Archive for the 'Lots O’ Links' Category

Miscellaneous Things for May 14th

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

My wife says I need to post, but there’s not really any one thing worth posting. So here’s bunches:

1. Since the job I interviewed for is so contingent on my web networking skills, I’ve been spending even more time on those types of sites, including Second Life. If you’ve never experienced Second Life (and I’m really shocked at the number of friends of mine who have never heard of it, you owe it to yourself to check it out. It’s free, and surprisingly it’s not very hardware intensive. He’s a screenshot of one of my favorite hangouts:

2. The new Iron Man movie looks cool, but we’re waiting until Monday (5/19) to go see it.

3. Since I still can’t get my Creative Zen up and running, I got a temporary solution of a 2 GB Sansa Clip (that was on sale) for my evening power walks … except that the music I’m loading on it doesn’t show up. The troubleshooting guide suggests that it might be some DRM crap stopping the files from showing up.

So that’s still up in the air.

4. Lately I’ve gotten hooked on the Discovery Channel’s taxicab quiz show, Cash Cab. It’s amazing how little knowledge New Yorkers can get away with having and still survive in the big city …

Still though, it’s nice to see a game show where the contestants weren’t hand-picked by some control freak producers who thought they would look appropriate on the show. These are just ordinary people who needed a cab ride, and happened to pick the one with the rolling quiz show on board. Bonus points: On today’s show, they had two Nixon related questions. One was about who replaced Agnew as Vice President (duh!), and the other was the name of the cocker spaniel (again: duh!) that Nixon talked about in a televised 1952 speech to try to get public support for his place on the Republican ballot.

5. Oh, and speaking of Nixon’s historically significant dog, I’ll probably be finally giving the links to my RPM Challenge songs very soon. (What does one have to do with the other? Some of you already know, the rest of you will soon see.

Anyway, go to the Cash Cab link above and try your knowledge against some sample questions.

6. My friends will be tested in the next week. I can’t say what the test is, because that would defeat the purpose, but I dropped a subtle hint somewhere above. (I’m hereby exempting Kim, Pam and RennyBA from this test, because they’ve already proven their loyalty by posting comments here on a regular basis. I’m also exempting my wife, of course. But the rest of you are walking a thin line …)

7. And finally: Here’s something new you can try, just in case you haven’t already seen it: When you’re reading a message board, or you’re in a chatroom, and somebody says something incredibly stupid, all you have to say in response is:

[facepalm]

People who know what it means will know that you’re hip and smart, and those who don’t can just Google it.

You’re welcome.

I had saved this video some time ago, but YouTube is on the fritz tonight, so it might or might not be visible when you’re reading this. At any rate, it’s pretty funny, and cleverly illustrates the facepalm phenomenom:

Thursday Pinpoint, Vol. 1

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

I’m going to try something this week. It’s hard to explain, but it’s about how there can be lots of material on one tiny little pinpoint subject.

This week: Videos of people playing the Ventures’ 60s surf hit, “Walk Don’t Run”.

The power of Web 2.0: Anyone can have a global audience!

It’s great to see that the young folks are helping to preserve the classics:

Jazzy!

An eight-year-old Japanese girl!

Acoustic trio!

From 80s German TV!

The way it was meant to be played: In a leisure suit at a wedding party!

Another youngster showing appreciation for the classics:

And finally, the real thing: The Ventures!

Quick Catching Up

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Let’s see if we can make this quick:

It’s snowing! And it’s the first and probably the last time this winter, but it snowed quite a bit, already 3 inches accumulation on our cars at 9:00. This is on top of the fact that it was 80F here on Saturday, and pretty warm yesterday too.

And yes, I probably should have posted this a couple of days ago … but I did actually finish the RPM Challenge! And since I actually finished, on time, and my finished album isn’t a total humiliation, I’ll gladly give credit (as opposed to blame) to Yay Kim, who told me about the challenge and encouraged me to enter.

Of course, I also need to thank my wife, who told me I really needed to do the challenge, and was patient through all the time I spent doing music. She understands creative urges like that.

