like a gently sloped underwater mound).

The Final Model

After my retweaking these are the near final version. Let me know what you think! PLEASE!!!

As Traumador won't be heading in the water (right away ;p ) the Taniwha needs to be seen at the surface a bit.

You'll note the new head design. In particular give me feedback on this...

Back view
More of that head. Again comment the heck out of it!

Open mouth. The improvements here are teeth in proper skeletal placement, and skin flaps towards the throat. Feedback important here too!

This and the next shot are finals for the story. The Taniwha comes to everyones notice due to its food source in the present (his typical prey of course going extinct only to be replaced with mammals...)

My favourite of the new models clips

So yeah keep your eyes peeled for "Taniwha" coming hopefully sometime just into the new year. Of course probably later than that. So much of my Traumador ideas have been pushed back. I'd intended to get to Larry in May!!!

Back to the homework for me. I've got 15/70 lesson plans done today... I've only got another 4 days... but these were the harder ones... So hopefully I'll be okay... If not no more blogging for me.

On that not I do owe you a post on my life including such things as my new inhaler and Captain Windo! Only if I get my ass in gear and get crackalacking though!

Oct 18, 2007


A trailer for a new direct to DVD movie has just come to my attention for Turok. Many know him from the video games, but in those the Dinosaurs he fights are either cyborgs or aliens.

This is based on his original comic book which is more like Last of the Mohicans meets The Lost World.

Looks like it'll be as good as the Hellboy animated movies.

Oct 9, 2007

I'm finally in a museum advertisement!

While doing a side none homework web search (helped by the fact New Zealand's Internet is insanely slow! I can get a good 4 minutes of work in while a new page loads...) I discovered the most remarkable thing.

On the official travel Alberta website there is a picture of me delivering Badland's Science Camp infamous Corythosaur skeleton program... Infamous not for it's awesomeness or funness factor. Rather for the frustration felt by kids, and more the point the staff!

Though I love my Corythosaur like my child as I rebuilt it (with help from the guru Marilyn) it was an evil offspring, and never worked properly! Putting it together with the kids was an ordeal as you needed 2 people just to attach a bone, and it could take several minutes to do it right...

Fun factiod the skull and arm bone you see being discovered at the top of the page is actually the skull and arm of my corythosaur! That is Phil Currie "finding" it, and was taken mere days before I arrived at the lab to claim the Corythosaur for Camp...

Oct 7, 2007

The Beginning of the End...

The Deal
So here we are 9 months after my arrival in New Zealand. Though I'm still in the country for another 3 months (I arrive back in Canada December 29th for anyone wanting to plan the parade) things are in motion that will result in the time flying by at warp 9.9.
The breakdown is something like this:
  • The next 3 weeks are gearing up for my last posting of this year
  • 1 week of posting goes by with things here being "normal"
  • The majority of everyone not in teachers college (with the exception of Clare) all leave for their homes. I shed many tears, and am lonely... if not for...
  • 3 more weeks of posting that will keep me busy enough
  • 2 weeks of wrap up lectures
  • 3 weeks wandering New Zealand with my parents

So getting back to that first bullet my major effort to start posting began yesterday with serious intent.

Resulting in me getting my homework game face on. I "love" homework!
Providing an entertaining yet sobering interruption was the final formal dinner of the year. As you'll see it was a fun event, but it caused us all to realize that the finale clock is ticking away unrelentlessly in the background of the next 2 months (for us teacher wannabes... 1 month for everyone else).
So the lovely lady in my life showed up at my place an hour before dinner to assist me take off my game face. More to the point she came to assist me remove the large amount of excess hair from my removed game face.
Resulting in my new back to skool look (all of my kids today got in a "nice haircut Mr. D... though often followed up by "you look bald"). The beauty is the cut, apart from hair all over my bathroom, was free. The clippers I bought for $20 have more than paid for themselves.

Of course all were looking sharp and spiffy for the evening. Owain taking over Peter's former role as most savy of the lot.

The German also looked pretty slick. You'll note the tie. An ongoing bit of humour all year has been both his and mine own inability to tie them right. Even after Owain demoed it for us, Peter got a real pro diagram guide from a magazine, and Rhonwyn and Clare taunted us till we cried still no go. Our brilliant solution: have someone else tie it for us, and we keep them tied up afterwards no matter the cost!

Jack Attack! TM was the centre of gusto and enthusiasm for our group. If the weight and implications of "THE END" were getting you down a simple glance at Jack would snap you back into happy country.

The rest of the Canadian contingent were no less dressed up. The Twitch aka Rebbecca had quite an interesting evening that went well beyond the ball, but I'm not allowed to tell that story...

After a year of doing everything to just fall short of being an actual resident of the hall (which meant just not eating or sleeping here) Andrew was invited to this dinner as a virtual salmonder. His ever presence in the hall did not go unnoticed as you will see.

The other notable presence of the staging up to dinner was the hallwide debut of the late forming "most unexpected couple of the year" of Andy and Qui. Their so cute ahhhhhh.

Formal Dinner

All too sooner due to the inevitable march of time dinner was served.

Some lovely appeys were to be had. This pic was snapped a mere 5 minutes into being seated as me and Rhonwyn demolished the plate to this point.

Rhonwyn thought I was weird for taking such a pic as you can see. Me weird? Absurd!
Owain performs a magic trick with his wine (which as you can see he turned into magic energy lighting!). Also as you can see as of this photo he has perfected his replacement of Peter as most dashing. He should totally use this as his facebook profile pic (might have to start a group LOL).

If only dinner was as tasty as the appeys. These lamb ribs though nice were neither amazing nor most importantly filling. Thankfully due to my previous game face I'd been ravenous and eaten 5 buns and half the Sushi.

Granted I stopped complaining looking over at Jack Attack! TM who gave the meal his glorious approval.

The Master

I had planned to do this post with funny little speech and thought balloon captions of the photos (but due to time constraints had to abandon this ambition). If I had than Bruce head master of Salmond was going to become the arch nemesis of post. Especially since every photo I tried last night turned out blurry. This was the best I managed to snap until...

The coolest photo of the night, and definitely sums up Bruce's powers of non photo takingness. He apparently lives in a world of perpetual blurness.

The "Entertainment"

Though things were much better this time around than last formal dinner it still had to have one downer. That was the musical performance by Salmond residences. Now don't get me wrong. Well okay get me wrong. I don't care if people in the hall can play music or not. Especially free style rap!!!

Most notable rap by none other than blue berry here. I won't state his real name because I never refer to him by it (due to this ridiculous track suit he wears all the time... even to the FORMAL dinner!), and more to he point I don't know how to spell it.

He preformed not only rap lyrics, but "better" than that the music too. Yes that's right we have a musical piece of fruit at the hall, and you can sub him for a early 80's synthesizer (if playing a concert for deaf people anyways)...

Though some tried to put up a brave face I could not...

This was taken a minute into the rap performance. Though not a berry I felt I had at least exacted revenge on a distant relative.

The End of Year Awards

the final event of the evening was the award ceremony.

The big "shocker" was Ben the Gardener winning the Salmond best citizen award. Ben was the face of Salmond social events. If there was an event Ben was going, and more to the point insisting you go too.

Another big "surprise" was Andrew getting an official award for being a virtual Salmonder. Told you it would come up again (if I'd pulled off the comic version of this post this would have been a plot point LOL)

Now we reach the actual surprise component of the ceremony. The first one wasn't a surprise for me, but rather one I beset on Andy. Just as a finishing touch to the Demon Clock caper I nominated Andy for a slightly competed for category. Fortunately my prank won out.

Them German's will believe almost anything. (but I still love you Andy ;p )

The surprise was two fold. Andy was a little unhappy naturally. Qui who you see in photo moments after Andy's return from getting the award thought it was quite funny.

The big surprise (well sort of) was me and Rhonwyn winning an award. Sadly it's not one I can advertise or boast about that alone type the proper name for here. Too bad as they made a hilarious typo on it that removed much of the embrassment from recieving it, but I still can't state this incorrect version...

So from here on we leave the fun part of The End as

The Clock Still Ticks To Year's Conclusion...

Stay tuned for the Middle of the End