BLOG ENTRIES - 2006
High definition TV is incredible.
From this article:
"The new color capabilities of the LED models reverse a half-century trend, with TVs now exceeding the capabilities of the broadcast system and requiring the latter to catch up. In Vegas, Sony got around the problem by showing on its 82-inch LCD special video clips that provide a wider color gamut, including a copy of Spiderman 2 that was re-scanned from the original film print in order to capture a fuller palette. For the long term, Sony is pushing for a new color standard -- known by the ungainly acronym XVYCC -- to pump up the colors captured by video cameras and broadcast to TVs."
Sadly, this is sort of exciting to me...
This just in: Macs rock. Someone buy me one.
FindMyCover.com is a "service" I recently stumbled upon that tackles a problem I'd been trying to solve. It automatically goes out and gets CD covers (from Amazon) so you can put them in your iTunes. I'd been working on a similar project, and had achieved the same results, however wanted to elaborate on it and make it an automated program that would instantly find which covers you were missing and search for those specifically. I created such a service, but it was limited by browser constraints. I'm now inspired to pick it back up, so I'll post any further progress.
graugelb on Flickr.
Finished that iTunes album art thing. Check it out.
Lego Death on Flickr.
Remember The Milk's use of "AJAX" on their signup page is great! I think it's a good use of the recently popularized "technology". I like how they re-thought something like a signup form, which has been pretty static for the past several years.
Has anyone noticed the trend in food advertising lately to take an old song and change the lyrics to describe the food advertised? Kraft used EMF's "You're Unbelievable" to describe their product Crumbles as "Crumble-evable". Pizza Hut declared that "We've Got The Meat" using the Go-Gos song "We've Got The Beat" to describe their latest meaty pizza. It sucks.
The trailer for Mathew Barney's "Drawing Restraint 9" looks pretty interesting. The description makes it sound insane. Opens March 29th, but probably not here in Rochester. Let me know if you see it.
Stoopidgerl on Flickr
This blog entry/article (?) brings up some good thoughts about the RIAA and MPAA.
"And that's really the problem, isn't it? There are these industries of middlemen - RIAA, MPAA - that claim to "protect artists" but what they're really protecting is themselves. Artists (and I include myself in that word) need to rise up and tell these people to go get stuffed. We can decide when a mashup is perfectly fine with us. We can decide to embrace file traders to build awareness of our work. We don't need you anymore. You're just holding us back."
Check it out.
I had an idea very very similar to this site a week or two ago. It's bot h really frustrating and really fun to see ideas you have manifest before you're able to act on them.
The idea is basically building dynamically created flash movies based on various factors. This particular execution takes into account the viewer's location, weather, and a few other factors to create the video.
I think they did a really great job with the idea, but seeing their version confirmed a few concerns I had with the technology. So, we'll see...
Oh man! I wasn't sure about Rhymefest, but he just sealed the deal. He borrows the melody and chorus of The Foundation's "Build Me Up Buttercup" in his song "Build Me Up" and it's catchy enough for an upgrade. Listen.
When I was young I drew a lot. I remember once my mom was sitting with me and she said that "real artists don't erase". She most likely read it in an article or something and was simply sharing it with me as it pertained to the situation. However, I took it for absolute truth and hesitated everytime I spun my pencil around. When I did opt to erase, I remember feeling ashamed. I have since realized the "rule" is not absolute truth and don't blame my mother for any negative feelings I may have encountered. The phrase still echoes in my head on appropriate occassion reminding me of the impact people can have on others without even knowing.
I think my wisdom teeth are coming in.
An excessively intense enthusiasm, interest, or desire; a craze.
At least he's honest.
The Discovery Channel is fantastic. MythBusters and How It's Made especially.
I just saw the Lupe Fiasco video for "Kick Push". It really disappointed. Being a song about skateboarding, it has tons of potential for a really interesting video. However, save for a few shots, it felt really fake. Two cents.
