Coyote from "Aesop and Son"

I'm still here, everyone.

Hey there. I know, I haven't updated my LiveJournal blog in over two months, and to be fair, I guess I'm not missing out on THAT much, since fewer and fewer furries are using LiveJournal now and have moved on to platforms like Twitter and FurAffinity, which I also use a lot. But here is a check-in and a quick recap on what has been going on with me in the second half of this hectic year. To make a long story short, not much has been happening. We're now in Phase 3 of the reopening plan for Massachusetts, and didn't progress forward that much due to the coronavirus cases rising again. But they've been faltering again, then going a little up again and a little down again. It frustrates me that there are so many idiots out there that don't want to follow the social distancing guidelines or wear a mask when out! In fact, veteran cartoon writer/producer Tom Ruegger came up with a hilarious e-book about that, parodying Dr. Seuss's 60-year-old classic "Green Eggs and Ham"...

I really enjoyed the story, and it does have an "Animaniacs" vibe to its' writing (since Ruegger developed that show with Steven Spielberg anyways.)
And yes, when I go out to a store or something I wear a mask over my nose and mouth; more often than not I have to take off my glasses due to them fogging up, and then when I get back to the car I remove the mask and put my glasses back on. And I often wash my hands and use sanitizers when possible.
But too bad they can't be masks like THESE:

You get the idea.

The Brockton schools will be starting up this month, but they are going to first go with the remote approach the way they did this spring, but at least my brother will be getting in work! Then if all goes well, come November they can have physical classes again.
I was also disappointed by the news that Anthro New England 2021 has been canceled due to the pandemic. I was really looking forward to this one, since their theme was to be the 1990s, a decade I grew up in and know a lot about! They do plan to do something virtually in 2021, but if it requires getting a VR headset and the software, I might not bother. It'd be hard to work the 90s theme into a virtual con, so I hope they save the theme for 2022 when they hold the con physically again. I was looking forward to having Zak Wolf wear a few 90s outfits, play a mixtape of his favorite songs on a cassette recorder, partake in the 90s-themed variety show, and host a panel about 90s kids' computer games!

But at least I got in another YouTube Poop involving the pandemic...

Yep, in this continuity, the COVID-19 pandemic is all a M.A.D. plot for world domination! Since there was an episode about M.A.D. exploiting a virus and another where Inspector Gadget goes into lockdown in his house, I couldn't resist!

For a while I was having some problems with PBS blocking my "Arthur" YTPs...

You can find many of those blocked YTPs on my Google Drive now...

And another status update from Zak Wolf at the end of July...

With the month of August there wasn't much for me to do, since the Brockton Rox games were not allowing fans to attend, meaning no K-O the Kangaroo, and with Fan Expo Boston canceled...

But I did get another fun 3D Movie Maker epic made, tying in to the announcement that Comedy Central is reviving "Ren and Stimpy," with Billy West returning to do voices and no involvement from John K! Joy!

We also got a LOT of storms, and quite a bit of heatwaves. We had a pretty brutal tropical heatwave that caused me to break out in heat rashes, and I had to go to the doctor about them! Luckily they are all better by now.
And the cancellations and my brother and dad being pessimistic about the pandemic started to rub off on me...

But at least a few days after that I got some more YouTube video ideas, and I am already planning a couple other YouTube Poops, including at least one for the Halloween season.
And speaking of Halloween, I sure hope that isn't all screwed up too much in my area with this pandemic crisis going on... many opportunities for me to fursuit/cosplay have been cancelled so far, and my brother and I decided to not throw a party as it'd be a hassle with the guidelines. Hopefully we'll still have trick-or-treating, and I can pass out candy to kids in my Zak Wolf fursuit!
But I am also hoping that vaccine will be ready by the end of this year here in the USA, so we can start getting back to normal! And forgive the political talk, but President Donald Chump is REALLY screwing up now, and his manchild tendencies are really showing. I really hope Joe Biden is elected president in November, as my family and I do feel he's a potentical good presidental candidate that can beat Chump at the polls. It's not like when Chump was up against Hilary Clinton four years ago.
But enough political yakking. Recently I mourned the passing of Joe Ruby, co-founder of Ruby-Spears Enterprises, and a key player in developing Scooby-Doo, along with Ken Spears, Fred Silverman, Iwao Takamoto, and of course William Hanna and Joseph Barbera...

So Zak Wolf and Scooby-Doo (combined via split-screen magic in Photoshop) are mourning the passing of Joe Ruby by listening to the appropriate records; a Scooby-Doo story LP (with comic gatefold booklet) and a Fangface story LP, both from Peter Pan Records.
Regarding the latter, somewhere down the line I do plan to make a fursuit of Fangface! But currently my next fursuit plans is making a suit of Brain, the dog from "Inspector Gadget."

