Wednesday, August 29, 2012

TV Animation Writing 101 - Intro To Lesson One

The time has come, dear reader of Froynlaven, for me to pass the baton to a younger generation; a generation that yearns to write in that most noble field of TV Animation. Why they yearn to do that is unknown to me. People's yearnings are very personal. I think Virgil expressed it best when he wrote, "I yearn. You yearn. We all yearn for something." (Interestingly, it was Horace Lombash who, while working in the marketing department of the Des Moines Creamery in 1893,  modified Virgil's immutable words to 'I scream. You scream. We all scream for Ice Cream.' Lombash's popular saying helped ice cream sales to skyrocket. By 1894, the Des Moines Creamery was the largest manufacturer of Ice Cream in the Northern Hemisphere. Sadly, in 1895, a rabid beaver attacked the Des Moines plant, leading to the death of most of the creamery's workers. Horace Lombash was spared, but never worked in ice cream again. He disappeared. 10 years later he resurfaced as First Lady of Bolivia.)

And so, I bid a fond adieu to writing TV Animation. It has been interesting, sometimes fun, and incredibly lucrative. I've been able to purchase three homes, five private jets and a wide array of personal, exotic luxury watercraft. Not to mention a Panda called, Xia Lu, which lives in my sprawling back yard behind an electrified pen. (Pandas are very cute. But I've learned the hard way; DON'T THROW BANANAS AT THEM.)

And please...fear not. I am not retiring. I am simply shifting my focus to different writing endeavors. I shall hopefully be able to talk about said endeavors some time in November. 

Anyway, I think it's only fair that I at least attempt to teach some of what I know about writing TV Animation to whoever is interested. Lessons will begin tomorrow. I will teach you what I was taught on my first day at Warner Brothers Animation. It's a style of writing TV Animation that I think you'll find interesting. It's also really useful.

My course is free. Because I am incredibly rich and can afford it.

Join me tomorrow for Lesson One.

Monday, August 6, 2012

And THAT'S How You Land A Rover On Mars!!!

Forgive me for a moment while I geek out and make a total fool of myself.


A photo taken my the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which shows Curiosity hanging from its supersonic parachute as it drops toward the surface of Mars.
Had you been at the Rugg homestead last night at around 10:31 PM, those are noises you would have heard me make as we watched the newest Mars rover, Curiosity, triumphantly touch down on Mr. Bradbury's wonderfully red planet. (I'm not entirely sure what SNNNNNNERBY means. But it's a good noise. A happy noise.)

Long-time readers of this inestimable blog are well aware by now that I'm a bit of a fanatic about aviation and space. I am, as my wife informed me, a "Rover Hugger". That's a term she found on the internet that describes people like me who avidly follow the comings and going of those plucky little robots on Mars.

Had I not been one of St. Viator Elementary School's "worst students of all time" and unable to tie my shoes  until I was 17, there's a good chance I would have been a brilliant engineer that made cool Mars rovers. However, as one of St. Viator Elementary School's worst students of all time and unable to tie my shoes until I was 17, there was little I could do except for TV Animation.  (On a side note, I recently  came across a letter written to my parents by my 8th grade teacher which stated, "We feel Paul will need constant care throughout his adult years. Please plan accordingly. We can recommend a number of wonderful group homes.")


Curiosity is safely down on the surface of Mars and the whole thing couldn't have been more exciting. Seriously. If you don't believe me, then please take the next 5 minutes to watch what it had to go through.

I hope you watched that and didn't just pretend to watch that because it's really cool. And if you did just pretended to watch it, but are now feeling somewhat sheepish and slightly curious, go ahead and watch it now. Go ahead. Don't be shy. We'll all wait.

Pretty awesome, right? So there we were last night watching all of this live. In the weeks leading up to the landing I had forced my family to watch the above video countless times. (That's the video I asked you to watch and you did. Right? If you didn't. Do it now. There's still time. Seriously. Don't be ashamed. Just do it.) So, having watched the video, we all knew the various things that had to happen as the rover made it's way down. Luckily my family got into it and you would have thought it was the superbowl. When we heard that the parachute had deployed, we clapped. We we heard the heat shield had come off we clapped. When we heard the rockets had fired for powered flight, we cheered. When the sky crane started doing it's thing...I think that's when I made my SNERRRRRBY sound. And when Curiosity said it had arrived, I jumped up and down. Cuz it's cool. And there aren't enough cool things happening today.

Thanks to the rock star engineers and scientists at JPL for putting some cool back into the world. It needed it.

Now if you'll excuse me, we're going out and I need my wife to tie my shoes.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Why I Left Facebook

Because it creeps me out. Okay?

As our ability to communicate has become easier, the quality of our communication has become lamer.