This weekend I'm going to visit Karen in Providence. To cut costs I opted to fly to Boston then take the $6 Commuter Rail to Rhode Island. As I'm sitting in the train I'm amazed at how smoothly it all went. Granted it's not that difficult of a journey, but I often get nervous and "freak out" under similar situations. However, the two other times I'd been to Boston helped calm me down and it all went over seamless. Also thanks to the great interface design of the Boston transit system. It's neat being able to visit places and find your way around. Next stop: somewhere out of the country.
I saw Pinback for the 3rd time over the weekend. It was a great show. I especially like how their studio albums are mostly mellow, but their live shows are full of energy. Syracuse rocked.
I wish the iPod, when in shuffle mode, had an option like "listen to more of the same artist". So, when you stumble across a track from a great album you haven't listened to in a while, you could easily continue listening to that album.
Update: It'd also be nice to add songs to existing playlists.
Name aside, I like the Nintendo Wii site. Everything except the flash scroller on the frontpage.
I paid $15 for a video of Will Wright's keynote from the Game Developers Conference 2006. As someone who rarely pays for digital content, this seemed important to mention. I think he's great and incredibly interesting to listen to. It was worth the money, however, my only criticism is that his powerpoint is out of frame so you miss a few things that he talks about.
Don't listen to Sigur Ros when packing to move somewhere. It makes you think every scrap of paper holds a memory that should be preserved.
I just downloaded the new Windows Media Player 11. I hardly ever use the old one, but this version has a few good things going for it:
- Song previews in URGE (the built in music store) don't abruptly stop when you continue browsing around.
- Because the player is connected to MTV, VH1, etc. a little icon appears next to tracks with music videos. Click it and watch the video!
- Pretty slick look and feel
- Navigation is a pain.
- Video content has ads.
Red Hot Chili Pepper's Session at AOL Music. They did a really good job with the interface not interupting the music. "Never stop the music."
I didn't realize Honda's ASIMO robot inception was the same year as my birth. But it was! That means I have a robotic counter-part to compare my life to. Here's his timeline. I bet I could take him.
Thom Yorke's The Eraser
I think the best way to listen to this album is without any expectations. It's not a Radiohead record, but will appeal to the same group.
Here's a sample:
Atoms for Peace [mp3]
I think it would be awesome if phone companies allowed you to download digital copies of your voice mail. It seems like the technology is there. WTF?
Stuffed Robot World
Robots can't write love poems.
A couple months ago I found out about the band Bishop Allen, and I'm still listening to them. Every month in 2006 they are releasing an EP as a part of their ep-a-month project. Check 'em out:
These are Will Wright's mantra's for creating successful video games, however, I think they can be applied to a lot of different outlets.
1. Give yourself time to reflect - don't immediately get excited about a new project.
2. Do research - cast a wide net into different fields.
3. Enjoy being obsessive - hope it spreads to others working on the project.
4. Aim to change your audience.
Note: I jotted these down as I listened to an mp3 of his talk, they are not word for word.
I think registering a domain name for a project is a good idea. It's a great first step to get the ball rolling and also a financial obligation that will, idealy, motivate you to follow through with the idea. Otherwise, the money spent on the domain would be a waste.
I've paid for public internet service twice this summer. Once at a Starbucks and once at Laguardia airport. They charge exorbitant amounts for per hour service so you are sort of muscled into paying for an unlimited day pass.
I think I'm going to upgrade my digital camera.
The Summer of 2005 there was a little girl in Brooklyn advertising to "Draw anything for 25 cents". I asked for a dinosaur. Her name was Trince.
If you're a sucker for quirky coming of age movies, like me, check this trailer out.
The ten rules of Dogme films:
1. Filming must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found).
2. The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs where the scene is being filmed).
3. The camera must be a hand-held camera. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. (The film must not take place where the camera is standing; filming must take place where the action takes place.)
4. The film must be in colour. Special lighting is not acceptable. (If there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera).
5. Optical work and filters are forbidden.
6. The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
7. Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now.)
8. Genre movies are not acceptable.
9. The final picture must be transferred to the Academy 35mm film, with an aspect ratio of 4:3, that is, not widescreen. (Originally, the requirement was that the film had to be filmed on Academy 35mm film, but the rule was relaxed to allow low-budget productions.)