But I guess that's enough for now. With summer turning into autumn, I am hoping things improve for the best this season!
  • Current Music
    "Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown" by Larry Finlayson
Son of the Masked Clock

A new iPhone!

Well, my good old Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was starting to fail from age, being my first Smartphone I got in January 2016, and my parents' phones of the same model were also starting to fail. They'd have trouble staying powered on when going to "sleep", the touch screen wouldn't always be responsive, they may not boot up properly, and eventually they wouldn't read the SIM cards! So we all had to get new phones. (My brother replaced his due to the defective battery in his messing up the electronics a bit, partly for the same reasons I mentioned.)

Naturally, I decided to give the Apple iPhone a try, since I've been using Macs for 11 years now and I also have an iPod Touch 7G (and have previously used the 5 and 6G models as well). So I went with the current iPhone SE, which Apple launched in April, and is fundamentally an iPhone 11 in the classic iPhone 8 body, as I don't really need one of those fancy new-design iPhone X or 11s, and since I'm already familiar with the iPod Touch it was a logical step up. Plus, I like the easier integration of the Mac OS and iOS, like for syncing music, importing photos I've taken, etc. without the need of a third party application like Wondershare Tunes Go, and even that the connection between my Samsung and my Mac wasn't always reliable.

Apple even makes an Android app so you can transfer data from an Android phone to a new iPhone wirelessly! It didn't have much to transfer though, especially since with the Samsung's SIM card reader not working anymore and thus unable to copy my contacts...

But thanks to my iCloud account, it memorized all my passwords for the services and apps I use on my Mac and iPod Touch, so it was easy to use when downloading all the apps I normally use on such a phone. One thing I noticed different was the ringtones option. On Android, you could easily pick an MP3 in your phone's music library to use as a ringtone. But for the iPhone, you have to create your own 30-second excerpt of the song of your choice to use as a ringtone in the .m4r extension, but it's a lot easier than I thought. I also went with an appropriate song choice, "Digital Duck" from the 1983 Mickey Mouse album "Splashdance!"

And so of course, I just had to get a pic of me as Zak Wolf, being such a tech-savvy wolf posing with said iPhone! Now to try and learn how to use the touchscreen and home button with my gloves on (though I could just use the stylus from my old Samsung if need be.)

Yeah, I'm so far happy with this new iPhone. My dad is pretty anti-Apple, but he does not mind my fondness for Apple's products. After all, if I want to be a successful I.T. worker, it's handy to have some experience with them!
  • Current Music
    Penny's theme from "Inspector Gadget!"
Coyote from "Aesop and Son"

End of the line for Chuck E. Cheese's?

The media is abuzz with the news that Chuck E. Cheese's is filing for bankruptcy protection, largely due to that whole darn COVID-19 epidemic! So naturally, being a 1990s kid that visited a Chuck E. Cheese's a few times (one that used to be right in my hometown of Brockton MA), I thought I'd post about it! With this epidemic, I kind of had a hunch this would eventually happen, as it was strongly affecting businesses and the entertainment industry across the country and the globe. Conventions I were planning to go to got canceled (at least I got a refund for Anime Boston!), movie theaters closing down leading to the film industry having to premiere expected hit films on video-on-demand or streaming services (like "Scoob!" as I already mentioned), sports seasons being all screwed up (the Brockton Rox is still planning to play, starting in July, they will play even if fans can't come to games!) and more. And naturally, as part of this, Chuck E. Cheese's was badly affected. They did try this strategy to keep some business, by offering pizza deliveries under a "clever" alias...

Sorry Chuck E., but I wasn't fooled. I knew something seemed familiar when I saw that it was named "Pasqually's Pizza and Wings," since Pasqually is also the name of the stereotypical Italian pizza chef that is a member of Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza-Time Players/Make-Believe Band.

But even that didn't work, and now they are filing for bankruptcy protection. In fact, this is not the first time such a thing happened. The video game crash of 1983 let to Chuck E. Cheese's filing for bankruptcy as well, especially since it was founded and then owned by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell.

But luckily, Showbiz Pizza Place came to the rescue and bought out Chuck E. Cheese's, especially since Chuck E. was suing Showbiz Pizza for initially being more or less a very similar business utilizing the same concepts (even if it had better animatronics than Chuck E. Cheese's did at the time, courtesy of the Rockafire Explosion!) Both franchises operated separately for some time until creative differences and rights issues with Creative Engineering, creator and owner of the Rockafire Explosion, severed ties with Showbiz Pizza Time, resulting in all of them becoming Chuck E. Cheese's during the early 90s and utilizing Chuck E.'s Make-Believe Band. But if you look around you can find some Rockafire Explosion shows still in operation not affiliated with Showbiz/Chuck E. Cheese's. (None are in my area though, especially since there wasn't a Showbiz Pizza Place ever in my area, to my knowledge.)

