Saturday, 27 September 2008

My practice run to test After Effects animation!!!


OK, so I know to a seasoned animator this will look rubbish, but this is my test run - it's the first time I have even used After Effects (never mind animated anything) so I am pretty pleased that I managed it first time! It's definately the look I am going for - i dont want it to look too real as it's a stickman... so I can start woking on the final run pretty soon :)

A sad day... RIP little Junior xxx

I was in 2 minds whether to post about this or not, as it's such a personal thing for us. Also this means alot to me, but inevitably to other people it wont mean so much.... so why should I share? But at the same time I am here alone, in my room, it's raining and dark outside and I need to share it with someone.

I got a text from Hans this morning;

"I'm sorry sweety, but Junior is off on his final adventure :( must have happened sometime in the day or last night, he was out in the morning :( RIP lil buddy x"

So yeah, little Junior is gone now. Its already been said on the blog that he wasn't himself, but the little soldier was SO old - he would be 3 around christmas and thats like 120 years old or something... he was so gorgeous and such a little character. I was so hoping I would see him again when I went to visit (just over 3 weeks) but I guess expecting him to hold on was just too much to ask.

I have just thought of another reason this post is good - I plan on saving this whole blog when (and if) I am done and keep it with all of my other diaries - I guess I feel like I am immortalising him a bit and keeping him with me and with all of my memories - the best and worst. In Juniors case, the best of them.

Goodbye little one, we'll miss you so much! Enjoy hamster heaven, where the streets are paved with cheese and banana chips


Friday, 26 September 2008

Something for the weekend... (25 days)!!!

Ok, so - after experiencing mild panic at having to produce this short animated clip in After Effects (without having used it before and going through the basics in a different language!!!) I am starting to feel much better about it because I have finally decided on my idea. I have included it below on a slideshow this time as it will hopefully give you a better idea on what I am aiming for in the final piece - remember though that these are mockups - some example photographs I have taken. For the actual stickmen I sketched them on layout paper (which took a surprisingly long time for saying they are stickmen), scanned them into Photoshop and made each one into a brush (so I have them on there to play around with now) so there is still alot of work to do!

The brief is to create an animated movie, 7 or 8 seconds long. Now, a leading Norwegian TV Station are involved with this, and if they like the movies they will be broadcast on national TV - the style of the TV channel reminds me of E4 in England (similar programmes and target audience)and they wanted kind of surprising or silly humour that would appeal to most people watching the channel.

Anyway, it's pretty self explanatory - and like I said this is an example - there is alot more to do.

The basic idea is a cosy, nicely lit shot of a desk and it pans in to focus on this notebook with doodles on - when it gets reall close they interact with each other (to put it nicely) Any comments or opinions on this idea would be most welcome!

I haven't posted much this week purely because I have been busy with this and other work, and I think I am going to be horribly busy until I come and visit! It's Friday night now, and I have't got too much planned for the weekend apart from work, hopefully going to the gym tomorrow, and hopefully seeing the 2 friends who live in this complex on Sunday.

On a side note, I was just beginning to come round to the cost of things here - I was thinking to myself something along the lines of 'hmm, actually if you know where to shop the prices aren't that much worse - you just have to be a bit clever about it!'
.....and then I went to pick up a tin of Heinz baked beans as I had a bit of a craving and they cost me £1.63. I wouldn't have bought them if I wasn't craving them so much!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

The After Effects of After Effects (27/87 days)

I have been very tired this week to the point that I spoke to my tutor about it at the KHiB (Kunsthøgskolen i Bergen) The last 3 nights now I have gone to bed pretty early (for me) usually around 11:15 - 11:30, and just lying there unable to sleep until around 3:00am. It is making me pretty tired to say the least (and it happened a bit last week too which I think is the reason I slept so long at the weekend) The weird thing is I feel really tired until I actually get into bed - and then WHAM - I am awake.

Its more annoying then anything - if it carried on a few more days I will have to try and find a doctor.

Anyway, I am not going to write about my school project right now (the task is to create a short animation in After Effects) and I am still researching and working my way through tutorials as I have never used the programme before (and I really want to learn it - the things you can do are amazing!) When I have some good solid ideas I will start writing about them but for now a big resounding "NO, not yet!"

Anyway - I am still really happy to be going home for a visit - already I have lots of arrangements so think I will be pretty busy - I am going to try not to make too many more though as I want to spend time with Hans (which is after all, my main reason for going home) It will be lovely to see others though - its actually helped me to have 2 dates on my calendar which I am focussing on (partly because my brain doesn't know which one to dwell on) though I guess it makes sense to just count down to the closest one for now!