10. The director must not be credited.
From the Wikipedia entry
Here is a description of Michel Gondry's next movie from the NYTimes piece on him.
The central action in “Be Kind Rewind” takes place in a car junkyard. In the movie, Jerry, the character Jack Black will play, accidentally becomes magnetized by a power plant. His magnetic field erases all the tapes in a video store where his best friend, Mike, played by Mos Def, works. The duo end up re-enacting and refilming their own versions of movies like “King Kong” and “Ghostbusters.”
I can't wait.
From Plato's Phaedo
"How singular is the thing called pleasure, and how curiously related to pain, which might be thought to be the opposite of it; for they never come to a man together, and yet he who pursues either of them is generally compelled to take the other."(via Karen)
This year I inherited a '98 Volvo from my parents. As well as completely changing the dynamics of my day to day life, it's something to take care of and maintain. It's almost like a pet or a child. Actually it's not at all like either of those examples. None the less, one of the headlights went out and I more or less panicked. My dad suggested to take it to any general car repair shop and they could replace it. Seemed easy enough, but I didn't follow through with it. I continued to put it off.
A week or so later, I drove past a car parts store. I had walked by it several times before, but this time it jumped out like a beacon of light. I opened my owner's manual, checked out the section on replacing bulbs and did it.
When I started the car and the previously busted light was on the level of pride I felt was excessive to say the least. It got me thinking about how good it feels to accomplish something in an area that you perceive yourself to have no skill in.
P.S. Always check to see how often your callbacks are made. Always.
The summer of 2005 my friend Zach told me about the book Killing Yourself To Live by Chuck Klosterman. The premise of the book is Chuck Klosterman, a writer for Spin magazine, driving around the country visiting places where musicians have died. In doing so, he hopes to learn about death and impact it has on musical careers. Zach had me read two passages. Here are mp3's from the audio book:
A Conversation With Mary Beth
Kid A as the soundtrack to 9/11
I'm only about halfway through, but it's great so far, and I would definitely recommend it. I guess if the second half is really terrible I'll take this post down, but that seems unlikely.
The following is a conversation my brother and I had via text messages.
Brother "The only thing that really bites me about girltalk is the lack of originality...anyone who knows their way around a sampler could duplicate his work."My brother, who always had a knack for grammar and writing, ironically sends me grammatically flawed and l33t-speak filled emails and text messages. So, it was fun to get this little "debate" going. I did indeed have a hunch that he was just gassin' me up, but I wanted to try and keep it going, so I intentionally tried to play it straight.
Me "Yah. Anyone could do what Warhol did but it still takes the insight he had to do it."
Brother "Well let's look at Mr. Warhol's achievements; in addition to creating his famous artwork he founded an art studio, created and published a magazine, owned an operated a nightclub, wrote and published his own book, and also shot over 300 experimental underground films. The Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh showcases these accomplishments... I'm not so sure just anyone could do all these things... Will the work of DJ Girl Talk one day be displayed in a museum for the arts? Or will it instead be celebrated in the highly choreographed routines of high school dance squads for years to come? I suppose only time will tell..."
Me "My comment was hardly comparing Girl Talk to Warhol, but rather implying that technicality isn't the only criteria for great art. The context and reason behind art sometimes surpasses the technical aspect of it. Girl Talk, unlike most dance squad top 40 'mega mixes', samples from a wide variety of genres."
Brother "Exactly! His decision to work beyond the top 40 barrier and incorporate a wide array of songs from many different genres is precisely what positions him for success inside all competitive dance circuits; In fact I couldn't agree with you more, for years many cheerleading and dance squads have had to structure their routines around the all too common 'mega mix' as it were, until now! Girl Talk has introduced his vast new arrangement of songs stitched together with unorthodox methods of production. His radical new interpretation of the traditional megamix concept stands to create improvement among teams and squads all over the world. Promoting diversity throughout the dance community and encouraging all its participants and spectators to increase their perception and explore these new and different avenues of sound. The groups who are successful in their efforts of doing so will be able to achieve a new level of performance, enriched directly by this progressive advancement in mega-mixology!!! Honestly, can you think of a more appropriate application? The fact of the matter is the earnings girl talk currently makes from his gigs and album sales would pale in comparison to the amount of revenue that can be made with the right proprietary licensing and distribution of his work (which is largely made up of other artists work) for use in dance competition..."