During the 1980s and 1990s, other similar family entertainment centers came and gone. A prominent one was Discovery Zone, where I went a few times for my cousins' birthday parties; there was one in Dartmouth MA, not that far from where my aunt used to live. They didn't really have any costumed characters, but they had a neat robot mascot; an actual radio-controlled robot! I remember having fun there, and my brother has fond memories as well; he likes it even more than Chuck E. Cheese's! Sadly, even if they were owned by Viacom for a while, Discovery Zone filed for bankruptcy in the late 90s and then ceased operations without warning in late 1999, distressing MANY families. Chuck E. Cheese's bought the rights to Discovery Zone and even converted some of them to Chuck E. Cheese's restaurants.
Heck, even Disney tried out such a family entertainment center, Club Disney, which I do remember reading about online in the late 1990s but didn't really get into further details, and I learned about it more courtesy of Defunctland, who also brings up other similar places including Chuck E. Cheese's and Discovery Zone...

Ahh, to be a kid in the 1990s!

And now Chuck E. Cheese's, after holding out for so long after that turbulent decade, is suffering the same fate. One thing that this will hurt is all those great parodies of Chuck E. Cheese's I've often brought up. That was the one always parodied in the media. I mean, when have you ever seen a parody of Discovery Zone in a cartoon?! And "Five Nights at Freddy's" will now cause some confusion as well, what with the franchise that inspired it apparently dying.

As I said, Brockton used to have a Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza, opened in 1992 or 1993 at the Westgate Mall...

Photo not mine; comes from the Brokcton Hub on Facebook and is dated 1993. I do remember that pizza counter and menu pretty well, though, along with the employees' outfits!
And as I mentioned, this Chuck E. Cheese's closed in early 2002 and was demolished to make way for a Best Buy. The first time I visited that Chuck E. Cheese's as a kid was August 1997. I was eight and a half years old then, and I remember finding it more cool than i thought it would be, even in parodies I saw such as Dexter's Laboratory's "Chubby Cheese!" I distinctly remember them playing the August 1997 showtape. One fun song number the animatronic band performed was "Secret Agent Man," with this footage playing on the TV monitors...

I gotta say, the 1990s Chuck E. Cheese walkaround costume with articulated head looks good in a detective/spy's trenchcoat, fedora hat and sunglasses. This was what partly inspired me to have Zak Wolf wear a similar getup for my demonstration on the old iMovie effects earlier this year when demonstrating the "Fog" effect...

Though in this case, being in a film noir spoof, Zak Wolf is more of a private nose ;)

anthronewenglandday1a  - 1.jpg
But anyways, at least with this year's Anthro New England (which fortunately got to happen before the pandemic occurred, thank goodness!) I got to revisit a bit of the magic, when I met fellow furry/CEC enthusiast Taylor Wolf, who brought her official 1990s-style Chuck E. Cheese walkaround costume to the con! It went over pretty well, and we are both looking forward to Anthro New England 2021, as its' theme is to be the 1990s! Chuck E. will DEFINITELY fit with the motif! And in all of this, Anthro New England is also pretty much where a furry can be a kid!

Farewell, Chuck E. Cheese's. You will leave a legacy of great memories, not-so-great memories, and hilarious spoofs and parodies that sometimes take a dark turn!

"SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE"-*cuts to static*

Book-and-record read-alongs are back!

Hey everyone! You may remember over four years ago when I talked about Golden Books' original read-along book-and-audio sets made between the 1950s and early 1970s, and then from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, Disneyland/Vista Records teamed up with Golden to produce them before Golden severed ties with Disneyland Records in 1986 and began producing their own read-alongs once again, exclusively on cassette (as before that, they were on 78 and then 45-RPM records, and then the Disney co-produced titles were released simultaneously on record and cassette.) And we all know how Golden Books (now part of Penguin Random House) likes to be innovative and such with childrens' books. Well, a couple years ago they came out with this...

Yep, Golden is taking advantage of the recent vinyl record resurgence by bringing back read-along book-and-audio sets on record! So far they just have this title and "The Shy Little Kitten," but so far it's a decent start!

Check out that blurb on the back! The online description says: "Back when poodle skirts were all the rage, The Poky Little Puppy Little Golden Book once came packaged with a shiny vinyl record. Now it's back—a neat book-and-record package—for a whole new generation of kids and parents who love their record players! Kids can listen to the friendly narration of their favorite story as they follow the prompts and turn the pages of the softcover book. Downloads were never this much fun!" They got that right! But what they DIDN'T get right was the recording used for this title!

