dear steve

I would like to thank Steve for allowing me into his home and letting me be part of something really special.

The last couple weeks have been an amazing experience. I was able to learn so much. From the stop motion animations, the sound recordings, and the video syncing. It all let me part of something creative and unique.

Highlights of the trip:

  • Any time spent down in the mine.
  • Highway coasting behind semis.
  • Rocking out with our voices in the car.
  • Dinner with Briggs.
  • Denison Tour.
  • Whit’s custard shop.
  • The cat gun.
  • Being able to perform in front of people in Philadelphia (albeit behind a computer).
  • Setting up and learning about the sound system.
  • Blogging.
  • Creating.

And the quote of the trip: “This is the Denison bridge, where many a student has tried to kill himself and failed.” - Steve (while pointing at 12-foot-high footbridge)


The day was busy as we were getting everything finalized and written for the final rehearsal tonight.

Sometime in the day we ate lunch at a Chinese fast foodish place. Everything is a blur before lunch. Mostly what I remember from the morning is: viola stand made, Ashley finished up arranging some songs, Steve finalized the last video patch, Tina finished editing all the final set lists…the amount of finished tasks goes on.

Aaron arrived early and he began to get everything programmed into the drum pad. Steve finished up sequencing a couple songs so we could start rehearsing them as he continued sequencing more songs.

We rehearsed the songs, and the captioning system.

More songs were rehearsed.

At around 9 pm, a complete, full, all the way through, run, was done. It was a bit sloppy in spots, mostly on scene changes and what not. But, overall, it went relatively smooth.

Another scene change run was done. Thoughts were inputted and changed.

A packing list is currently being made, while the morning plans are being scripted.

Car 1: Green Dodge Minivan (Ashley, Ryan, and almost all of the equipment) Estimated time of departure from Steve’s: 12:00 pm EDT Estimated time of arrival to Hotel: 8:00 pm EDT

Car 2: White Toyota Prius (Steve, Tina, Aaron and Beth) Estimated time of departure from Steve’s: 6:00 pm EDT Estimated time of arrival to Columbus Airport: 6:30 pm EDT Estimated time of arrival to Aaron’s: 8:00 pm EDT Estimated time of arrival at Hotel: 4:00 am EDT


Awakening was delayed as Ashley and I slept past the alarm.

I was greeted in the kitchen by Tina’s already-brewed coffee. She stated it might be too strong, but it was just what the doctor ordered.

Steve was busy sequencing and Tina was creating a book cover for one of our props. So, not being needed, Ashley and I headed to joannfabric to pick up some velcro to secure the Mac minis to the projectors. We chose the industrial version. A trip was also made to Kroger to pick up some bread and fortune cookies for props.

Upon returning, I practiced the subcaptioning, as Tina sang. Steve and Ashley were composing new songs at that time.

We finally recieved news back that we could not use a local outdoor ampitheater because they would not unlock the power outlets for us. The outlets were for “their” use only. We could still practice there, but no power…

Feeling dejected, Tina searched for new parks, and then we tried to go hunt them down. We succesfully found two, however neither park had power outlets in or near their covered shelter. The third alleged park is m.i.a.

We returned home with another sense of dejection. However, Ashley and Steve had both finished up with their two songs. So, in rejoice, we went to go practice them. They went well, some parts needed some adjusting too.

Aaron arrived and our drummer man was here. He set up, and we began rocking out. His drumming skills amazed me, mostly on how quick he could pick up the bassline for each song, and then learn it and memorize it.

A couple dry runs were done of the script. I got to practice video for each non-musical scene. Things went well.

Aaron brought his commodore 64 to generate sounds to be used during the performance.

Currently a midnight snack is being eaten. Whether work has ended for the night has yet to be discussed.



It marked the first day of rehearsals. Preparation was needed before we started.

Like any good morning, I awoke to the sounds of Robert’s voice downstairs. He had stopped by to drop off the projector mounts, the projector and the mac mini. He will be back later to drop off some 3chip cameras.

The mounts were still in their raw form, so Steve applied a layer of black spraypaint to cover them up. We also had to widen the mounting holes just a little because they were too close together. 4 1x2 wood pieces were cut to place between the projector and the projector mount in order to raise them up an inch. This allowed for the power plug to be plugged in. The wood pieces were painted and the mounts got another coat too. They were left to dry.