Me "I disagree. I think the main genre's he draws from, southern rap, indie rock, and 90's alt-rock, are musical tastes that strive from their exclusiveness. I don't see why you're forcing the idea that Girl Talk is mega-mix music. His demographic seems to be the indie rock scene, not high school dance squads. I hardly think he's a musical genius, nor in the future will his art be looked upon by the masses as generationally profound. However, I think it warrants the attention for signifying an important point in time. The rights and ownership of music are being tested more than ever. I think your sentiment about his music's potential to make more money is flawed in that he would never be able to clear all the samples used. As things are now, he is able to slide by, however if music corporations have their way, who knows if this sort of music will be able to exist in 5 or 10 years."
Brother "*laugh* man I don't really believe that. I was just clownin' dogg... Pretty much the whole dissertation. I just like fuckin' with you kid, u oughtta know that"
Me "Well duh - just seein' if I could justify my own enjoyment of the music - holla"
Brother "Don't play, i totally had u..."
I didn't realize how rediculous his second, long discourse was until I was typing it up.
What would it be like to be granted infinite knowledge?
I think if you were somehow granted infinite knowledge of the world and our existence, that it would be difficult situation. I imagine a lot of people's initial reaction would be to tell everyone about what they had learned. To go out and inform others of their potentially incorrect beliefs.
This task would prove to be frustrating, as most people are unlikely to be swayed simply from someone telling them what is or isn't so. This effect is magnified if you were adamant to say that they were flat out wrong or stupid for feeling or believing a certain way.
Additionally, if you were in fact granted infinite knowledge, I'd imagine you'd be pretty enthusiastic about it. It would be difficult to not come off as mildly insane as you frantically raced around trying to convince people of their wrongdoings.
It seems that, given the responsibility of infinite knowledge, it would prove more effective to stay a little low-key about it. Avoid shouting the truth at people, but, if they should seek your advice, help guide them along the path to their own self-realizations.
My highschool friend, Charlie Pate, recorded a couple country tunes:
Prophesies Fulfilled (mp3)
In The Back Of My Mind (mp3)
Those are my two current favorites. He's been writing songs with Disney Music Publishing and has a record deal pending on MCA. It's hard to describe Charlie and my relationship, but I often attribute a great deal of how I was accepted in highschool to him. He's a really rad dude, and I hope he's successful. More songs on his myspace.
I went to Black Creek Park today, which is just sort of a nature trail place, and there was a lot of what looked like wild cotton growing. I don't think I've ever seen cotton before, so I took some pictures. Next weekend I'm gonna take my friend Zach's advice and try Letchworth State Park, which looks massive. Also, can you see the ant in the picture? I didn't notice him 'til I got back!
GIRL Hey god, wanan smoke this with me?
GOD No thank you.
GIRL You Sure?
GIRL Don't you wanna take a break? Kick back a little?
GOD I can't really take a break. The people on Earth need my attention.
GIRL Oh... Well, I guess I'm gonna smoke it.
GIRL Hey, god?
GIRL How am I doing?
GOD At life?
GOD You're doing pretty good. You should visit your mom a little more. She misses you.
GOD And maybe not drive when ever you smoke, it could be dangerous.
GIRL But it's so fun! I love the little farms and shit! ... And reading the names of all the towns!
GIRL trails off.
GIRL How's my mom?
GOD A little stressed about work.
GIRL She's so fucking strung up on making me someone I'm not.
GOD remains silent
GIRL Is it not possible for her to love her slightly overweight daughter!?
GIRL takes another hit
GIRL I know she did drugs! It was the seventies for god's sake!
GOD remains silent
GIRL Have you heard the way she talks about black people!?