Despite mentioning Mitch Miller doing the music and Frank Milano doing the narration as in the 1957 read-along edition from Golden Books, this title actually uses the 1976 Disneyland/Vista recording, with narration by veteran voice actor Bob Holt, accompanied by the usual Disneyland read-along voice actors of the time like Corey Burton, Pat Parris and Tress MacNeille, along with the puppy barking sound as the page-turning signal, a funky 1970s music score, and featuring Larry Groce's "Where is the Poky Little Puppy" song! It's even released on a 7" LP, like the Disneyland/Golden read-alongs from 1976 were! My friend Greg Ehrbar says that this was a mistake Penguin Random House made when putting this together; BMG owns the rights to the Golden Book read-along soundtrack masters, but the current crew at Golden don't really know what is on the masters when preparing these. "The Shy Little Kitten" read-along does use the original 1950s Golden Records soundtrack, but that's because Disneyland/Vista Records did not adapt that title into a read-along in 1976 the way they did with "The Poky Little Puppy." Now all that's missing is the classic Disneyland read-along tagline: "SEE the pictures, HEAR the story, READ the book!"

I had planned to have Zak Wolf do a review vlog about this little throwback product when I ordered it. But then when I actually tested the record on my turntable and heard the 1976 soundtrack, I had a change of plans, and instead had the Disney Big Bad Wolf review it, what with Disney having a hand in producing that version and all, and said Big Bad Wolf having reviewed SO MANY Disney read-along titles already...

Nonetheless, it's still such a fun throwback, albeit more of a throwback to the 1970s than the 1950s. And I wonder if Penguin Random House/Golden Books will soon come out with more Little Golden Book And Vinyl Record sets like that? Maybe even release some of Disney's Little Golden Book titles as read-alongs like the "Three Little Pigs," heh heh, even if it has that freakish off-model Big Bad Wolf design that I even bought an officially-licensed T-shirt of!

Yep, I couldn't resist getting it. And hey, I had a little fun at Anthro New England 2020 at one point going around in that getup, wearing the Big Bad Wolf fursuit with that shirt and showing how off-model I am on it!

And there's your retro Disney/record throwback post for tonight!
Latex wuff

The Looney Tunes are back in shorts!

So yesterday, WarnerMedia launched the HBO Max streaming service. And since my family's Comcast/Xfinity plan allowed for me to sign up for it using my Comcast login creditentals at no additional fee, I couldn't resist, largely because of the new Looney Tunes Cartoons being released on the service!

Compared to "The Looney Tunes Show" and "Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production" (later titled "New Looney Tunes"), this one is more or less a return to form, letting cartoonists actually run things and work in a more traditional manner, not unlike Hanna-Barbera and Cartoon Network's "What a Cartoon Show" from 1995-97. This resulted in the Looney Tunes looking the best they've ever been! All the characters have been redesigned to resemble how they looked back in the 1940s, most notably with Bugs Bunny wearing yellow gloves as he did in some of his early shorts. Much of these designs were done by veteran animator Dan Haskett, who's done some really impressive work over the years, and they look pretty good. Though Wile E. Coyote looks a tad unusual...

Like Slappy Squirrel said, "Old gag, new twist!"
Here they tried to go with a design reminiscent of his debut appearace in "Fast and Furry-Ous," but added a few additional details like protuding fangs.
This particular entry is basically more or less one of those "in-between" bumpers that go between the two full cartoon shorts per 13-minute episode, not unlike similar bumpers used on some of Cartoon Network's 90s shows like "Dexter's Laboratory," "Johnny Bravo" and "Cow and Chicken," and I will admit it's a creative touch. (Similar bumpers also involve a gag with Elmer chasing Bugs, or Marvin the Martian attempting to claim a planet in the name of Mars.)

Really good animation and voice work here. And such a delightful twist at the end, even if I could kind of see it coming. (It's been such a long time since they used the rubber mask device in anything Looney Tunes related, given that it was used in a good amount of the classic shorts, long before "Mission: Impossible" and "Scooby-Doo"!)

The music is REALLY good; very Carl Stalling-esque. (It did give me a few of these "Animaniacs" vibes, which is good, since the "Animaniacs" revival is using the same composers and musicians.) The animation is really lively as well. Much of it is done by Tonic DNA and Yowza Animation in Canada and by Snipple Animation in the Philippines, all of whom can turn out some very fluid and cartoony animation. A few shorts were animated in Korea by Yearim Productions, but it somewhat pales in comparison to the Canadian and Filipino studios mentioned, and they were fired during production as a result.

Here is an example of a typical full-length episode. Some fun flashes of very nice animation, and it was also interesting seeing Sylvester with yellowish eyes. But I guess it beats when he had green eyes and that white mask around them in the comics of the 60s and 70s!