While inside, Ashley practiced and edited some of the music. Steve finished up adding closedcaptioning functionality to the video syncing software. All of our “popsongs” will have closed captioning running, which is controlled by me using a footpedal, one word at a time.

Tina arrived a little into the afternoon. She has been working on props/imagery/generalcoherence.

With the paint dry, the mounts+projectors+Macs were brought to the practice room and set up. It took a little work, but the two projectors finally lined up. My laptop was setup to control the two minis. Video set up was complete.

Steve started setting up the all the audio tech stuff. Mic checks were run, and then Steve showed us the wonders of a little black box he had. Turning the volume up, and starting to create some feedback, Steve pressed a button and the blackbox eliminated the feedback. This was done several times to different mics and at different volumes. Ear protection, consisting of two fingers, was worn.

We heard news that Aaron was not gonna to be able to make the rehearsal tonight, seeing how he had just drove back from a gig in Chicago, and he was feeling quite under the weather.

So, I stepped in, and we did another runthrough of the script. This time we were mic’d and it was recorded so we could play it back over and over, and grind the lines into our heads. After that, or maybe before it, we had some amazing pizza from Donatos.

I started to edit the newly recorded script while the musicians, Steve, Tina and Ashley started to rehearse a bit.

When I was done, we did a couple full-run-throughs of one of the songs with the video, subtitles, and music. It was quite hard for the first run to get the subtitles exactly right. But now I have the song memorized for the most part (only 6 run-throughs later) and it was getting easier at the end.

More video ideas were discussed for different scenes. Videos that were going to be mixed were added and saved for the different scenes.

Ashley and I threw in the towel and went to bed, while Tina and Steve continued discussing and finalizing video for scenes.


It is late; the day is blurred at the moment. I am sure the more I write the more I will remember, thus defeating the title of the post. However, I will divulge.

Steve, Ashley and I headed to Polaris Grill to meet up with Ashley and Steve’s Grandparents to celebrate their Grandma’s birthday. We had a lovely brunch buffet. As Ashley’s Grandma stated, “The variety here is good.” It was one of the best buffets I had dined upon. Gifts were exchanged, goodbyes were said, and we headed back to homebase.

A carwash was spotted on the way home. We decided to visit it after Steve went to get a haircut.

One of Fantastic Sam’s employees gave Steve a new postpunk hairdo. It is magnificent.

On the way home we pulled into the carwash station. Upon seeing the 6 car line to get an automatic carwash, we decided to use their manual station. With 8 quarters loaded into the coin acceptor, our 4 minutes started to tick down. Ashley applied the initial rinse, and then I applied the foaming soap. The foaming brush was steered around the car by Ashley as I waited to unleash the high-pressure rinse. I rinsed. Steve coated the car in a strange pink and orange substance, I rinsed with some other low-pressure rinse. A shiny coat was applied last. It was a very intense 4 minutes. Some spots were missed, but for a timed run, it was overall highly successful.

Upon returning I was given the privilege to edit all of the sound clips we had recorded in the last week. The main task was to edit the radio announcer parts. I enjoyed the work thoroughly. As I was editing and cutting, Ashley was hard at work composing a melody for one of the songs in the upcoming performance. Steve was finishing up the code to his newly updated video program syncing display-looping fading thingy. From what I remember from last year, the program has many new features. I am excited to be running it this year.

Tina arrived and helped finish up the newly reedited 4 person script. The chaos and/or devastation that hit last night seemed to be in the distant past. All things had returned to normal.

Steak ‘n Shake was visited again, on the grounds of a particular person craving a milk shake. I enjoyed my shake.

The basement was cleaned out, and a mock stage was set up. A character placement and blocking run was done on the new set. Most of the staging questions got sorted out.

We are currently waiting for Robert’s reappearance to the world to get One LCD Projector, One Mac Mini, and One Pair of Projector and Mac Mini Truss Mounts back from him for the upcoming rehearsals. We need them badly to set up and test the visuals. We do not want to be the creators of a headache-like feeling because our animations are too wickedly awesome for people’s brains to handle when overlapped with other wickedly awesome video.

The not so long post has became long as predicted so…

edit title :: “a not so quickiepost”.


The day started like any normal day, Steve hacking on stuff starting around 8am, waking us up at 9am (but us sleeping an additional hour or two).

