Thursday, December 29, 2005

Update on Life in Jaco-Land

Well, it's been a while since I've made a real update here. I've been keeping busy with the cartoon and all the various holiday activities.

It's hard to believe Christmas has already come and gone. The weeks before and after were filled with shopping and visits from friends. It was strange this year, a sudden heatwave hit and melted all the snow, leaving us with a green Christmas instead of a white one. Aside from that, my Christmas was really nice. Santa was very good to me, bringing me lots of additions to my DVD collection, a couple books, shirts, and an awesome new webcam. After presents, we headed over to Grandma's and visited with everyone. It was an enjoyable day, I hope it was for anyone reading this too.

In other news, after three months of working, my work on the animated short wrapped up this past Friday! Larry's now doing his thing with the footage and editing it into its final form. It should be online soon, I'll keep you updated.

It feels strange to be finished animating. There's that feeling of "Well, what am I supposed to do now?" My work's done, but my excitement's just started. I'm so eager to see the finished product and I'm really curious to see what kind of reaction it'll get on the net.

I'm pumped, baby!

More updates will be coming soon and hopefully more projects in the new year. For now, I'll leave you with the poster for the short. Enjoy!

Image hosted by

Thursday, November 10, 2005 Year One

Wow, it's already the One Year Anniversary of! One year since I decided to do something with the web address Corey got me for my 22nd birthday.
In one year I've thrown together 67 reviews, 59 blog entries, and 11 "Ask Jacob" replies. Okay, seriously, we need more Ask Jacob participants, ya lazy bums! In all honesty, I can't believe I've already typed up that much stuff for the site, especially since I tend to go a while without updating sometimes. It's amazing how many interesting...characters...I've gotten emails from because of the site. I've even received a message from another Jacob Drake out there!
I've had a blast so far and I just want to take this time to thank some people.

  • Corey- Thanks for buying that url and making me keep being creative. You continue to be "da man," even all the way from Oregon.

  • My family and friends- Thanks for keeping thing interesting and joining me on the various adventures and misadventures I end up blogging about (and the ones I don't).

  • All visitors to the site- Though few you may be, knowing that somebody's out there reading keeps this fun for me, I'll do my by best to keep it fun for you too.

And of course...

  • Jenny- Without you, this site wouldn't be much of anything at all. I may type this stuff up, but you do all the tough stuff and for that I'm grateful. You're the best!

Year one was fun and I expect even more excitement with projects and what not over the next year, so thanks again and stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"Sometimes I Need a Revelation..."

October 21st, 2005

It was a drizzly Friday night in northeastern Ohio. Bridget drove all the way from Bowling Green to join me for the concert that night. The Frames were playing at the Beachland Ballroom and I couldn't wait.

Early last year I saw Damien Rice in concert and the opening act was The Frames, some band I had never heard of before. It didn't take me long to become a fan of these guys, they blew me away that night. Since then, I've been tracking down whatever CDs of theirs I could find and anticipating the day they'd play in Cleveland again.

Upon arrival at the Beachland Ballroom, I was met with a 5-6 inch curb in front of the door. Kris and the guy at the door lifted my chair with surprising ease and I was on my way. Bridget and I headed into the tiny ballroom and made our way right up to the front of the stage.

The first act was Josh Ritter. It seemed that the majority of the crowd was there for him. He seems to have a decent fan base around here, which makes sense since he started his musical career at semi-local Oberlin College. To top it off, it was also his birthday!

Josh took to the stage in a snazzy outfit, complete with long coattails, and the show began. Strumming away in his folk style, he definitely had a bit of a Bob Dylan thing going on. He was a bit mellow, but I enjoyed it. Stand out songs for me were Harrisburg and Thin Blue Flame, which gets better every time I hear it.

In between acts, the crowd seemed to thin a bit. It kind of annoyed me that people weren't even giving this great band a chance, but hey, better view of the stage for me!

After a brief intermission, The Frames took the stage, opening with Keepsake, an incredible song that starts off quietly and consistently builds.

From then on out, it was an electrifying show. Frontman Glen Hansard frequently interacts with the crowd and shares little stories laced with that Irish humor I love so much.

He quickly tossed aside the humor and showed a fire in his eyes as he performed such intense songs as Finally, Revelate, and the heartbreaking and fantastic What Happens When the Heart Just Stops.

He plays so hard at times it's like the music's being channeled through his body in convulsive bursts.

The mood lightened again as he made the crowd sing along to the violin solo of Pavement Tune for at least three minutes straight.

Josh Ritter returned joined the band for the encore, a great end to a phenominal show.

The Frames played all my favorites except the one I was hoping to hear most of all, Fitzcarraldo, my absolute favorite song of theirs. I can't really complain though, as the show was so incredible. I think they made fans out of everyone who wasn't already one that night, or at least I hope so.