My calendar - this is on the wall by my bed, and crossing the days
off is the last thing I do every night before I sleep;
the last thing I look at before the lights go out

I finally managed to speak to my tutor today about going home too, at first she looked a bit worried (yikes) but then we discussed the work I have doing outside of school for the PA Team and my brother Ryan (the RYCONS as I have dubbed them) and she said that it would be more than adequate for me to submit that work as an alternative 'module' for the 2 weeks I will miss.

On a different note, I have been a bit fed up with myself lately as I can't put my hand on my heart and say I have properly studied Norwegian since I have been here (apart from listening to it ALL day and speaking it more and more) Yes, I KNOW that accounts for something, but I just think (and Hans agrees) that if I study aswell, I will improve even faster. Hans suggested that I go to bed 15 mitues earlier each night and read my Norwegian course book - so now I feel more like I have been 'told' what to do then I will do it - I started last night in fact; Sue og Arne reiste til Oslo (to celebrate New Years together) I will try harder - I only have 3 months left so I have to really get stuck in now.

Oh and a nice image to leave you with;

This is another 'dirt' picture from my room - it is the window (the outside obviously - I have cleaned inside) It is going to take alot of cleaning if and when they finally get around to it, this is one of 3 windows in my apartment - and there are about 1300 apartments here at Fantoft...

Anyway - as promised early night - study Norwegian and continue with the really good (but harsh) book that Hannah sent me!

Goodnight xxx

The Precious Things (27 / 87 days)

Aw, my precious things! Sometimes the smallest things mean so much; these are a 'mini' bunch of flowers picked by Hans and given to me when we were at his mums, and some pine cones we collected together from our day out at the finnskogtoppen healthcentre.

They mean alot to me - we collected them together - at home i have dried all of the flowers he has bought me and kept them all too. Maybe I am slightly over the top though, as I noticed the last couple of times he has bought me a plant :)

Bless him xxx

Monday, 22 September 2008


After a discussion with Hans tonight we decided it would make more sense to visit myself rather than he coming here - IF I could find a cheap flight...

The advantages are I could stay for longer, I could see friends and family, I can see the hamsters, Hans wont have to book as much time off work, I get to chill out at home for a bit - WOW I am SO happy :-)

Anyway - I looked at flights as soon as I got off the phone (at the same time talking to Hannah on MSN) and I found some really cheap ones (£100 return!) The only problem was they flew to Gatwick which would have meant alot extra hassle travelling and also alot more expense - Hannah asked me what date it was and then her and her husband Phil offered to come and collect me! they are such good friends thank you so much!!!!! xxx

So for the fist time ever I booked my own flight and am planning to travel alone (first time for everything) I'm not worried though it'll be so worth it! So it's Tuesday 21st October I am back, leaving again on 31st so 10 days with my sweet angel and i get to see my nearest and dearest too :-) Also I think as afterwards there will only be 6 weeks left of this exchange so I will quite look forward to coming back (as I know already I will miss the place and the people)

I called Hans AFTER I had booked the flight to surprise him with the great news - he was a bit shocked that I had actually booked it I think, but really happy to and excited - then as an afterthought (but almost one of the first ones) he asked if I could make him his favourite mexican lasagne! Ha ha thant's my Hans - of course I will, I need to make sure my cooking skills are kept up to scratch.

Well this will answer my earlier problem, hopefully. I think apart from the usual stresses of daily life my extreme mood swings will be over as the biggest problem is when it felt like 3 longs months away, not a few short weeks. And now I have something almost directly in the middle I can look forward too!

I have marked it on my countdown calendar in a different colour - WOW, 28 days to go. I am so happy!!!!!!!!!!!!

xxx I love everyone xxx

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Norwegian Hospitality and Weekend Mountain Hikes

Saturday night at Marias was lovely (again) and another great experience of Norwegian hospitality, and of course - delicious Norsk food!

We started of the evening by all mucking in to prepare a salad, and when we finally sat down to eat we were treated to some leftover fish soup (fiske suppe, i think) I can't remember exactly what it was called but it was deliciously warm and spicy - and Maria's partner remarked that it was 'the fish dish for people who don't like fish'! The warm spices delicately overtook the usual strong taste of fish but in a good way - you could still taste fish of course but it was really well balanced with all of the other flavours.

I felt as usual a little awkward not being able to join in fully with everybody conversationally - I sometimes feel almost like a child at an adult dinner party - wanting so much to be a grown up but not at all understanding what the adults are saying! I think I must have been a little frustrated with it because I began talking more, but I am ashamed to say it was mostly in English. I am glad in a way I did though because I got to know everybody a little better, although inevitably I talked alot about Hans then! Everyone is so weet about it though, and seem to be interested in hearing all about him - I think the way I talk about him makes it so obvious to everyone that we are besotted - and it resulted in my hosts holding a toast for Hans; to 'absent friends'. Again it was a lovely gesture and I felt really touched.