Here's the deal: Let's say it's 170 years ago. Let's say I live in Boston. Let's say I'm a book furrier or something. I don't know what a book furrier is, but let's both pretend it's something people did in Boston 170 years ago. Maybe it's something where a skilled craftsman uses beaver pelts to bind books. Why someone would use a beaver pelt to bind a book rather than leather I cannot say. Maybe rich people wanted it. Maybe it was a fad. Maybe in my heart I wanted to use leather, but made a lot more money by using Beaver pelts. So it's not necessarily something I liked doing, but I had to keep my customers happy. And those customer liked reading books lined with lush beaver fur. Anyway, I feel like we're getting off the topic.

So, I'm this book furrier and I live in Boston and it's 170 years ago. My good friend, Simon, who was also a book furrier, decided to leave the book furrier business (because it got to be too much for him) and move with his family to California. (I don't know what it was about being a book furrier that would have been too much for him. Maybe he just got burnt out on the whole thing. Maybe a customer wanted Simon to bind a book with a live beaver and Simon was against it. But the customer said, "I'll pay 1000 Boston Dollars if you bind a book with a live beaver." And Simon knew that 1000 dollars was a lot of money back then. So he took a live beaver and wrapped it around a book using beaver glue and gave it to the customer. The customer was delighted. But Simon would stay up nights thinking about that live beaver glued to a book put away high on a shelf in the rich customer's fancy Boston library. What did the beaver do to deserve such a thing. Glued to a book. Unable to move. Hoping someone would take it off the shelf. But these folks weren't real readers. They just liked having books to show how fancy they were. And what's fancier than a book bound with a living beaver? That poor beaver.)

So Simon headed west with his family and decided to become a gravel maker. Again, not sure what that is, but that's not the point.

So, it's 170 years ago. I live in Boston. I'm a Book Furrier. My best friend, Simon, used to be a book furrier, too, but gave up the business and moved with his family to Owen's Valley in California where he is now a gravel maker. And his wife has a wooden leg. I forgot to add that.

Anyway, this is all leading up to why I left Facebook.

It's 170 years ago. I live in Boston. I'm a book Furrier. My best friend, Simon, used to be a book furrier, too, but gave up the business and moved with his family to Owen's Valley in California where he is a now a gravel maker and his wife has a wooden leg. It's been 2 years since we've seen each other and I decide it was high time to write him a letter.

170 years ago, the postage for letters from Boston to Owen's Valley in California could cost upwards of $50,000. That was a lot of money back then. So, I'd have to make darn sure that what I wrote in my letter to Simon was worth it. Plus, letters took close to 10 years to be delivered. Not to mention another 10 years to get a reply. That's close to 20 years between correspondence. So I can pretty much guarantee that my letter to Simon would not be:

Dear Simon,

Here's a picture I took of my morning waffle.

Best Regards,


PS. Please send this letter to as many people as you know.

No. My letter would probably have been something more like:

Dear Simon,

I hope my letter finds you well. Myrna has consumption. Doctor Harvey bled her this morning. She feels better but looks terrible. Detrimina, our youngest, still has not returned from her walk through South Boston. It has been almost six months and we are beginning to think she got lost. Three year-olds are quite a burden to one's temperament. A heavy thrashing awaits her. 

Donna has an infection of some sort. No doubt Doctor Harvey will have to bleed her. I don't know what we'd do without Doctor Harvey and his bleeding tool. He is a blessing to us. I often wonder what medicine was like in the old days before bleeding was discovered. Donna can't abide leaches and monkeys give her a fright. (As you well know!) Remember that time? With the monkey? Fits of laughter still seize my rectum upon thoughts of that day! 

Michael, my eldest, has expressed an interest in the book furrier trade. He is now 5 and it's about time he helped support the family. I am close to 30 and can't keep the pace I used to. 

I did as you requested in your last letter. I gave the beaver water and took it off the shelf for a spell. I tend to agree with your assumption that it has been ages since anyone has read it. Mrs. Meetson allowed me to take it back to the shop for some much-needed re-gluing. How it has survived this long, I cannot say. Although a few books on the shelf nearby have been chewed through. 

I have a new batch of regimental ointment. Bartholomew Cruttle impressed upon me the importance of keeping father's ointment available for those in need. I am hoping to offset the enormous costs involved in the ointment's manufacture by selling Donna.

And what of your family? How are they faring? Is it true, as we have read in the Boston papers, that there is a large man-beast known as a 'Cruddite' which roams California in a manner akin to a whale and yet is not a whale for it is on land? When I read this to the family, they recoiled in shock.

Alas, I must end for now. Ink has become scarce since John Tyler has become our president. I don't know why this is. That said, I am sure history will remember him as one of our finest presidents. I can imagine a time, 170 years hence, when all children will know John Tyler and his great deeds. All manner of honor and praise will be afforded John Tyler. His name shall be spoken at the top of the list of names that are spoken where great names are spoken.

Give my best to Cynthia and her leg.

Best Regards,


PS. I am currently the chairman of 'Citizens of Boston For The Re-election of John Tyler'. Perhaps you would consider making a donation to this fine president. I could get him to write you a letter of thanks. Should California ever become a state, rest assured John Tyler would stomp out your horrid Cruddite problem. 

I hope that all explains why I left Facebook.