Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ebert Reviews 127 Hours: "Oh Yes We Could"

This is a difficult review to take at face value, having been written by a man who had his jaw surgically removed as a necessary result of oncological complications.  It almost comes across as a little angry at the end -- having been handed a similar anatomical fate as the protagonist.  But of course he must be forgiven (and admired) for that.  Nobody I know has been at all close to either type of situation.

But, oh, no, we all couldn't, necessarily.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

She wants to go to school

Both of these images are, strictly speaking, outdated (in that the first was illustrated by Norman Rockwell in the 60s and the latter was a photograph taken in Central America in the late 80s), yet both very much timely.

If only we all had US marshalls (with the right political backing) when push comes to shove.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Now we KNOW the guy is doing it to get his jollies

Since Jobs's goal from the beginning was clearly to be obstructionist, he could have easily just ignored her email (as, obviously, he does 99.999% of the emails he gets through his public/personal email address, out of simple time-management necessity).  But he didn't.  He sure didn't.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

LOLcats Official History

I like that the official (that is to say, Wikipedia) history of the term LOLcats involves both the term "recapitulated" and a 1905 photo of a cat in a dress.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Kareoke Machine Contest

I was contacted by the person organizing an online karaoke contest where you video yourself singing karaoke... In her own words: (my site) is hosting a contest for people to submit videos of themselves singing in order to win an all-in-one karaoke machine.

 So, click on the link if you'd like to learn the details and participate (or just view hilarious videos of people who think they're talented enough to enter any kind of singing contest ('cause we don't get enough of that on TV as is).

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Netflix Lives On - In its various forms

Most of the article is dead-on, with....

... two notes:

1. Their (and everybody else's) streaming service is crap. The video looks like crap, and the audio is not 5.1 or anything like that (mono, most often). I know that a lot of people don't care about that, but looking forward that is unacceptable (3D?) and that is from whence I speak. Personally, given the choice I would never ever watch a movie streamed off the network instead of off a disc (CERTAINLY if the disc in question was blu-ray), even if I had to wait for it 2-3 days for it to come in the mail.

2. Their streaming service offers no extras (alternate languages & mixes / captions / commentary / making-of's etc etc).

#1 is a matter of network throughput. Given unlimited network bandwidth you can put through the 25GB (blu-ray average) of two hours or so that an HD movie requires. But in practice that's about an order of magnitude higher than even the best home networks can provide (and TWO orders of magnitude off from what my DSL in NYC gets me.. boo-hoo to me, and go figure).

#2 is a matter of software -- creating an end-user interface that allows you to hyperlink via the player / DVR / Apple TV off on-screen choices to various bits of video segments etc. That's not hard in the great/small scheme of things, just a drive to provide an alternate user-end interface to the legacy content of 14 years of standard DVD titles (a pure software driven DVD player -- in real time over the internet -- not likely given copyright panty-bunching).

So, we will continue to see a segmentation between "let me watch the movie (crappy, streamed)" and "give me the whole experience with the extras (full, off a disc)".

Friday, September 03, 2010

Michael Jackson: This Is It

Saw the Michael Jackson concert documentary This Is It a couple of days ago. Very interesting. Turns out it consists of him coming out on stage and singing the opening theme song of "One Day At a Time" over and over again for an hour and a half until somebody in the audience pulled out a gun and shot him, and that's how he died. Very revealing.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Huckabee Shows Glimmer of Sanity

When this guy comes across as reasonable you know the rest of the GOP is just fucked.  (Or, we all are, in any case).

Sunday, August 08, 2010

"'Birthers' fade after passage of law against them"

Someday, many years after 2016, I will go to Hawaii (I hear it's beautiful) and I will stop by the appropriate government's records office and I will ask for a copy of Barack Hussein Obama's birth certificate..... and I will have it framed.

(link goes to article)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tanzen Macht Frei

A 'final solution' survivor does a Gloria Gaynor at various holocaust sites with his daughter and grandchildren.

Friday, July 09, 2010

I played Scrabble online tonight

Turned out to be a person from Australia I was matched with.  Learned the hard way.

She put down "czars" on a triple word (48 pts) and I said "ok fu" [which is my way of saying "great move!"]

The she says [AG=Australia Granny]

AG: "are you kidding me?  how old are you?"
ME: "36"
AG: "I'm a granny from australia..  Such talk."
ME: "Didn't mean to upset you".
[a couple of more moves go by]
ME: "How did you get this far without a little bit of trash talk thrown at you?"
[a couple of moves go by]
AG: "Where are you?"
ME: "New York"

[blah blah game ends]

It only occurred to me after that perhaps she would have wanted to chat further, but that also the only two things I would have to say to her are:

"Hey, I saw 'On the Beach' recently... do you like that movie?"