Even Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog are back! I missed seeing them in new stuff; what I often liked about these shorts was how Ralph and Sam were working classmen -type buddies that punch in and out, just doing their jobs as the predator and the guard.

The voices are pretty good, too. Eric Bauza does a fantastic job as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Tweety, along with Bob Bergen as Porky Pig, Fred Tasticore as Yosemite Sam, veteran Jeff Bergman as Elmer Fudd and Sylvester, and Candi Milo as Granny and additional female voices.
Another minor flaw is the use of some out-of-place sound effects, as while several classic Treg Brown/WB sound effects are there, there are also numerous Disney/Cartoon Trax (ala some of the 90s Chuck Jones shorts) and Hanna-Barbera sound effects (ala the late 60s Warner-Seven Arts cartoons) present; a solution that could have easily been avoided by picking the right sound editing team (if they went with Robert Hargreaves and DigiPost.TV, we'd get the classic Treg Brown falling down whistles, instead of Hanna-Barbera's "shell screaming whine down" that originated in the 1939 MGM short "Peace on Earth" we have in these newer cartoons.)

So far, only ten of these episodes are currently on HBO Max; now comes the wait for more new cartoons!
Disney Big Bad Wolf costume

The NOT Big Bad Wolf!

Some of you may have heard of Disney's online RPG, "Sorcerer's Arena." I don't play it, but I have a frew friends that do, and I learned that one playable character is the Big Bad Wolf of the "Three Little Pigs!" The very same one I cosplay as, no less! This is also one of those "freemium" games where you can unlock certain things for it, and one thing you can unlock for the Big Bad Wolf is THIS costume...

Nice to see him step up in his disguise game here, after relying on so many cheesy disguises for almost 87 years (next Wednesday will be the original "Three Little Pigs" short's 87th anniversary), especially compared to that LAST TIME he disguised as a pig, in an older Disney comic where he just put on pink pajamas, put an old tin can with two nostrils over his muzzle and painted that and his face pink.
Plus, a huge cartoonish pig head with a fedora hat seems kind of familiar...

Though I don't think it was an intentional reference, even if Disney is known for those kind of things in some of their animated features, and the newer "Mickey Mouse" and "DuckTales" and "Legend of the Three Caballeros" animated series. But naturally, I just HAD to recreate that "Not Big Bad Wolf" costume with my arsenal of costumes...

Of course, Practical Pig might not be fooled by those giveaway footpaws, but Fifer and Fiddler Pig usually fall for the Wolf's disguises (save for the sheepskin he wore in the first short, of course!)

I also thought it would be fun to get a photo of the Wolf starting to tug the rubber pig mask over his head. But is it another attempt at trying to catch the real Three Little Pigs? Or is he wearing it for protection as part of that whole coronavirus thing? Or does he just think it looks good?
Yeah I know, I'm using the older Don Post-made Big Bad Wolf latex mask from the early 90s, but that's because the pig mask wouldn't look so good trying to go over my fursuit head! But I HAVE been using said fursuit head in a few other recent things I did...

Here he is mourning the death of Little Richard by playing his song "Gawrsh Golly Goofy" from the 1987 album "Mickey's Rock Around the Mouse."

I also shot a somewhat different kind of vlog as the Big Bad Wolf last week...

I thought I'd have the Big Bad Wolf read you all an older Disney "Wonderful World of Reading" book he appears in: "Li'l Wolf and the Three Little Pigs!" It was originally written and published in Denmark in 1984, and then translated into English some time in the 1990s. In the story, it's Practical Pig's birthday, and so the Big Bad Wolf wants to crash the party to catch the piggies, up to his usual tricks. Brer Bear makes an appearance as well in the story (since he and Brer Fox were often friends with the Big Bad Wolf, to the point where he was sometimes called Brer Wolf!)

And there's your random Disney post for tonight!
Scooby Disguise

Scoob is back!

This weekend, Warner Bros. released the new Warner Animated Group CGI feature film "Scoob!" directly to VOD services. (It was going to get a theatrical release, but that darn coronavirus closed a lot of movie theaters, and Warner still wanted to get the film out, after seeing how Universal did the same thing for "Trolls: World Tour.") Even so, I still rented it Friday evening and watched it. I sure enjoyed it a lot, even with the somewhat different designs and voices (Frank Welker being the only one to reprise his role, as Scooby-Doo.) It was fun seeing the Scooby gang, Dynomutt and the son of the Blue Falcon, Captain Caveman and Dick Dastardly all in the same movie like that, and I LOVED all the Hanna-Barbera in-jokes and easter eggs in the background and such (I got a chuckle out of the scene at Takamoto Bowling, with Scooby bowling like Fred Flintstone.) I also enjoyed how Dastardly was somewhat of a master of disguise, with way better masks and suits than he used in the original "Wacky Races!" I also liked the flashback to when they were young; it did give me these "Pup Named Scooby-Doo" vibes, even if it didn't have Red Herring.
The main plot was a nice break from the usual mystery formula, and a good start to this H-B Cinematic Universe. But there were a few things I DIDN'T like, such as some of the use of pop songs, Fred and the Blue Falcon's scatterbrained ditziness (with Brian and Dynomutt, it was pretty much the opposite of the original show!) and that pterodactyl droppings gag... ewwww!!! But otherwise it was such a fun movie. I'm glad I rented it, and soon I should actually be buying it.