There was alot of hassle getting home as Anita and I caught the last bus, and due to alot of drunken imbeciles all thrying to use the same bus we arrived into Sentrum late and I ended up getting a taxi home. This ended up setting me back 200 krone, but Anita absolutely insisted on paying half for it which was so sweet of her, so I need to think of a way I can pay her back!

I overslept on Sunday (again) and was awoken at 11:30 by a knock at the door - I finally woke up enough to put my dressing gown on and I opened the door to see Yvonne (another exchange student from Finland who is also living at Fantoft) started to walk away down the hall. She apologised for waking me (but trust me I was more embarrassed than she was for being so lazy!) and she informed me that she and our other friend (another Exchange student from Denmark) were planning on hiking to Løvstakken (one of the mountains near Fantoft) and would I like to come along??? I was just awake, and the idea of hiking really didn't appeal to me so I declined. Another time maybe. As soon as I had closed the door I knew that I would regret it, so I made myself a strong coffee and had some galaxy chocolate (that Rob had sent me) for breakfast and messaged Yvonne on Skype.. somewhat sheepishly enquiring; "erm, what time are you going?" I had about an hour before they were meeting, and I was still slightly in 2 minds, so I pondered the matter as I drank my coffee.

Of course I was going to go - I knew that I would really - I was just being typical Becky (very, very bad at last minute arrangements - I like to plan in advance wherever possible)

I am so glad I did - all in all I think we walked for about 4 hours (so not the longest hike in the world ever!) but it was pretty tough going and wow, was it worth it - the views from the top were absolutely breathtaking and it was a really nice day spent with 2 lovely people!

The lovely 'elvish' glenn we spied a little way up

Yvonne and Anne begin the climb - not very steep at this point!

Gorgeous view of the fjords from the top - though this does not do it justice

Beautiful view of the lake below - autumn is playing with the colours

Anne and myself (grinning like an idiot) at the top of Løvstakken

Yvonne surveying the world (well, Bergen)

Me, so happy to be at the top!

So all in all the weekend was lovely - we got back from our walk just after 5:00pm I think - we went back to our respective apartments for a shower (very sweaty - nice) and then all met up at Annes and made a broccoli, tuna and sweetcorn pie with salad and drank coffee, ate jelly men and some delicious cocnut biscuits. It really was great, and around 7:00 finally got back to my room feeling absolutely exhausted (in a good way) and in high spirits. I worked on the photos I had taken, spoke to a couple of friends on MSN, and then (the other absolute highlight of my day) I spoke to Hans for about an hour on Skype. Then I went to bed about 11:15 which is really early for me.

It would be great if it ended there (but unfortunately this is an honest account) so I have to say that I had an awful night - I have no idea why but I could not sleep at all. I decided to try reading the book that Hannah sent me for a while - that didn't work. At 1:00am I took 3 valerian tablets to no avail - and all the time I was feeling more and more depressed. It sounds so extreme now but I felt something close to despair, I wish I knew why - after such a good weekend and speaking to Hans and being in a relativly good mood I just crashed. About 1:30am the tears started and didn't stop for half an hour. I was so desperate I ddn't know what to do and what was making it worse was I was getting more and more agitated because I knew I had to be up early and focussed to start my new course. I ended up pouring a glass of wine and downing it in one, hoping it would help to knock me out. I lay back down in bed (and I feel so guilty about this now) I texted Hans to tell him that I was sad and couldn't stop crying and couldn't sleep. I'm sorry Hans. I know it can't be easy for him anyway, and it must make him feel pretty awful to get that text at stupid o'clock in the morning. Anyway the crying and the wine did their job and about 3:00 I finally drifted off to an uncomfortable sleep, nightmares (which I wont go into) and having to wake up at 06:45 to wash my hair...

What is worse than having a bad night is just the fact of having these mood swings - it is seriously doing my head is and making me so tired. One minute up, the next down - and often no obvious trigger. Maybe it is just the strain of all that's happened and being away from home. And I am SERIOUSLY starting to lose my patience with people who say it should be all fun, all a great experience, 'it's only a few months, what are you so bothered about?' Of course it bothers me - maybe it wouldn't bother some people but this is me, not you, and I will not deal with it the same way as you would handle a situation like this (or more to the point how you think you would handle a situation like this)

See, ranting AGAIN - What is wrong with me?