Steve was hard at work, editing all the video we had created in the last week. Ashley and I headed down to the mine to finish up the last day of stopmotion. The goals were floam and kitchen utensil animations. With the creative ideas running thin, we slowly banged out a couple good animations involving floam, including an amazingly cool subatomic particle collision. The kitchen utensils, however, posed a greater problem, seeing how all we could really do was rotate or spin them. However, we managed to get some good footage. With that done, all stopmotion had been completed.

Tina arrived around 2 pm to work on music and other activities. Steve continued to edit video, while Tina practiced some of the singing parts in the performance. This was all being done while Ashley and I finished up the filming.

Feeling confident in the day’s tasks, we headed to Molly Woo’s to celebrate Ashley’s 20th birthday. The restaurant was built into the local mall, but do not let that take away from the value of it. The interior was decorated with red lanterns and an entire wall was dedicated to niches filled with vases. Very fancy. The food was good, however, for the price, it was a general consensus, that either there should have been a lot more of it, or that it should have been more creatively designed. But, overall, a very enjoyable experience.

A near fatal blow was dealt to Project Ruori upon returning from Ashley’s birthday dinner. Apparently, our keyboardist and lead actor, Max, found it was better for him to spend his time this week in Chicago. He allegedly has a very important piano lesson June 5th, 3 days after the performance, and he needs to practice for it. This topic will be left at that.

Now. Everything has screeched to a standstill. There are many possibilities to overcome this obstacle, however all are very time consuming. Most likely, at this time, the script is going to have to be rewritten for four characters, and the music is going to need a complete overhaul. Other outcomes are possible, but are becoming increasingly improbable as time moves forward.

Tina has headed home to start work on a 4-person rewrite.

Luckily I have blind faith in Steve, Tina, and Ashley’s creative abilities to make this happen.

Also, if one happens to be in the Columbus area, and then, perchance, is able to play the piano and have some kind of acting abilities, do leave us a comment or something.

hot glue.

A target time of 9 am was set for waking up this morning. However, little did Steve know he was waging a war against Earth’s rotation. Ashley and I have yet to conform to EDT, and if all goes as planned, we never shall. Anyways, Ashley and I woke up at 9 am MDT with the help of Steve.

A brief breakfast consisting of cereal solved all early morning hungers. Steve then ventured back to the tunnel to continue composing music. I did the dishes, so I could enjoy some coffee in my $1 travel mug. Ashley set up the arts and crafts center to create.

Seacreatures were fashioned out of pipecleaners, fuzzballs, wiggley eyes, and hot glue. 6 fishes, 1 octupus, 1 seaurchin, and aquatic plant life were created in the safety of Steve’s livingroom. The underwater scenes had to be put on hold, as the image capturing device was transfering audio+video via firewire to a mac. This gave us time to set up the tri-planer aquatic set in the mine. The tri-planes consist of a background, foreground and “action plane.” It is quite exciting.

3 bowls of soup, 3 ears of oven baked corn, and 2 plates of ribs were had for lunch, along with 2 glasses of creamsoda and 1 glass of rootbeer to help the medicine go down.

The lunch time allowed for the video+sound transferring procedure to end. The camera was carefully lowered to the mine. With the camera in place (yet again artfully set up by Steve) the fish animations began. Forground and backround scenes were filmed first. Then the action plane was put into use as seacreatures were filmed swimming in their natural habitat.

Tina arived shortly into the fish animations and this is when everyone got to hear the music for the upcoming performance. Tina and Steve discussed the music while Ashley and I continued filming.

6 pm arrived, and it was time to venture into the daylight to Denison University. The mission was to meet up with Mr. Matt Briggs and Aaron Fuleki for dinner, then a movie. Aaron could not make dinner as he already had dinner plans, however Matt Briggs and his girlfriend Jessie were able to make it. We ate at Creno’s Pizza. It was delicious and the dinner conversation was phenominal. Plans were made to pass an hour of extra time at Whit’s Custard shop. Steve promised the most delicious custard, and the shop came through. With dessert over, we headed towards Heath to catch the 9:45 movie showing of DaVinci Code. We got stood up by Briggs and girlfriend, so we decided not to see the movie but to meet up with Aaron instead.