Besides that, lately I've been on another Scooby-Doo kick. In fact, as a partial tie-in to the release of "Scoob!" I figured I should apply a bit more customization to my latex Scooby-Doo mask from Rubies/Mask Illusions...

I redid the chin whiskers and I gave him a larger neck and shoulders, very much like the Ape Man's Scooby mask in "Never Ape an Ape Man!" I achieved this by taking my previous worn-out Scooby mask (that you've seen before in this "Scoobyception" vid) and cutting it up, then gluing the latex pieces to my newer mask's collar using Goop/shoe glue (the same adhesive I use when making my fursuit footpaws to attach the soles).

And now I can do this, too! I love doing this kind of thing when wearing a mask that covers my head and neck and part of my chest and shoulders, tugging my shirt collar a bit to reveal more of the mask's skin...

I thought it was also a good idea, as my current main body costume for Scooby does reveal a bit of my shoulders after I removed the attached hood.

Just a quick demo video I made of me getting into character.
Zak Wolf

Seein' it I 2 I for 25 years!

Today marks the 25th anniversary of a childhood favorite film of mine: "A Goofy Movie!" And Disney is well aware of the 90s kids that grew up with it, like me, hence coming out with merchandise like the "Goofy Movie" picture disc soundtrack LP, T-shirts like the Powerline one Zak Wolf is wearing here, and FINALLY releasing the movie on Blu-Ray (albeit through the Disney Movie Club) last year! Not to mention some fun theme park events they've done that reference the movie. So of course, Zak Wolf is celebrating this milestone, even if it makes him feel a little older knowing this movie is now 25 years old, but still remembers when it was fresh and new...

This is one shirt I plan to have Zak Wolf wear at Anthro New England 2021 for the con's theme: "Back to the 90s!" One of my friends is even going to make a Powerline fursuit to go with the con! That'll be fun to see!

And speaking of Anthro New England, here is a clip of the Big Bad Wolf at ANE 2019 attempting the Perfect Cast...

 Bet we'll be seeing a LOT of "Goofy Movie"-related stuff at Anthro New England 2021! But first we still have to get through this pesky coronavirus lockdown crisis...
  • Current Music
    "I-2-I" by Tevin Campbell
Coyote from "Aesop and Son"

Random thoughts during the lockdown...

Yes, my family and I have been dealing with the whole coronavirus isolation lockdown stuff for two weeks now. So far we're still fine and sane; no signs of strong cabin fever... yet. None of us have gotten the virus, and so far we are still safe, and that's all that matters. But my dad only had his new I.T. job for about a week when they announced they were temporarily closing his office and that he'd be working from home until further notice! And my brother has NO work at all during the crisis; as of two weeks ago all the public schools in the area closed down, and will remain closed until May 4th! My brother works at the local high school (which I graduated from nearly 14 years ago now) as a teacher's aide. (I bet a lot of kids are going to soon get bored of having no school and not much to do because of the lockdown, and by the time April is over they'll all be anxious to go back to school, especially since it'll be May by then! And the public school district here in Brockton is setting up online learning systems for the kids and teens to get through until the schools open again. (My high school is still pretty old-fashioned, not using online learning systems or anything.) My college campus is also closed for the time being, and even though I have completed my Computer Information degree, I can't go work out in the Field House building or help out with the theater or TV departments. Many stores, restaurants and other non-essential businesses are closed, and many events have been cancelled or postponed. Anime Boston 2020 has also unfortunately been cancelled in all of this. And I was looking forward to this one as being the first one I attend as Zak Wolf.
Luckily Anthro New England and my college's "Beauty and the Beast" production happened before the outbreak!

Now we are going into the stage where things get worse before they get better, with more cases rising in the area, and more closures. Hope the stage where things get better comes more quickly! I wonder how this will affect the Brockton Rox baseball team and K-O the Kangaroo?

Anyways, I've been keeping myself busy with increasing my YouTube video productivity. Of course I did a YouTube Poop involving the coronavirus...

Of course, because this is the Berenstain Bears, and Papa Bear is a generally healthy bear, he eventually recovers. It's mostly older or unhealthy people that are at risk. Me and my family are pretty healthy, and even though my parents are now in my early 60s, they are still at less of a risk of dying from getting the virus.

I also did a little throwback vlog, like the one I did involving MiniDV and an older version of iMovie over three years ago, but this time I shot it on my Sony Digital8 camcorder!

It's the first time I ever recorded anything new on it, as I generally only use the Digital8 cam for playing back and importing my older Hi-8 videotapes into the computer via FireWire. But unlike that MiniDV vlog, I was able to import and edit the footage using the current version of Final Cut Pro X.
And speaking of Final Cut, I also set up an external boot hard drive running Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan to use with my Mac Mini, as that was the operating system I first used on said computer when I bought it in early 2016. I can even run older 32-bit apps that eventually were no longer supported with subsequent versions of the Mac OS, like Apple's Final Cut Express...

It's pretty neat, though I will admit it's a little slower and more complicated than Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro CC. For one thing, it was built on code from the "Classic" Mac OS days! The first version of Final Cut Pro was designed to run on Mac OS 8.5 or OS 9! And it would only operated in 32-bit, compared to modern 64-bit editing applications that take advantage of the computer's processing power and extra RAM. In fact, I compared Final Cut Pro 1.2.5 from 2000 with Final Cut Express 4 (seen in the photo) and they looked virtually identical! Same with Final Cut Pro 7 from 2009, the last version before it was changed into Final Cut Pro X, a move that was pretty controversial at the time.

When it originally came out, I will admit it looked a lot like "iMovie Pro" or something, as people have unfavorably called it back when it came out.

A vlog I made on iMovie '11 back in early 2015. iMovie was slightly redesigned again in 2013 with a more streamlined look, complete with a traditional horizontal "timeline" on the bottom.

Compare the image of Final Cut Pro X 10.1.4 with the current version, 10.4.8...

Looks a lot more professional, doesn't it? Now normally I don't have all those windows open at once (especially the Index and Source/Event Viewer monitor), but you can see how the program has really evolved to cater more to professional videographers and editors. Since that initial release, they added features like XML import/export, multicam editing, professional-quality color grading and correction features, marker creation (like DVD chapters), more export options, third-party plugin support, external monitor output... many of them work better than they did in the old Final Cut versions. It's got so many professional features that even I haven't used them all!

Then I also shot a vlog as Zak Wolf dealing with this crisis...

Yep, as you can tell by the thumbnail, I recently bought that new "Tex Avery's Screwball Classics Volume 1" Blu-Ray! Tex came up with some of the best cartoon wolves out there, and besides that, I LOVED his cartoons as a kid. This Blu-Ray collects a good amount of his theatrical MGM cartoons of the 1940s. This gives me something to watch during the lockdown, along with catching up on that "Green Eggs and Ham" animated series from WB. I've also started watching "Beastars" as well, and am so far finding it interesting. (Legoshi sure is cute, hehe.)

With all this extra time on my hands, I started teaching myself more on how to use Apple Motion 5, which is their motion graphics and effects software (sort of like Adobe After Effects), and you can also create plugins to use in Final Cut Pro. But I so far seem to get better results if I import individual clips from a project I am working on into Motion and add the effects, like this film noir-esque look on Zak Wolf in a detective's trenchcoat and fedora hat. The reason for that shot was because I filmed it during a video I made last month before Anthro New England 2020, showing off the video effects that came with the old versions of iMovie prior to its' 2007 rewrite...

Nowadays most (if not all) of those effects can be used in Final Cut Pro X or Motion 5, with much greater control. A few similar effects are still included in the current iMovie, along with a bunch of other neat-looking filters.

Yesterday I also pulled out my old PowerMac G4 QuickSilver from 2001 (with an 867 MHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, two internal hard drives and a dual-layer SuperDrive for burning CDs and DVDs) and toyed around with it. It still runs smoothly, even though it had a kernel panic when I connected my Sony Digital8 camcorder to it, thus frying the FireWire port on the camcorder! Ugh!!! At least from what I've seen, getting the camcorder repaired by a specialist will only cost a little less than getting another Digital8 camcorder off eBay, and it'd be less risky too (especially if I start digitizing other people's old Video8 and Hi-8 tapes!) Other than that it's been running smoothly, on Mac OS X 10.4.11 Tiger AND Mac OS 9.2.2!

Here I am working with Adobe Premiere 6.5 on Mac OS 9, which is the video-editing software I worked on at my high school's TV studio. It also works with Mac OS X, but only on PowerPC processors. After this version, it became Premiere Pro and was Windows-only from 2003 to 2007, when a Mac version became available again with Premiere Pro CS3 (but only on Intel Macs), and then in 2009 a Mac version of Adobe Premiere Elements for consumers and hobbyists came out as well. Today, Adobe Premiere Pro is a great professional video editor for both Windows and Mac alike, and I still use it on certain projects (otherwise I mostly use iMovie for basic stuff and Final Cut Pro X for anything else elaborate, like my YouTube Poops!)