Anyway, I’ll give you a link soon to listen to my stuff, but until then, listen to somebody else’s stuff, namely that of Another Cultural Landslide (ACL), one of my favorite artists from the challenge, in an instrumental track cryptically entitled Fred and Ethel Go Bowling.

So why hadn’t I posted until now? Because I was at the Irish Festival yesterday, duh, and that brings me to a shout-out that I promised Emily from Luton, England. Emily works in one of the clothing shops during the festival. I bought a shirt from her last year, and we talked about the TV show that she & my wife like (“Keeping Up Appearances”), so this year I decided to snap a picture and make her a part of my festival commemorations.

You can see more of my festival pictures (just the first 100 that I’ve uploaded so far) by clicking here. (That picture yesterday was one of them, the most amazingly healthy bit of festival food I’ve ever heard of, a fruit salad served in a hollowed-out half-pineapple! And it was great!)

More pictures forthcoming.

And speaking of this month’s Irish celebrations, our Flickr friend Miss Sarie rode in the Saint Patrick’s Parade and fun dog show in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia (they have it early to beat the rush, apparently). The first year she went, she won the coveted “Best Irish Costume”, and this year she got her picture in the paper. Click on the picture to see more!

And now for something completely different: One of the commercials in the Snickers “Feast” series.

I didn’t really care for them at first, since the whole concept seemed kind of pointless, but for some odd reason I get a kick out of this one that they’re showing these days:

You can just never tell what’s going to make me laugh …

Unrelated Things 11-2-07

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Here are a bunch of mostly unrelated things, many of them I’ve been saving up for a while, waiting for a chance to post unrelated things …

So here we go:

I didn’t post this with my last post because the video part isn’t much — it’s just the end credits of the video game Portal — but what’s important is the excellent song, “Still Alive”, sung by Ellen McLain (a voice actor in Portal, as well as the other two “Orange Box” games) and written by Jonathan Coulton, who also wrote the song that became the theme for the G4TV animated series, Code Monkeys.

Anyway: “Still Alive” is excellent, so run the video and listen to it:

Speaking of good music, we’ve been watching The Next Great American Band on Fox (mainly because there’s not much else TV on on Friday nights), and except for the mediocre “artists” they make the bands cover (especially Billy Joel and Rod Stewart), it’s pretty good. We’re especially impressed by Light of Doom, a hard-rocking group of kids with a great work ethic and a healthy respect for the classic rock acts.

Hey Spook, Here’s the business we should have gotten into: Selling tumbleweeds for $25 a pop. This woman was learning HTML a few years ago, and had to pick a subject to build a test site around, so she constructed a fake tumbleweed-selling site, offering the rolling shrubs at $25 each.

That is, it was fake, until people (Yankees?) with more money that sense started sending in orders …

Now she’s making a good living at it.

Maybe you can figure out how to sell sandstorms.

Remember, target Yankees.

One interesting by-product of the writer’s strike is the fact that the Tonight Show is showing reruns from Leno’s first year on the job. It’s interesting seeing Jay with dark hair and wide lapels, trying to make Johnny Carson’s old formula work.

His current strategy fits him much better, standing closer to the audience, and interspersing the monologue with skits and props.

Carson’s routine wouldn’t work for everybody — in fact, there were a lot of times it didn’t work for him.

What are the odds that Evel Knievel would die of something as mundane as diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis? He spent almost half his life doing crazy dangerous stunts, but death couldn’t claim him during that time.

Just goes to show you: You never can tell …

Do you have too much time on your hands? This person does: Cowscapes.

A lot of water under the gate …

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

Today is the 35th Anniversary of the Watergate break-in, which lead to the downfall of President Nixon. These days, when government scandal and treachery are the normal way of life, it might seem strange that a news story about a bungled burglary could monopolize the news for two years and culminate in a constitutional crisis, but it did. It was the biggest news story for the entirety of my freshman year in college, which I must say made for some interesting Political Science classes.

So anyway, let’s take another look, shall we?

First, the boring informational links: Watergate.info and Watergate on Wikipedia.

Okay, now let’s have some fun:

The Watergate Comedy Hour.

Watergate: The Card Game! (Scroll down to 1973 to see Watergate.)