Aaron’s house was finally found after missing a left turn. We were greeted at the door by Aaron himself and his two cats. Introductions were made, and we got comfortable on the couches. Aaron and Steve went off to side room to investigate what type of equipment Aaron should bring for the performance. In the meantime we met Aaron’s wife Megan who told us a funny story about cloth awnings. Once equipment selections were made, and no other plans were created, we watched Aaron play with his cats. It was quite entertaining. The best was “cat gun.” In this game, Aaron picks up one of his cats and pretends it is a gun. The funniest part, was the absolute hilarity of how pissed off the cat got at the game. The next best game was cat fishing. In this game, Aaron used a toy fishing pole to cast a toy mouse off into the distance, then reeling it in with the cats chasing it. This game lasted a good 30 minutes. It never got old.

Eventually we decided it was time to head home. The trip home was short and interlaced with conversation. With not enough time left in the day, no other activities were conducted.

fifty miles per gallon.

The day started early, as a trek up northish was needed to meet up with Ashley and Steve’s Grandparents for an outletmall shopping extravaganza located in Lodi. It was a two-for-one trip as Steve needed to make recordings of Grandpa as the “radio announcer,” and Ashley needed to shop with Grandma. I was there mainly for the ride and the food.

After the two-for-one special we enjoyed a magnificent breakfastlunchdinner meal at Bob Evans. With food, shopping, and recording done, we could focus on the main task: getting the Prius to average 50 mpg. It was in quite a hole from city driving the couple days before the reset. With Steve masterfully drafting behind semis and the Synergy drive performing, our goal of 50 mpg was exceeded by 2 mpg by the time we neared Polaris Parkway. It was magnificent; unfortunately, the visual proof ended up blurry. So, take my word for it.

With the newly-acquired teapot from Grandma, some sound and video recordings could now be realized. Since the teapot required an external heat source, like the one before, we chose the location of the kitchen to record. The new teapot whistled like a champion; the sound was recorded; the video was captured; and two microphones were melted (not really, but pretty close).

After the recordings, Ashley and I were sent out on some errands so Steve could get to work on finishing the score. Ashley and I visited the post office to mail a TACWB DVD to a victim fan in an undisclosed location. After the post office, we headed back to Meijer to purchase gummibears, milk and 6 stalks of corn. From there we proceeded to DSW to spend a $5 coupon Ashley received in the mail. Of all the shoes, we settled on 3 pairs of socks. Costing her $2.70.

2 hours later, Steve was found hard at work in the Project Ruori studios. However, he was needed to help set Ashley up with a computer and keyboard for sonata recording purposes.

An abridged version of Ashley’s sonata was recorded. During the recording process, Steve headed back to the tunnel (next to the animation mine) to continue working on the score. I sat idly by.

Donatos was visited when a break in the music action was needed. A pepperoni and pineapple pizza was eaten, along with 6 breadsticks.

Steve is continuing work on the music.

Rehearsals start in 3 days.

Also, very few pictures were taken today. Hopefully the sparse collection of picures captured on my camera will help in the visual department.


Today’s work was crammed into a small amount of time. Other tasks had to be done first:

(List A.)

  1. Obtain Teakettle
  2. Obtain Grandma’s Birthdaypresent
  3. Food

An attempt was made at the PolarisFashionPlace to solve task A2. Steve brought the camera for sights and sounds. No luck was to be had solving task A2. However, we did manage to get kicked out of the Pottery Barn Kids, while filming a toy cashregister. Gesturing at the camera we were told, “We can’t have those in our store,” while another employee stated, “No, really, that’s okay… They aren’t really…” But we left it at that.

We returned to homebase to ascertain the location of a goodwill to complete task A1. The closest Goodwill appeared to be quite a trek so we headed out to avoid rushhour upon returning. We traveled to the location in question. However, upon reaching the stripmall additional tasks were realized:

(List B.)

  1. Obtain goods from the DollarTree
  2. Obtain goods from the BigLots
  3. Get clarinet reeds from guitar center

Tasks B1. and B2. were completed successfully. I obtained two new traveler coffee mugs for a dollar each. Other supplies were purchased too: Aluminumfoil, Gummibears, 3-liter Carbonatedbeverages, Trashbags, and cookies. Task B3. was a bust. Apparently no woodwinds or the supplies that accompany woodwinds are sold at “guitar” center.