As we left, Bridget stopped at the merchandise table and bought herself a copy of Josh Ritter's CD, Golden Age of Radio. She also bought The Frames' For the Birds for me in exchange for me buying her ticket. I had been looking for that CD for a while. Thanks Bridget, you're too sweet!

In closing, The Frames are such an excellent band. Do yourself a favor and buy their live CD, Set List, and any others you can find.

Monday, October 17, 2005

"I'll Be Waving My Hand..."

Yeah, this one's a little late...

October 1st, 2005

The tickets said the show started at 8:00. It was 8:30 and we were just leaving the house. A laughing fit started by Kris led to an oddly hilarious coughing fit on my part that put us way behind schedule.

We got to the Agora around 9:00 and pulled around back where I normally go in. As we pulled up in the van, the parking lot attendant leaned in and asked "Are you with the band?" I'll admit, I was tempted to say "Yep!" and see what happened, but I wasn't feeling especially daring. He directed us around front and led us inside.

After waiting for a few minutes, someone came and led us to a table in the back of the venue. The first opening act, Pedestrian, had already finished and the second act, Danko Jones, was already well into his set. Not really my style and he seemed to be his own biggest fan, but he was okay.

Our table had a surprisingly good view, but it would quickly vanish as the crowd grew. That's exactly what began to happen after Danko finished. One guy in front of us assured us he'd keep the area in front of us clear, but the combined effects of the alcohol in his system and the massive amount of people proved to be unbeatable factors.

Shortly after 10:00, Our Lady Peace hit the stage, opening with "Picture," from their latest album, Healthy in Paranoid Times. They sounded great, but lights and backs were all I could see.

"Starseed" was awesome, but the view was frustrating, so Mom went to see if anyone could help us out. Five minutes later, as the band started playing "Al Genina," we were on the move.

A quick trip through a few doors and an alley and we were in the opera box, just feet away from the stage. A perfect view.

Raine and the guys were playing their hearts out and giving their all. They were also very interactive with the audience, something I love in a concert. Raine hopped out on top of the barrier in front of the stage, security guards and fans held him up as he sang "World On A String." Later, he called a couple girls up on stage and let them sit there because they didn't look like they were having a good time.

For "4 AM," Raine turned the microphone around and let the crowd sing the first half of the song as he strummed his acoustic guitar.

Towards the end of the show, my concert experience was complete when a beer fell from the balcony above and soaked my feet. Totally unexpected and pretty funny.

They closed with "Naveed" and were gone.

It was such a great show. I've seen Our Lady Peace twice now and they never disappoint. This was easily the loudest concert I've ever been to. My clothes were actually moving from the vibrations whenever the bass kicked in, it was wild.

Definitely a fantastic night, I look forward to seeing them again next time they're in town.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Here We Go!

Guys and gals, I'm excited and proud to announce that I've just joined a brand new project. Indie filmmaker Larry Longstreth has asked me to animate a short he wrote. I read and loved the script and didn't want to be responsible for messing it up. I took a week to whip up some test footage to see if I can do what he wants. I showed it to him tonight, to my surprise and delight, Larry and his crew loved it! So, I'm in and I'm pumped! This is gonna be good.
Go check out some of their past work.
Zombies In My Neighborhood
The Eyeball Papercuts
I'm so pumped.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Niagara Falls 2005: Day IV

When I woke up, Mom and Kris were already hard at work packing.

Checkout was at noon, so we had to be ready. In a total reversal of how things normally go with us, we were actually ahead of schedule, so we decided to get a bite to eat before hitting the road.

We heard they had some kind of breakfast deal going on, so we headed across the street to Tony Roma's again. Eggs and orange juice really hit the spot. A nice bonus was their choice of music. Everything they played was something I liked. Imagine my excitement when they actually played The Corrs. It was a lovely little surprise and a great nod to last year's adventure.

Grinning as "Forgiven, Not Forgotten" plays

An unexpected source of amusement was actually our waiter. Picture, if you will, Moby. Now imagine Moby to somehow be about twice as mellow as he actually is. That was our waiter. As we paid our bill, we said "Have a nice day" and he replied "You guys..." (10 second pause) " well." For some reason, I just couldn't stop laughing after he left. Maybe you had to be there.

Cracking up

Back in the hotel room, we made sure we had everything and I took one last look at the view of the Falls.

We loaded into the truck and we were on the road at noon. I fired up my road trip tracklist on my iPod and we crossed the Rainbow Bridge to Willie Nelson's "On The Road Again."