Nothing conveys the promise of lifelong commitment like a Watergate Wedding! Book yours today!

I want this shirt really bad: VOTE ROBOT NIXON. May death come swiftly to his enemies!.

The Watergate Follies.

Watergate editorial cartoons. Not very good ones, since they’re from “Herblock”, but they’re still interesting in their heavy-handedness and anachronism.

The Watergate Hotel on Flickr. Lots of pictures of the the humble physical structure from whence launched the scandal that toppled a presidency.

The so-called Saturday Night Massacre. No, don’t get excited, nobody was really massacred.

That we know of.

I used to have this comedy album: National Lampoon’s The Missing White House Tapes. Side One was mostly audio from Nixon’s speeches recut to hilarious effect (“I was an active vice president … I had a … firm … staff … and I stuck it out!”) Side Two consists of comedy sketches which include Chevy Chase and John Belushi as performers, a couple of years before the world knew who they were.

A librarian’s personal Nixon book collection.

Watergate era poster: “Daffy Dick and Spiro T. Pig”. I’m sure it was funnier at the time.

Watergate.com: “Home of The Nixon Era Times, the Official Publication of the Nixon Era Center of Mountain State University.” Well, aren’t WE full of ourselves.

Was the now-senile Mark Felt really just a smokescreen for the real “Deep Throat”, Alexander Haig? The author of The Silent Coup seems to think so.

Dogs named Nixon.

A BABY named Nixon. Seriously.

A goth pin-up girl named Nixon.

Seriously.

Watergate items on Ebay.

And now some videos:

Watergate“, a school report in the form of an excellent short documentary, including present-day teenagers reenacting scenes from the time:

It’s good to see the kids having an appreciation for classic historical periods …

Next: You know the t-shirt I linked to above? It was a reference to this episode of Futurama:

Nixon’s back! Who’s kicking who around now?!

Next: Another Nixon appearance on Futurama — this time in Spanish!:

Muy fabuloso!

Next: The famous “I am not a crook” speech:

That was history in the making, right there! Personally, I thought the “There will be no whitewash … in the White House” speech was going to be much bigger than this one, but all these years later it’s nowhere on the cultural radar screen. Go figure.

And finally: Video of Nixon’s resignation speech:

Countdown

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

10

9

8

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

0

Monkey Business

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

Monkey Business!Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

Monkey Business.

And finally:

Monk eBusiness.

Back to the Video!

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Yes! Okay, I did three non-video posts in a row, so now we’re back to it!

Seriously, my job is so depressing lately that I’m really enjoying that rush of exploration and creation that I’m getting from dabbling in video editing and animation lately. It’s like a whole new world is opening up.

I finished the first rough-cut render of my light show project tonight, but I’ll be screening it for my friends and coworkers first — in fact, it’s so rough that only Todn8r gets to see it in its present form, because he has an understanding of the experimental stage our team project is in right now …

So until I have something to show the public, here are some more good examples of the great things you can find on YouTube:

I had to watch a lot of TV during my sick leave, including cartoons. I didn’t really care for The Angry Beavers on NickToons, but the theme song is mind-blowing — it’s like Tijuana Brass on way too much Red Bull. I’ve been trying to tell my wife about it, but it’s hard to do it justice with a description.

Then it occurred to me to look it up on YouTube, and sure enough, you can watch and listen to it here.

Along those same lines: Did you see Connie Chung’s bizarre farewell song on TV, and have been at a loss for words to describe it to your friends?

Now you can just email them to a link to the video, and they can see for themselves.

Friday I was listening to my MP3 player at work, enjoying the last day of New Boss in Training being out of town, and Bjork’s Isobel came up on random-shuffle, and that reminded me of the Bjork music video DVD that I got into last summer, and it occurred to me that I could not only find all of Bjork’s videos on YouTube, but I could add them to my Favorites and click to them anytime.

This is another instance of where mere words fall short, but pictures tell a multitude of stories.

Plus there are lots of Bjork interviews and parodies, so check it out.

Here’s a group video by several members of the YouTube community, most of whom don’t know each other personally: Lip-synching to John Lennon’s Imagine.

The Spook sends this: The First Male Engineer.