Finally, Goodwill was entered. Teapots were located in the back left sections of the store. There were two teapots, one was self-heating, the other required an external heatsource. We choose the latter of the two. Task A1. was completed – or so we thought. Two additional items were found at the Goodwill: A clockradio (whose plug is currently stuck into an outlet in Steve’s kitchen despite all efforts to remove it), and some cool vintage records.

Task A3. was solved simply: Steak ‘n Shake. It was scrumptious.

Later in the day, after Steak ‘n Shake, it was determined that task A1 was not completed: the whistle on the teakettle failed to produce a sound when tested. Two dollars were wasted.

Additionaly task A2 was completed at a different time in the day at World Market.

Now that all the tasks were completed, the primary objective of the day could be completed: water. Sound and video needed to be captured. The sound of dripping water on metal was captured in the comfort of the extra bedroom. All external sounds were silenced, as drops of water were dropped on to different types of metal. Two mics picked up a wonderful subset of the incoming waves.

Next was the video of water. The bathroom was the most logical place to capture the water in one of its natural habitats. Various clips of filling the sink were taken. The audio was also recorded; all spectators were silent. Water was then run down the mirror for video capturing. Steve framed each shot, while Ashley and I prepared the dropmaking apparata. After that, more inspiration came, and water was run off many more glasslike objects.

Steve is currently transferring all the video off to a Mac. Results are pending.

The primary objective, and 2 out of 3 of the secondary objectives had been complted for the day. Still-photo images were taken of the primary objective to demonstrate that it had happened.

Would you please close all the windows and pull the drapes. I don’t like the lights. I don’t like the draft… And if you can prevail upon that raggedy-ann carcass of yours to exert itself, I’d like a cup of hot chocolate in my bone china!


The day was started late due to sleeping in.

Eggs were purchased from Kroger in order to make blueberry muffins (in reality they were streusels, but what’s the difference?). The muffins were eaten on the back porch. Everyone enjoyed them.

Down to the mine. Today was multiplane animation day. This time Ashley and I brought down two sheets of glass, stolen from Steve’s bookshelves. These were used to create the animation surfaces for the cereal sessions. Steve artfully placed the camera and the lighting for the animation. The rest was up to Ashley and me. With the proverbial creative juices flowing we very very slowly moved each piece of cereal around to form delightful scenes, including but not limited to: cereal fireworks, cereal squaredance, cereal swarms, and a cereal chase sequence.

As Ashley and I animated, Steve was hard at work trying to finish up the score.

The day quickly ran out of light and dinnertime began at 11pm. I had been waiting in anticipation all day for the worldfamous pizzamuffinthings by Steve. His techniques cannot be divulged on this public forum. However, the results were indeed very satisfying.

Robert then stopped by to take some measurements to build the custom LCD Projector/Mac Mini mounts for the wondrous Double Projector Tree.

Down to the mine again. This time the animations were fast, yet detailed. Heavy eyelids became a factor, so Ashley and I had to retire.

Sadly, I do not think the day’s goal of 100 stillphotos to prove the day existed was met. But, I do believe quality over quantity did prevail.


Today revolved around food. It started with Steve giving us directions to a McDonalds in hope of satisfying the early morning hunger of Ashley and me. We made it just in time to get the last two hashbrowns made before breakfast was over.

After picking Tina up we ventured back to Steve’s, making sure to stay inside the circle – i.e., I-270. We made it back safe and sound.

Ashley and I were assigned to do some more animation. With food on our mind we headed to the kitchen for inspiration. It was found in the form of tongs, a pizza cutter, and a cheese grater. With our props in hand we headed down the shafts to the animation mines to invent. The clips today were a lot cleaner than the midnight session last night, and my thumb even made a guest appearance, despite the warnings that it shouldn’t. No grapes were harmed in the filming of our clips, however the pizza did not survive intact.

A much-needed nap was then taken.

Upon awakening, it was dinnertime. We ventured out to Ming Flower for some delicious Chinese delicacies. Leftovers are waiting for us in the fridge. Back to homebase. Cookies and Milk were had by all (including Radcliffe who showed up for dinner, too).

Steve, Tina, Ashley and I did a prelimanary reading of the script. Moods and acting styles were discussed for each scene, along with timing. My creativeness does not expand into the world of acting, I will leave it to the professionals – i.e., the other three.

It is time to sleep, because the quicker I go to sleep, the faster blueberry muffins will come in the morning.