GOD opens his eye for the first time. He looks a little shocked at GIRL's statement.
GOD You know she just loves you. She wants to show you that, but is unsure how.
GIRL It's like she's trying to make up for a time in her life she never had.
GOD Maybe so. Your life is her biggest project. She can't help but want it to turn out well.
GIRL Yeah... I guess.
GIRL He- Hey, god? Why do you need that telescope? I mean, can't you just sort of see everything?
GOD Oh. Well, this actually does the opposite. My problem is that I see too much at one time. Like you said 'I see everything.' This helps me focus on what needs my attention.
GIRL Ca- Can I see?
GOD Sure. Come on up.
GIRL climbs the chair towards GOD. When she gets to the top she peers into the telescope. She sees a single car driving on the highway late at night. The vision slowly pulls in closer to the car. The vision becomes perpindicular with the car looking in the passenger window. The window is fogged up and hard to see through. It slowly begins to roll down and she sees a girl at the wheel. The girl's head is nodding slowly. GIRL finally realizes it is her at the wheel, where she was before she began her talk with GOD. We see a lit joint in her hand right before she the car crashes head on with a semi truck! Dramatic ending!!! Don't do drugs!!!
"We thought all this teaching was to make us smart. What it did was make us stupid. With all the little facts we learned, we never had the time to think."I'm glad I read it. It get's a 4/5.
This weekend I went to the Wham City Round Robin, which was a handful of bands set up in a circle with the audience in the middle. There was then four rounds where each band played a song. It was great because the bands really varied in style from one another.
One of the best performances was from Ecstatic Sunshine. Here are a few MP3s:
Little Dipper Big Dipper
Alsoooooo, here is a clip of their performance on vimeo:click. Enough!
I'm not sure it's better anywhere else, but the American education system is retarded.
Despite thaaat, I found out I might graduate almost a year early, which is rad city.
Letchworth State Park
Zach suggested visiting Letchworth State Park, so I went this past weekend, and it was great. I really like train tracks and waterfalls, so it was and awesome scene.
Paragraph from a New Yorker Will Wright article:
“The problem with our education system is we’ve taken this kind of narrow, reductionist, Aristotelian approach to what learning is,” he told me. “It’s not designed for experimenting with complex systems and navigating your way through them in an intuitive way, which is what games teach. It’s not really designed for failure, which is also something games teach. I mean, I think that failure is a better teacher than success. Trial and error, reverse-engineering stuff in your mind—all the ways that kids interact with games—that’s the kind of thinking schools should be teaching. And I would argue that as the world becomes more complex, and as outcomes become less about success or failure, games are better at preparing you. The education system is going to realize this sooner or later. It’s starting. Teachers are entering the system who grew up playing games. They’re going to want to engage with the kids using games.”(via Kottke.org)
"The frustrating thing about writing down your thoughts in a journal is that there is a physical record of your shortcomings. The same place you go to for comfort to pour out your heart is the same place you record your embarrassingly filthy sexual fantasies."
... some rant about mediocrity being praised ...
"...people constantly looking for anything to induce temporary brain damage to escape the harshness of genuine emotion..."
"That's why I'm proposing a mandatory recording of a person's thoughts. Then there will be a weekly review of the thoughts."
"November 2nd: I woke up from a bad dream where I was fighting a cat that kept attacking my head. I'm pretty sure the cat was black. My legs felt sweaty when I woke up. It was about 3 or 4 when I woke up from it."
"November 6th: I was in a field, sort of a playground type area and there were a lot of bees. A dark figure in a beekeeper uniform was spraying that stuff at me so the bees would go away. There was also a short dream before that where I cut my own hair but accidentally cut a big part out and it looked really bad."
The past few weeks I've found myself doing things very out of character. Like avoiding work I know I have to do in order to do something really pointless. I usually never do this, and the past couple weeks I've caught myself doing it constantly. I've just felt odd and sort of ill.
Well, last night around 8 o'clock, as I was about to get out of my last class, I started feeling really strange. I'm not sure how to describe it. It was sort of like being on drugs, but at the same time it felt as if I were being altered. As I was walking towards my car I found myself sort of stumbling every few steps and my back felt like it was being pressed on.