(Isn’t that a bit redundant? Like saying “the first female stewardess”?)

Anyway, when a company has one good commercial, it’s probably got several more, and you can see more ads from Volvic here.

And finally: Even the Electronic Frontier Foundation is getting in on the act, with The Corruptibles, a super-hero parody that illustrates how the entertainment industry wants to control everything about your entertainment media, from dictating worthless product design to prohibiting you from making a mix CD for yourself or your friends.

This is the same self-defeating industry that has had several videos taken down from YouTube, even though they only promote the studios’ product and don’t deprive them of any revenue.

So check out all the above videos on YouTube — before Hollywood shuts it down …

“Zim” City

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

Yes, I’m still caught up in Video Fever, so tonight, to illustrate just how many people are slapping together their own videos, consider the AMV — the Anime Music Video. People are taking cartoons — just about any cartoons — and splicing them together with songs to make their own music videos.

To give you an example of just how huge this is, here is a very small sampling of the different types of videos that are out there for just one cartoon, the excellent Invader Zim:

Mariachi Zim.

Honky Tonk Zim.

Complicated Zim.

Zim Gorillaz: FIFA 2002, and Dare.

And finally, here’s one especially for The Spook and Todn8r: What do you get when you combine Invader Zim, Bizet’s Carmen, South Park, and beer? The Beer Song.

And if all that still isn’t enough, re-watch the best of them all, the video I originally linked to a couple of week’s ago, the Zim version of Weird Al’s Devo parody, Dare to Be Stupid

Meme-Tag, I’m It …

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

Capn Kurt from Information Nation has meme-tagged me and three others, so here’s my part:

Four Jobs I’ve had:
Department Store Stockboy/Clerk
Credit Union Loan Officer
Temp
Office Drone

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over:
Lord of the Rings (any of the trilogy)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Blade Runner
Powaqqatsi (see my music list below)

Four Places I have Lived:
Lubbock
Dallas
Lewisville
The Colony

Four TV Shows I Would Love to Watch:
(That “I would love to watch”? How about just “Favorite TV Shows (Past & Present)”???)
Northern Exposure
Lost
My Name is Earl
Futurama
(Honorable Mention: America’s Funniest Home Videos, The Simpsons [Seasons 4 & 5], Saturday Night Live (Seasons 1-4, and others)

Four Places I have been on Vacation:
Cottonwood Pass, Colorado (Age 24 & 26)
Corpus Christi (Age 28, 29, & 37)
New Orleans (Age 16 & 17)
Carlsbad Caverns (Age 15)

Four Websites You Visit Daily:
Internet Movie Database
BoingBoing
Flickr
Wikipedia

Four of My Favorite Foods:
Spaghetti
A well-crafted chef salad
My personal vegetable-beef soup
“Supreme” Pizza

Four Places I would Rather Be:
This quiz doesn’t know me very well. Of course, if they’re talking about places to visit, then sure, I’d like to see Ireland, rural England, and Iceland (during the summer, of course). But if they’re talking about living somewhere else: If you can’t be happy where you are, you can’t be happy.

Four Albums I Cannot Live Without:
Okay, I can’t help it, for this item I have to elaborate:
Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells — Even though 10 minutes of it (halfway through side 2) is almost unlistenable, this album is still Rock’s finest hour. It’s a tuneful, rambling trip the the Stonehenge in your mind — with one person playing all the instruments.
Philip Glass: Powaqqatsi — The least typical of Glass’ work, this soundtrack is more pastoral than the normal frantic arpeggio runs. This album is very relaxing and meditative.
The GoGo’s: Vacation — Not only is this “chicks with guitars” of which I’m so fond; this work combines party-girl imagery with minor chords and broody meditations. That makes this my favorite of their four albums.
Laurie Anderson: Mister Heartbreak — There are parts of this album I could do without (the tiresome duet with Peter Gabriel, and the “song” narrated by William S. Burroughs), the other great more material more than makes up for the low spots. It’s a much more mature and musical work than her first studio album, and more coherently whimsical than everything to come after it.

Four People to Tag:
Kim at Yay! Blog
ILuvNUFC at Look at This
Nels Lindahl
Logtar