"Hey I was in Australia once.  I ate kangaroo.  Do you like kangaroo?"

Thursday, July 01, 2010

My House, Time-Lapsed

Using one of these

(tied to a tree) I shot some time-lapse footage (1 frame every five minutes) of my new house under construction.  Here it is:

No-one will be seated during the exciting May 1 - May 7 sequence when fuck-all nothing happens.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon QUADROPHONIC Mix
My Favorite Thing This Year (so far):

There is a QUADROPHONIC mix of Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon (done by producer Alan Parsons in 1973 at the same time he did the the regular -- stereo -- mix).

If you want to download it via torrent search on google for "dark side of the moon 5.1 torrent" (it's 3.5GB).
(or click here

Just finished listening to it.  I didn't know my ears could do that.  It's like listening to the album for the first time (after maybe 1,000 times the stereo one over the last 20+ years).  Just make sure you sit in the center of the room, with no distractions.  (Don't bother if you don't have a surroundsound setup -- it would be like watching a 3D movie without the glasses).

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hunter Davis is Ian McKellen

(click and close your eyes)

(post link goes to his youtube channel which has a wider variety of stuff.. hit & miss)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Problem with Wikipedia

(and wikis in general)

Lena Horne is dead and Wikipedia is having an awkward time of it.

Friday, April 30, 2010

When you prick the planet, does it not bleed?

The oil slick could become the nation's worst environmental disaster in decades, threatening hundreds of species of fish, birds and other wildlife along the Gulf Coast, one of the world's richest seafood grounds, teeming with shrimp, oysters and other marine life. Thicker oil was in waters south and east of the Mississippi delta about five miles offshore.

The leak from the ocean floor proved to be far bigger than initially reported, contributing to a growing sense among many in Louisiana that the government failed them again, just as it did during Hurricane Katrina.

A visual update [5/13/10]

Sunday, April 18, 2010

That must have been a huge settlement check

"The Big Apple Circus is a great family event. The kids especially enjoyed Bello's performance. The accident was a fluke (getting hit by lightning is more probable), but the most important thing is the kids are fine and our understanding is the performer is as well," the children's parents, Lou and Patricia Imbriano, said in a statement.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

People are crazy

Midtown NY today (video: people lining up 500 deep to buy an iPad)

If I had bought the original iPhone, my iPhone right now would not be able to use the 3G network (and some other stuff) and would have cost twice as much.

Why in hell are these people lining up to buy a product that is crippled in significant ways, by purposeful design by its seller in anticipation of the next marketing wave for V2 ?  I consider myself an early adopter, but I've also lived long enough to know that buying the first of anything is a losing proposition.

I guess this means I'm married

Pooch and Squish, naked as we came

Listening to Iron & Wine

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pink Floyd Wins Legal Battle to Only Sell Full Albums Online

I like this this entry on Gizmodo, written by furniture-fucker Adam Frucci, which points to a British High Court decision that that Pink Floyd's contract with EMI prohibits individual songs from their albums being sold individually.

I'm not usually one to cheer limitations on online (sold or otherwise) media, but I do cheer anytime people will choose to PAY for Pink Floyd music and are actually forced to, you know, listen to the whole album, as people were expected to in the 70s.  Get with the program -- you don't just watch the Star Gate sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey and get to call yourself a Kubrick fan (or know what the hell you're talking about in any context).

From the BBC News article (linked to from the Gizmodo entry):

In court, Chancellor Sir Andrew Morritt said the contract contained a clause to "preserve the artistic integrity of the albums". 
I have no sympathy for people who are as a matter of course willing to pay the iTunes- / record company- tax just so they so they can get "Another Brick in the Wall" or "Comfortably Numb" tracks without having (getting to) listen to the entirety of "The Wall" album.  Fuck 'em. I say: "Let them crash."

On the other hand, those that care about the quality of the overall piece will get it (for free) as a full-album torrent anyway, so I'm not sure what they're worried about.  (GASP..! could it be money?)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Postal Reform: A Modest Proposal

The US Postal Service is considering cutbacks in service (closing stations, no more Saturday delivery, etc) because people aren't mailing like they used to.  Apparently use of the Postal Service peaked at a historical high in 2006.   2006!  I thought it would have been much much earlier... I mean, the Internet went mainstream about ten years prior to that, and there had been fax machines for about 25 years prior.

