The Midwest: kind of interesting, actually

It turns out my Moms is a good photographer. All those years growing up it was my Dad who carried cameras everywhere, built a darkroom in the basement, walked around in a khaki vest stuffed with oversized lenses… but last year my Moms decides to get a digital camera, and the next thing you know she’s sweeping all the awards at my Dad’s camera club competitions. Here’s why.

My parental units still live in Urbana, IL. As my sister once said, “I’m glad I grew up in Central Illinois, otherwise I never would have seen it.”

Speaking of my hometown, I recently read Finding Iris Chang by Paula Kamen. Iris Chang was also

Continue reading The Midwest: kind of interesting, actually

Got Accent?

We need some VOICE EXTRAS for a last-minute crowd recording for Sita Sings the Blues. If you’ve got an authentic accent from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, or anywhere else in South Asia, or even Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia or Indonesia (all of which have Ramayana traditions) and can come to a recording studio in Manhattan this Thursday Dec. 20 around 7pm, please email ASAP. No $, but you’ll get a credit in the film. nina underscore paley at yahoo (dot com).

We need some VOICE EXTRAS for a last-minute crowd recording for Sita Sings the Blues. If you’ve got an authentic accent from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, or

Continue reading Got Accent?

Render Unto D-Cinema

So I haven’t raised enough money to make a 35mm film print (yet). But I did raise enough to make a Digital Cinema Package, because the Stuttgart International Animation Festival offered a deal. And I borrowed enough to buy a new computer to re-render the entire 82-minute feature at a suitable higher resolution.

See, when I started Sita Sings the Blues, I couldn’t afford the processor power or disk space to work at the ideal resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels. Instead I compromised at 1280 x 720 pixels, which in spite of being half the ideal resolution looks almost as good. The 35mm film test I did of Battle of Lanka looks

Continue reading Render Unto D-Cinema

“Depression Is Fun” Blowganza!*

Update: all 10 copies are now sold or spoken for.

When I recently visited San Francisco, my best friend Ian picked up the last of my boxes stored at the old apartment I once shared with my ex-husband. Riffling through the contents I discovered a treasure-trove of still shrink-wrapped copies of my first book, Depression Is Fun. This has been out-of-print almost since its publication in 1992. But now I have 10 copies here in New York, and they’re on sale for $25 postpaid (and signed, if you want) each. These puppies are going for $30, $50, and – holy crap! – almost $90 online as “collectibles.” As always, my email

Continue reading “Depression Is Fun” Blowganza!*

Meet Agni

One of the most frequent questions I hear about Sita Sings the Blues – from desis, no less – is “Who is that red dude on the goat? Is that Satan?”

This is Agni, people. The Vedic god of fire! God of priests and Priest of Gods! I know he’s not worshipped much these days, but he was a big deal back in Valmiki’s time. When Sita enters the fire, Agni carries her right back out, unscathed.

Agni’s vehicle is the ram. I screwed up by putting him on a male goat, rather than a male sheep, which I learned is what a ram is while researching this post. Oops. Although he’s sometimes

Continue reading Meet Agni

Buy my Mac G5!

Update: SOLD! 12-9-07

Sure, there are lots of used dual 1.8GB G5 Towers with 2GB RAM and internal 80GB hard drives for sale at $800 (negotiable). But how many were used to make Sita Sings the Blues? Only this one. Also, it works good. I’m only upgrading because I have to re-render the entire film at higher resolution (1920 x 1080; it was 1280 x 720) and patience isn’t one of my virtues. I can also throw in a complete Final Cut Pro HD Production Suite, which is great except it won’t open fcp files made on newer Final Cut systems. No problem if you’re working alone. And I’m still hawking

Continue reading Buy my Mac G5!

Links for Lunch – Science Edition

An ongoing feature in which I recommend the work and websites of people who buy me lunch. Today’s entry: The Purugganan Lab!

What does animation have to do with genetic biology? Lunch! Yesterday I was treated to pizza at Otto by not only friend and NYU Professor Michael Purugganan, but also a bunch of Postdoctoral Fellows, Graduate Students, and Technicians who are exploring the The Molecular Evolutionary Ecology of Plant Development, among other genetic biology type things.

Before lunch I got to visit the Purugganan lab itself!

It sure looks science-y, doesn’t it?

I learned some important science things, such as in Europe you can’t just go planting genetically modified plants willy-nilly like we do

Continue reading Links for Lunch – Science Edition

Eats For Endorsement – San Francisco Edition

An ongoing feature in which I recommend the work and websites of people who buy me dinner. Today’s entry: Amandeep Jawa!

Amandeep Jawa says he’s “gregarious,” which I learned, in the few hours I got to know him, is an understatement. As we walked through Deepistan – a neighborhood comprising both Dosa, where he bought me dinner, and Bi-Rite Creamery, where I could only sample tastes lest I explode – random passersby paid their respects to their unofficial mayor. Or is that Supreme Dictator? Rumor has it part of the region may split off and re-name itself Amandesh. You can keep abreast of Deep’s political activities here, and his gregariating (new word!

Continue reading Eats For Endorsement – San Francisco Edition

Thank You Bay Area!

Oh my I had a wonderful time in my former stomping grounds, the San Francisco Bay Area. Many friends attended the Sita Sings the Blues preview and responded most enthusiastically. I saw beloved old friends, made some new ones, and ate the most delicious food on Earth. More to come – but for now, I just want to say Thank You.

Oh my I had a wonderful time in my former stomping grounds, the San Francisco Bay Area. Many friends attended the Sita Sings the Blues preview and responded

Continue reading Thank You Bay Area!