The view from the Rainbow Bridge


Fake buffalo on the road out of Buffalo

It was a smooth, uneventful, and bee-less ride. As we drove through New York, we passed a small convoy of supply trucks heading down to New Orleans to help out with the Hurricane Katrina relief. That was a pretty cool thing to see.

Almost exactly three hours after setting out from Niagara Falls, we were back home. We were all so eager to get out of the van and move around a bit, it's amazing how stiff you can get after just three hours of driving. We unloaded the van and told Dad all about the trip.


After a little while as Dad was leaving for work, that strange sensation hit me where it felt like we had never even left. It really was a great trip, but it brings up one question: Where to go next year?

Friday, September 30, 2005

Niagara Falls 2005: Day III

We woke up a bit later, since we were so exhausted from Day Two. Again, Mom was awake before Kris and I. She had the camera ready as the day began with what she says was a pretty intense thunderstorm. I slept through the whole thing. She was amazed that they kept the Maid of the Mist going with all of the lightning.

By the time I was up and ready to go, the skies were perfectly clear and you never would've guessed it had rained.

We decided to head for the Maid of the Mist. Kris led us on a "shorter route" which actually turned out to be the long road, but it was scenic. As we walked, we came upon a motel I was pretty sure they used in the first episode of Wonderfalls, so I had to take a picture in front of it. (When we returned home, I checked my Wonderfalls DVD and it was the wrong motel. Oh well.)

Before long, we found ourselves walking down Clifton Hill. I was a bit shocked when I realized it's even steeper than Murray Street. I took my time so I didn't plow through a bunch of tourist, didn't want to scuff my new chair!

Finally at the base of the hill, we neared the Maid of the Mist. After a short elevator ride and many ramps going downward, we donned our stylish ponchos and we were ready to board.

I look like something out of a Missy Elliott video

It's a funny thing, overall, the newness was gone from most of the things we did on last year's trip, but the Maid of the Mist lost none of its magic. It's such a rush getting so close to such a massive natural wonder, you can really feel the power of the Falls.

The Brothers Smurf

There was one thing I could have planned better though. It turns out that the spot I chose to park my chair was directly under the edge of the second level of the boat, so as we pulled away from the Falls, a bunch of water poured down from the upper level onto me. There were puddles forming on my poncho.

We went to the gift shop (got a t-shirt and a little Canadian flag for myself and a t-shirt for Dad), stopped to eat at the little cafeteria area we ate at last year, then we checked out a couple places at the bottom of Clifton Hill. We made a quick pass through the WWE shop and then went into the MGM store. Next, we went into the Marvel building. It really is a cool place with lots of cool stuff, but it baffles me that they don't have any adult sized t-shirts or anything. What's the deal with that?

Chillin' with Spidey again

Me between the Infinity Gauntlet and Thor's hammer, Mjolnir

Me with Dr Doom's mask

Outside the Rainforest Cafe

Next, we stayed on the walkway along the river, heading back towards the top of the Falls so we could go on the Journey Behind the Falls. Another elevator ride down and we were wandering in the tunnels behind Niagara Falls. It was pretty amusing watching Kris, who's 6'8", walk down this tunnel with only about an inch between his head and the ceiling. It's crazy to watch the Falls from behind. The combined sights of massive amounts of water pouring down as huge clouds of mist shoot upwards is tumultuous and incredible.

Under the Falls

Behind the Falls

The tunnel

From there, we stopped in the gift shop and I bought a postcard to send to my good friend, Linda. Then I headed back outside to the top of the Falls for another dose of mist before heading back to our room.

At approximately 7:30 PM, we all lost it. Without warning and without reason, the three of us completely lost it and began laughing uncontrollably. Maybe it was the negative ions, maybe it was us being in vacation mode, or maybe we were just delirious. I'm leaning towards the latter. We laughed so hard at absolutely nothing that we had tears in our eyes. When we eventually regained our composure, it was time to eat again.

This time we went across the street to Tony Roma's. I'm happy to say it was the best and cheapest of the nice places we ate at, though it was still a bit pricey. And I've just got to say, damn...that Romarita I had was excellent.

Finally, on our last night in Niagara Falls, we went to the casino one last time.

Within the first ten minutes on the quarter slots, I hit for $30. I had a good vibe, baby. At the end of the night, I had played with about $50 and won roughly $80. I'd say it was a good night.

I was craving some ice cream, cause, y'know, gambling makes you crave some ice cream. We searched a bit, but anywhere that might have ice cream was already closed for the night. So we tiredly marched back to the hotel.
I wrote out the postcard for Linda while looking at the Falls from our room and then hit the sack to rest up for the drive home in the morning.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Niagara Falls 2005: Day II

I had a bit of a hard time falling asleep the first night, but I eventually dozed off. Around 9:00 AM, I was the last to wake up. Mom was up way before us and snapped some pictures of the sunrise through the mist of the Falls.