There will always be a need to be able to have a physical object (a signed piece of paper, a stray set of car keys.. er.... birthday cards I guess) sent from A to B.  But if the Postal Service wants to continue to remain relevant they have to do a few things:

1.  Track every piece of mail.  This is a simple service that is attached to every item shipped via FEDEX and UPS.  The USPS already has the technology installed (available for an additional fee) so why not allow me to print out a tracking sticker online (or run an envelope through my printer) which then gets put on the envelope / package prior to being dropped in a mailbox.  They already sell this service; just make it standard.

2.  Charge $1 for every piece of mail, even a single sheet of paper in a #10 envelope, including "bulk"/junk mail.  Anybody who expects a physical object to be flown from Key West, FL to Honolulu, HI (or even walked ten city blocks) for less than that is out of their fucking minds.  While the Postal Service was traditionally a low-cost alternative to the commercial shippers it was also meant to be self-sustaining (i.e., not a subsidized service from the Federal Government).  Charging as little as they do is retarded (Hi, Sarah!).  It would also help reduce junk mailing, which can't possible be that profitable anyway in the age of spam email.  If somebody has something they really really want you to know about their business they can pay $1 for the privilege.

3.  Suspend weekend deliveries (except for priority/premium shipping).  If you're only paying $1 to mail something then it can wait until Monday.  Otherwise take a deep breath and pay... $5.

These three simple, doable things (which do not require fundamentally new infrastructure / workflow) can allow a valuable service to downsize and right-price for many decades to come.

Monday, February 15, 2010

AVATAR review: "You are a feral prole"

This is the best review of Avatar I have read anywhere, possibly the best review of a movie ever written.  No, I'm not talking about the initial posting by Mark Wilson, but rather the user comment (by DarceyFaloogi) posted after it, which begins (and, oh, this is just the beginning):

McDonald's sells the most hamburgers but they are crap. Yet with your logic, and the logic of the Avatard or Avatar fan, you celebrate crap because its popular. You don't care that the hamburger is responsible for deforestation using slash and burn farming (rather than sustainable rotation), you don't care the ingredients are unsuitable for human consumption. You like the taste and the price. You are a feral prole seeking self pleasure. You want your BREAD and CIRCUS. Doesn't matter if its good, bad, moral, amoral, toxic or not, you don't give a hoot. You want to pleasure your brain.
Enjoy the rest:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Must Read: The Human Shuffle / Roulette

Just earlier today I was thinking to myself.. "I wonder what the next interesting thing on the internet will be".  The answer to that question (whether it be 1994, 1999, 2002, 2007) isn't usually about fundamentally new technology but rather a creative repurposing of already-existing pieces (and often revved up with faster computers).

Here we have something that is (a) not commercial, but can be; and (b) initially wild, but doesn't have to be.

The Human Shuffle
by Sam Anderson

Sunday, January 31, 2010

I'm a sucker for good writing

.. and in particular for some reason when it's done by a Russian (Rand, Nabokov) and I'm diving in head-first when it's about Chess. As a cherry on top in this case, I was nominated along with some other folks for a CLIO award in 1997 for Best Event Web Site -- Kasparov vs. Deep Blue (this link goes to Wikipedia's entry on the events), so I have a dog in the race in a loose way.

In any event, here is a brilliant essay on technology and human intelligence (and of course Chess) written by the guy himself.

An Unusually Unusual Collection of Photographs

Charles Manson
Stanley Kubrick

Link goes to the more complete collection.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Nice Mouse Car for Conan

Nice car, Conan.. I guess you're going to ABC..?

Have fun playing in the House of Mouse.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jon Stewart is Edward R. Murrow

This is the smartest thing I've seen on television (*) in many months.  And to find it within the context of "comedy" is truly mind-bending.  An actual in-depth interview with John Yoo, the author of the legal documents which rationalized the use of torture as a means to an end in a "time of war".  It really makes one wonder why the only place where he could find a fair audience was a comedy news review show.  Either he's doing something really wrong (he is) or they are doing something really right (they are).

(*) Never mind that I didn't watch it on TV, since one can only find the eviscerating full-length interview online.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Before & After

Additional photos of the process found here.  Quality construction provided by Galesi Design.

Sell your cameras for food, you won't need them anymore

The Third & The Seventh from Alex Roman on Vimeo.

(watch full-screen.... you won't be able to tell until about 75% of the way through that it's all CGI.. oooooh I gave it away)

Something I may or may not recommend depending on which ad is shown: