Gingerbread Parisian Cafe

Gingerbread Parisian Cafe

Make up some royal icing. Split it up; dye one batch red, another green. (Keep a bunch white.)

Cut your graham crackers to size per the pattern above. I found that using a sharp paring knife that I kept wetting (since graham crackers turn to mush when damp) and a lot of patient, repeated cuts over the same line worked well.

Royal icing turns to goo with a very small amount of water added. Take some of your red and some of your white; add a little bit of water to each. (Not too much, or you’ll soak the graham crackers, and, well, mush.) Spread the color on the cut pieces as above. Leave them to dry a couple hours.

Cut a milk chocolate and a dark chocolate Hershey bar into bricks (4 per rectangle). Glue down the 3 floor graham crackers to the work surface with royal icing. Wet down some more royal icing, adding black food coloring if desired, and spread it out for mortar. Lay down the chocolate bricks, leaving room for the cafe walls to go in.

Once the walls are dry, start gluing the pieces together, as shown above. Use an extra piece of graham cracker propped up with leftover bricks for the bar. Soak some Mike & Ikes in warm water to remove the outer coating. Mix & match to fill the bar with bottles. Wrap the mini LED lights a few times around the ceiling of the first floor to light the interior. Leave some extra light wire trailing off to string up as hanging lights.

Add details: Mint chocolates on leftover bricks for tables. Green tip-frosted plants. Mint planters with green tip-frosting plants on top. More Mike & Ike bottles. Candy cane light posts.

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IMDB Trivia for “Hoof-Town” (2002)

One of Disney’s last traditionally animated (2-D) films, with the exception of all characters’ photorealistic CGI hands.

Ranked #5 on AFI’s 50 Most Based Movies.

A third act was completed, but cut from the final film.

Besides the nine credited screenwriters, several Disney senior managers were personally involved in rewrites well into the final week of production. This allegedly explains the otherwise incongruous exchange during the Blowhole Beach chase where Lilly and Mulligan say: “Fuck you, Brent.” “Fuck you, Christine.”

Nominated for the 2003 Best Animation or Musical Oscar, but lost to Dreamworks SKG’s “Captain Hookworm” (2002).

The first and, to date, only film produced in Disney’s proprietary 17:1 “Hyper Widescope” format. Following negative reaction in theaters, the film was heavily cropped for home video release, explaining why most action and dialogue take place offscreen.

Work on the film was fully rebooted and all prior work scrapped after one of the original directors failed to properly kowtow to chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Princess Boneable was created specifically to add a new Disney Princess to the roster. She has no lines, but to date is the only Disney Princess to kick another character in the face without apparent provocation.

The running joke about Dr. Grooventein being back to “Teabag Iz’ey’s balls” was not scripted, but the result of clever audio editing around David Ogden Stiers’ constant improvisational muttering in the recording booth, often over other actors’ lines. No one named “Iz’ey” appears in the script, nor is Ogden Steirs known to have been officially hired for the film.

Body count: 56, and one undead boat.

According to co-co-Director Sam Marshall, Lilly Pikachu is not a fox but an Antarctic explorer from the human world in an elaborate, anatomically-correct costume.

Held the record for most co-directors on any Disney film at 18. (Soon bested by “Salmon” (2004) with 93.)

Most of the artists with traditional hand drawing skills were fired as production neared completion, often forcefully while still at work. See Goofs: Sudden vertical lines/characters disappearing.

The song “Suck My Kiss” was later recorded by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Produced under the title “Tuesday I’m Eating” as a lower cost “B” project alongside the  expected box office smash then titled “Hoof Town.” When the original “Hoof Town” performed poorly, the titles were switched to the confusion of most moviegoers, in order to chalk it up as a win on quarterly financial statements. (The original “Hoof Town” was later released on home video as “Monkey Spanks: Private Eye”.) This explains why neither a single hoofed animal nor a town appear in the film.

Drew the ire of many Conservative Christian parents’ groups for being a movie.

Feature film debut of singer Sasha Turpworth. Turpworth was discovered at a dick sucking contest in Miami Beach, FL.

As a result of contractual obligations and poor timing, the requisite Broadway adaptation opened the same day as the theatrical release, resulting in an infinite recursion of royalty payments between the two Disney divisions. Still ongoing to this day, these payments make it both the highest grossing and greatest financial loss of any Disney film.

First bulimic character in a Disney animated movie. (“Herbie: Fully Loaded” was a live-action film.)

Foreign titles: “Animal Feet Amok” (France), “The Wacky Animal Village” (Germany), “Hoofs: Being an Exploration of Numerous Amusing Things That Happen to Several Anthropomorphized Animals Near a Somewhat Tasteful Bus Depot” (Brazil), “Tits” (Finland).

Howard Pauls, key animator on Spunky Sally, has not been seen by any current member of the Walt Disney animation staff. The last of Walt’s famed Nine Old Men, Pauls exchanges work through a gap under his locked office door. Some suspect he is long dead and it is the room itself producing the drawings.

“Truundelhorn” is a real brand of Hungarian truck, although they have not been sold with anti-Semitic slogans on the hood since 1993.

