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Exit ArchiveArchive for April, 2007

We finished shooting episode 5 of Life from the Inside about a week ago. Which means there are three fun-filled episodes you have not seen!

I know, I know. You’re simply feeble with desire to imbibe more LFTI. You can’t get enough. You know every moment of the first two episode by heart. Well, hang in there, you comedy lush, you. Episode 3 is on the way. Soon. Very soon.

In the meantime, go check out Robb’s blog to see some pictures from the episode 3 shoot. Viewing these photos should make you break out in a cold sweat of anticipation. To start that sweat now, I’ve stolen (yes, officially stolen) one of the pics to post here.

Life from the Inside Episode 3 Surprise

I know you want to know what the hell is going on in that picture, but you won’t. Not yet. But very soon. Yes, very soon.

I myself have only seen moments from episode 3, so I’m just as goosbumpy as you are to see it in its entirety. And imagine: two more episodes are in the can! My God, it’s simply too much to look forward to!

Permalink Comments Off on I Couldn’t Agree More Yadda YaddaComments Off on I Couldn’t Agree More Yadda Yadda By

As I’ve mentioned before, The Onion is not nearly as funny as it used to be—though some of its new video clips are amusing—but I have to pass along the following article, which just about sums up everything exactly as I wish I had thought to do:

Middle East Conflict Intensifies As Blah Blah Blah, Etc. Etc.

I think my first sentence up above there might be a run-on. Yes, I should definitely submit it to the Run-On Detection Engine, just to see…

Permalink Comments Off on A Little Bit of Stephen Fry in the MorningsComments Off on A Little Bit of Stephen Fry in the Mornings By

Instead of a blaring noise to shatter you out of sleep each morning, how about a fun and perfectly-spoken phrase in the Queen’s English? Read by none-other than Stephen Fry?

I knew sir would be pleased. If I may gently steer your attention toward the Voco clock

Permalink Comments Off on Doing Too Much. Doing Enough.Comments Off on Doing Too Much. Doing Enough. By

The VT situation brings too many questions to mind that can be discussed in one sitting. But here’s something to consider: Are violent writings enough to toss someone in jail?

A town in Oklahoma thought so, with typically head-shaking results.

Sometimes there’s simply nothing you can do about this sort of thing. The kid in Oklahoma was the victim of emotional overreaction not long after Columbine. In his situation, there certainly should have been questions about what he wrote, but once it became clear he was not a threat, the persecution should have ended.

The reactions to Seung’s writings were, perhaps a bit ironically in this context, appropriate. And his stalking of women was noted and investigated, but there were no other reasons to take more drastic action.

I do not know what more could have been done. Seung was one sick fuck, and you can’t prevent a disaster like this any more than you can prevent a glass of water being bumped off the edge of a table.

“But you can prevent a glass of water being bumped off the edge of a table.” Sure, okay. You can move it away from the edge. You can make sure you stay away from the water. You can move the water to another, unused table. You can even take the glass to the sink, pour the water down the drain, and shut the glass in a cupboard.

Over absolutely nothing, the kid in Oklahoma had his water dumped out and his glass shut away. Seung’s glass was moved a tiny bit away from the edge of the table, but not much. A good bump to the table, and the glass still tips.

The tragedy of VT is magnified considering that, really, we probably did all we could have done. In this insane, crazy world, sometimes the cruel and lunatic take some of us with them. In America, where those who need help are considered weak and the strong are only meant to watch out for themselves, this kind of tragedy is inevitable.

No, I have not blogged about my car getting hit and then getting fixed, or about the fun-filled birthday day my friends held for me, or about my three-week stint with a gastrointestinal parasite. Nope. Better to post stuff like this:

Some site called Showbiz Notes has posted some amusing, sarcastic “salutes” to different marketing types. Since I bitch about marketing people several times a week, you can understand how much these little trifles made me warm inside. [NOTE: That site is no longer with us (already), but I found some lower-quality versions of the files and am hosting them here now.]

A couple of them are less funny, dealing more with the kind of people you find in any office, but they are still worth a listen.