And here i am ripping a CD on iTunes 2! When iTunes first came out in 2001, it could work on both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, although visually it had the same look based off OS X's style of the time. It's still pretty neat! (On Mac OS 10.15 Catalina, iTunes was split up into three separate but more convenient apps: Music, TV and Podcasts, with the Music part being a lot like the older iTunes here that was originally designed just for music purposes!)

Oh, and here are the Photo Room pics of Zak Wolf from Anthro New England 2020!

Of course, with the con's theme being the Roaring 20s, I went to the photo room wearing my 1920s gangster fedora, pin-striped suspenders and necktie! So I could't resist letting Zak use a toy Tommy Gun as a prop!
That was fun and all, but ANE 2021 is going to be even more fun, because the theme then will be the 1990s! I know plenty about that decade because I grew up in it (though I was born in 1988, I consider myself a 90s kid.) I might even see if I can do a panel about 1990s computer games for kids, especially since I've done numerous Let's Play videos and YouTube Poops on them for my YouTube channel, and many of those games do feature anthropomorphic animal worlds (like a few Living Books titles, Reader Rabbit, the Spy Fox games, etc.)

And there is my first post from during this coronavirus crisis!


My first theatrical costuming/puppetry gig!

So a week after Anthro New England 2020, my college's community theater company opened up our production of "Disney's Beauty and the Beast," and it was so much fun! Definitely one of our most elaborate and professional performances of all time. We really had the Disney magic going, with elaborate costume work and ensemble dance numbers, special effects (most of them projections but still awesome-looking), a live orchestra to do the music, and of course strong cooperation between the cast and crew, including me! This show was special to me, as I mentioned, this is my first costuming/puppetry job for a theatrical performance! My job was designing and building the wolf puppets for the woods scenes, as I mentioned before. I finished the heads and their paws before leaving for Anthro New England 2020, and then when I got back we worked on their bodies and installing their LED eyes and the battery packs for them. We were also going to have the Beast wear boots with furry toes sticking out of them, and I got them made, but before we could attach them we nixed the idea when we saw how slick the Beast's boots can be on the stage during a dress rehearsal (luckily he wasn't hurt!) We instead would attach grip material onto the soles of his boots before each performance. But even so, I'm glad I got to contribute a piece to the show, an adaptation of one of my all-time favorite Disney animated classics, no less!

Here are two of the completed puppets before two of the female ensemble members operating them were to go on for the first wolf chase scene. These two ensemble girls were twin sisters, and it was fun working with them as one of my first clients. Like I said, they wanted the wolves to look mangy but not too cartoonish, so we decided on somewhat basing their design off that mangy wolf from "The Sword in the Stone" but with a more realistic head design (instead of that Chuck Jones-esque design the wolf had in the movie.)
Generally during each performance, I'd be in that hallway near the stage with a glue gun and masking tape to do any quick repairs to the wolf puppets for their next usage. (The tape would be to secure the battery packs in place.) A couple times during the course of the run a battery pack would fall out, but another cast member or stagehand would recover it for us. Those modern battery packs sure are durable! (They can even charge by USB.) They set up a monitor in the hall for cast and crew members to watch the show on (with a camera set up from the balcony to stream it to) and know when their cues are coming up and such.
One of the costume committee supervisors decided on using dryer tubes for the wolves' necks. Even though I furred them before opening night, we had ultimately learned dryer tube may not have been the best material for the necks, but at least it's a good thing I was there during each performance to make sure the wolves stayed in shape!

In addition to my wolf duties, I also supplied the pre-show music playlist, consisting of songs from other Disney classics, just to get the audience in a Disney mood, such as "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes," "A Whole New World," "Bella Notte," "Can You Feel The Love Tonight," "I Won't Say I'm In Love," "Part Of Your World," "Let It Go," and even "Les Poissons!" (That song is pretty much a precursor to "Be Our Guest," due to utilizing the same songwriters.)

What also made our production unique was that usually other theater companies rent the costumes for this show, but we made much of our wardrobe for the show from scratch! I'm glad I got to be a part of that. (Many other performances of the show often have actors dress up in wolf costumes, though one other went with the same puppet approach, inspiring us to do the same.)

I am glad I got to be part of the crew for this spectacular show. I don't know how the college's theater company can top this one! Maybe in a few years we'll do another Disney Broadway show, like "Aladdin" or "The Little Mermaid" or "Frozen"... or maybe "The Lion King!" That would require a LOT of animal costumes and puppets!
  • Current Music
    "Beauty and the Beast" by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson