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

Oct 2, 2007

Dropping the 4th Wall

One of the key functions I'd planned for on this blog was a means of previewing and updating people on my various movie projects. As I haven't really gotten any movie things specifically on the go (though Delta Patrol will resume production once I get back home... and me and Bond do have another project in the planning stages) there hasn't been much of this to do.

I do have an ongoing creative venture in the form of Traumador's blog (now known as the Tyrannosaur Chronicles). I've just decided to drop the 4th wall on my end, and give people the behind the scenes scoop here.

Lately I've been trying to up the quality and wacky quota of his page. In particular, the recent "visit" by Traum's cousin Larry has been accomplished through my 3D program comboed with Photoshop (which I've effectively taught myself this year while in New Zealand) which have produced some awesome and fun effects.

Due to the moderate success this has caused (an increase of 3 people averagely visting per day) I intend on more CG dinos. Fortunently Dunedin has a famous playground known as "Dinosaur Park" which I've been planning for a while to bring into the Traum mythos. I won't give it all away now.

Hopefully these images will wet your appetite though. Any of you palaeo type people out there can let me know what you think (keeping in mind I've only just started on this model... this is a grand total of 2 hours work... I'm getting much quicker and better with this program)