Similarities have been noted between the plot and that of Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse,” in that neither has one.

Roger Ebert admitted that he was high on mushrooms while reviewing the film, but did not feel it altered his opinion meaningfully.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus delivers the second-longest racist tirade by a former “Seinfeld” cast member in a Disney movie, and the third longest in any animated movie. (See Trivia for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996) and “Bee Movie” (2007).)

Musician Morrissey was brought in to give the film “some indy cred,” but was replaced by Alan Menkin when it was realized Morrissey had died in Paris in 1998. He was not rehired when it was discovered that he had not died in Paris in 1998.

Reunites actresses Annie Potts and Elizabeth Perkins for the first time since “Lesbian Sorority Blood Inferno Part 5” (1982).

Hidden Mickey: Beneath the word “SEX” in the underwater rave scene.

David Schramm recorded all of the lines for Based Barry in March of 2001, before being ordered whacked by Disney management in November of that year. Reginald VelJohnson was brought in as a last-minute replacement.

George Clooney, David Thewlis, George C. Scott, William H. Macy and Linda Carter were all considered for the role of the ottoman.

Daveigh Chase, Colm Meaney, Nicolas Refn and Jaden Smith were all considered for the role of Peter Pubgoer, which eventually went to all of them.


Panorama: The Frog Pond, Boston Common

Boston, MA.

Stitched together in Hugin 0.7.0 from 15 iPhone4 pictures. Mercator projection.

(Please forgive the delay since last posting a panorama. I’ve shot several, but been unable to produce any usable output with Hugin 2010.4.0 or Hugin 2011.0.1-Beta 2. It may simply be a question of Hugin growing more particular about its input, while my fascination remains the unpredictability inherent in building a panorama up from numerous low-quality images. I’ve admitted defeat and fallen back to version 0.7.0.)

11 Great Children’s Book Titles or Terrible Band Names

If there actually is a child chapter book or band named after any of the following, I stand behind my opinions.

Jason and the Astronauts
Jason and the Astronauts
The Musical Mystery Tour
The Musical Mystery Tour
Carpet Whale
Carpet Whale
Mutually Assured Distraction
Mutually Assured Distraction
Trust This Penguin
Trust This Penguin
Fun Will Be Had!
Fun Will Be Had!
Sister Spat
Sister Spat
Turtle Beach Party
Turtle Beach Party
Shirley Icanne
Shirley Icanne
The Wild Flutes
The Wild Flutes
Watch the Pegasus Poop
Watch the Pegasus Poop

111 Minute Book Covers: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

Speed composition of a book cover for C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book of the Chronicles of Narnia (if numbered correctly).

Assets are “Tambako the Jaguar’s” CC licensed photograph of a lion from Flickr, and Henningklevjer’s CC licensed cloth weave texture from the Wikimedia Commons. Fonts are Charlemagne and Mona Lisa Solid.

Under 111 minutes? No, but with the template established, the rest of the series should go faster.

Click image for 300dpi.


From a picture of my friend Michelle…


Still not as awesome as this image, or this image, but fun.

Lessons learned:

  • I’m trying to teach myself not to just go in and make a mess in Photoshop. You can always get an image done faster by painting and filtering the assets directly, but adjustment layers and smart objects REALLY save grief when you need to go back in and fix things. This composite is almost completely nondestructive.
  • Applying a filter to a smart object creates an editable “smart filter.” I don’t know how I missed this feature. I wish to god I’d noticed it when I did the Ego Likeness flyer for Plague.
  • Also useful in a project currently underway, simulating the look of still film has two parts to it: grain and schmutz.
    • Grain can be created by adding a 50% gray layer, setting its composite mode to Overlay, applying a small amount of noise, and scaling the layer up as desired.
    • Schmutz is small fibres, hair and dust on the negative. This is a little harder. Opaque bits on a clear negative, they appear white when printed. I’d love to find a high-res print of an unexposed frame of film. Then you could just apply it as a layer in Screen mode. I wonder if it’s possible to make a convincing one in Animation:Master with instances and flocking.
  • When you see what happens to people when zombies get them, why are the zombies we see always so intact?

Building the Shack, Part 12

Ended up spending most of the winter on the walls, working on warm days. Started by cutting and stapling sheet plastic over the frame where the walls would go.

Collected usable scrap lumber from around the property. Angle cut boards on the table saw to 30°. Made perpendicular cuts in the workshop with hand-held circular saw.

Started on the west wall. Didn’t beat the snow. Got most of the west wall nailed into place standing on saw horses. Finished on the extension ladder.

East wall was the most complicated. Hung the entension ladder on the roof peak from the foot of the banking, being careful of the picture window.

Made a platform with the ladder, to get the board above the window nailed into place. Steadied the ladder by running ratcheting straps out from the side windows, and finished the roof peak late one night in February under freezing drizzle.

South wall easier. Stood on the block of styrofoam from the picture window installation to get the top board in place. Worked up from the bottom. Recut the final board a few times.

North wall finished last. Cut the final board trapezoidally by hand.

Finished this afternoon, in sunny 45° spring weather.

Caulking needed in places, but walls are in place.