Haha, so that was pretty weird. My thought process was still normal, but I was having to compensate for these physical hiccups. I drove home, cautiously, and crawled into bed, but I wasn't able to sleep. My body temperature was rapidly switching between really hot and really cold.
Then it got weird. There was a moment where I started thinking about death, and if I died what I would have wanted people to have known. Not specific individuals, but more of a summation of what I thought was important in life. Sort of advice.
My first instinct was to lay still and not move, but I forced myself to get some paper and a pen and wrote out the thoughts I was having. Something about this act helped calm me down. I think it also forced me to reevaluate the things I think are important to being happy.
Anyway, the rest of the night I barely slept and just sort of laid in my bed feeling this way. I tried to diagnose what was wrong with me and I was almost sure it was a fever, but when I woke up the next morning I felt relatively normal. It also felt like I shed whatever was making me feel like someone else. I guess that sounds kind of dramatic, but I dunno, believe it or don't.
I still have a bit of a headache and I'm coughing a little, so I don't know what is wrong.
But yah, that was fun. Also, De La Soul is awesome.
I noticed this handy feature today. If Gmail robots detect a UPS tracking number in the body of the email it give you a direct link to the tracking page. Killer or what!?
A few things that would be nice to have:
-Digital cameras to have wifi built in and wirelessly transmit photos to a computer, or to a service like flickr
-A bag with more pockets to seperate things
-A universal identification / payment card so I wouldn't need a school ID, drivers license, credit cards, etc.
-A phone built into my shoe, cus I bet chicks would dig that
-Scratch proof surfaces for electronic devices
-Pants that somehow attach to my shoes so they wouldn't hike up when I'm sitting down and reveal my socks
-Wireless earbud headphones, or audio brain implant
-The universal card should also open all my doors annnnd start my car, something to eliminate keys
-Something to reduce the number of cables necessary for electronic stuff
-In the shoe that doesn't have a phone in it, there should be a box cutter knife, cus now that I don't have keys i'll need something like that
While cleaning up my room I found the following awesome things:
1. The quick release part of a tripod, which I thought I had lost.
2. Two sweaters that I thought were ugly before, but now seem alright.
3. A copy of SimIsle. I remember being overwhelmed by the game in 1995, when I was 10 years old. So it'll be neat to see if I can get it running and/or how complicated it is now that I'm older.
Yay for new perspectives on old things!
The above is a wallpaper called 'Light' designed by Corrine Ulmann and Isamu Kandu. It's designed to look like light that's coming in a window, but it's printed on the wallpaper. I couldn't find any pictures of it on a whole room to see what it would look like, but it seems like a great idea.
I saw Stranger Than Fiction last night with my brother. I liked it a lot, but I'm not sure how it would hold up on multiple viewings. However, there was some awesome graphic design work on the opening sequence. I'm not sure how to describe it any further, but it's super cool. If you're into that sort of thing at all, check it out. And if you're not, maybe check it out anyway.
The trailer is a little misleading, possibly on purpose, in suggesting the movie is a comedy. It has some really funny moments, but it's actually pretty serious. That really caught me off gaurd, so heads up.
Also, Maggie Gyllenhaal is super cute.
This article on Concentrated Solar Power makes me want to learn more about, well... solar power.
Click for a bigger version
How this came about:
Me: What's a way to say I've been trying to get something that probably isn't even achievable?
Me2: You could say you're "chasing unicorns"?
Me: Oh man, that's amazing! That's exactly what I was trying to say! I don't believe it!
Five minutes later
Me: Thanks again, it's so perfect!
Me2: I dunno...
Me2: It's pretty fuckin' gay...
Me: Oh. Yeah... It is isn't it...
Draws the above illustration.
From this PDF:
A sure way to keep from making static, lifeless drawings is to think of drawing “verbs” instead
of “nouns”. Basically, a noun names a person place, or thing; a verb asserts, or expresses
action, a state of being, or an occurrence.