She also took a picture of me waking up. I was still beat, it wasn't a pretty sight. Apparently I look like a bad Jack Nicholson impersonator in the morning.

"Wait til they get a load of me..."

One thing we could all agree on was that we were hungry. We marched down the street to a breakfast buffet Kris saw while walking last night. It was a nice little place, the food was alright, not the best ever, but it did the trick.

From there we walked up the street and checked out the OK Gift Shop. I've loved the name of the place for a while now, but this was the first time I had been in there. It's a cute little shop, a bit cramped though.

We stopped back at the hotel to pick up the van and we were off to Marineland. Kris couldn't believe how apart everything in the park was.
The first attraction we checked out was the deer park. It's basically a big enclosed area with dozens of small deer roaming freely. The thing is, you go right in there with them. You can pet them, feed them, just get up close to them, it was pretty cool.

A pygmy deer sits on my lap and eats from my hand...not really...

The comes backup!

From there, we found ourselves at the section housing the black bears. There were a bunch of them down below and you could toss food down to them. It was pretty funny, the bears seemed to keep posing for pictures. One would throw his paws in the air when someone was about to toss food like he was saying "Come on buddy, over here!"

Another one leaned his paws across a big rock and looked up at Kris as he was about to snap a picture.

Zombie bear

We wandered a bit more and just like last year, the sun started to get to me. I was getting hot and my skin was turning red. I needed relief, so we found a water fountain, whipped my towel out of my backpack, soaked it, and used it to cool myself down.

After a little more wandering, we checked out the Beluga whales for a bit.

Next, we headed for the killer whale enclosure. We went to the underwater viewing area for a little while, but the water was cloudy and the whales weren't hanging around the windows at all. Kris did spot an amusing sign though.

We went up to the above ground area to check it out, but wheelchair height is never very good for things like that. Mom asked a guy who worked there if there was a raised area or anything so I could actually see into the water. He told us to hang on and then disappeared into the crowd for a minute. Upon returning, he said "Follow me."
He led us to an off limits area where he introduced us to the whale trainer, Christina (or Christine, but I'm pretty sure it was Christina). Before I knew it, Christina had called the whale over.

All my life I've been fascinated by marine life and now here I was, just inches away from an orca. She then asked if I'd like to touch it. The whale turned over on her side, lifting her fin to me. I couldn't believe I was actually touching a whale. It felt rougher than I expected, like a wet eraser, but that might've been cause I touched the edge of the fin.

Now, anyone who knows me knows I can get grossed out fairly easily. Imagine Christina shoved a dead fish into my hand. I just tried to block it out of my head that the warm squishy thing in my hand was a dead fish and went along with feeding this beautiful whale.

Mom got her turn too

After a quick little song from this magnificent animal, we said our thank yous and goodbyes and we were on our way.
As we made our way out of the park, I had a hand covered in fish goo. What's a guy to do in such a situation? No, not the towel. Savages. I got some Purel from Mom, of course!

From back at the hotel, we found ourselves walking towards the Skylon Tower.

When we arrived, Kris backed out of heading up top with me and much to my surprise, Mom decided to ignore her fear of heights and accompany me. We bought our tickets and up we went.

The ride up the little yellow elevator was really fast, it really doesn't feel like you go up that high.

The view from up top was just awesome, you could see for miles. The only bummer was that there were stairs to get out to the main viewing area. Ah well, the view was still great. Major kudos to Mom for going up with me.

Me longing for Toronto

We popped into the Imax theater, but the next showtime was quite a wait, so we decided to pass and maybe come back the next day.

It was pretty cool though, they had some of the actual barrels that people have gone over the Falls in on display, so I posed by a couple.

We made our way back to the hotel for a little bit. I decided it'd be cool to head to the casino, but we needed to eat first. We headed to the Friday's in the hotel we stayed in last year and amusingly enough, we were put at the same table as last year. The food and drinks were good, but really expensive, not to mention our waiter was ridiculously slow.

Me drinking an ultimate mudslide...through my nose

With full bellies, we made our way to the casino and I found the quarter slots. I decided I was only going to use the Canadian money I had gotten from my lovely family for my birthday. In the end, I spent $40 and won $29. A loss of $11, not too shabby.

Gambling makes you thirsty, so we stopped in the lounge in our hotel's lobby before heading up to bed. Drinks were ordered and I decided to just get water. Good choice. Like most places up there, it was expensive. For example, Kris ordered a beer that turned out to be $8. Needless to say, he made sure he enjoyed every last drop.

With a very full Day Two behind us, we headed to bed in preparation for Day Three.