The link to “Miss I Don’t Know How to View a Rough Cut Lady” doesn’t work right, so I’m just gonna link to all the audio clips here. But do click the link above to read more about these clips.

Miss I Don’t Know How to View a Rough Cut Lady

Mr. Impossible Promo Approval Guy

Mr. Asking Us to Think Outside the Box Guy

Mr. Cutting a Promo for a Lame Show Guy

Miss Small Talk in the Elevator Girl

Mr. Waiting for the Conference Room Man

As an added bonus, here’s a song I think anyone in marketing or design can appreciate: Make the Logo Bigger.

Thanks to Sven for finding these.

Permalink Comments Off on I Really Shouldn’t Post Anything about VTComments Off on I Really Shouldn’t Post Anything about VT By

Who would come here to get any info on the shootings at Virginia Tech? Why would anyone come here? Why should I even post anything? What can I say that hasn’t been said?

I just find two things of incredible interest and want to put it down here.

The first is a set of plays written by Seung Cho, the killer. One is “Richard McBeef;” the second is “Mr. Brownstone.” Both are terrible plays in every way, written by a secluded, ignorant guy who had no working knowledge of the real world. Seung had no talent whatsoever. It’s an interesting glimpse into his head.

Second is this video on CNN.com (I hope that link works). Of course, the awkwardness of the interviewer, the silly “newsiness” of her on-air delivery, is depressing to watch. But when this guy, Zach, breaks down at the end, it’s truly moving.

How do you get to a point where you can walk around, killing strangers point-blank? Watching their faces and seeing them die? I mean, if you’re not trained to do so by the military? It is not terribly surprising that these people always end up killing themselves. Do they kill themselves in the end when they realize that what they’ve done is unforgivable and they will most likely die anyway at the hands of the state? Or is it the capper on the emotional swell of hatred and self-loathing that started them on the rampage in the first place? Is that the eventual goal? Kill yourself, but take others with you first? All this has been asked before, but it comes up every time.

I’m sure there are some good books on this subject out there somewhere.

Permalink Comments Off on So Much for 27B Stroke 6Comments Off on So Much for 27B Stroke 6 By

I recently mentioned a blog I read on the Wired site called 27 B Stroke 6.

Well, sadly, they are changing their name to something less clever and creative: “Threat Level.” How… interesting. How… thought-provoking. Pshaw!

I have been a subscriber to Wired for many years. The reason I never read it much when it first came out is because it was so over-designed as to be difficult to read. Magazines are… what? Anybody? Yes, read. A difficult-to-read magazine is useless.

Thankfully, Wired‘s loony design got toned down and I started subscribing once I realized what a great magazine it actually was.

Well, actually, that’s kind of a lie. I subscribed once I noticed they were offering the mag for $12 a year. Wow! A bargain!

During my readership, Wired has undergone three major redesigns. I think I can safely say only the first one was a success. The last two are horrible.

The first mistake, this being from the second redesign (I think), was making stories continue in the back of the magazine. For years, Wired stories were printed in a continuous flow, ending before the next article began. But that was changed, and now you have to flip way back into the magazine to finish reading an article. This sucks. I hate magazines that do this. It is inconvenient to read and bookmark.

The second mistake was the fonts. Oh, the FONTS! The second redesign brought the text of the magazine back to the nearly unreadable zone. I can suffer very small text, but when it’s small and thin, forget it. This style lasted a couple years.

The last redesign, which happened sometime last year, was yucky. The first change that brought the magazine from “cool” to “pedestrian” was the size. Wired went from being a wide-format magazine, which is nice to hold and imparted a bit of specialness, to being a normal size, which is… normal. Dull.

The last redesign also brought a bunch of “new” fonts, designed specifically for the magazine. Oh, the FONTS! They suck. Often, the font meant for body text is blown up huge for headlines and such, and the font is butt-ass-ugly at larger sizes. And the multiple fonts used do not harmonize well together, nor have I really been able to determine when a certain font is used for what, meaning they are all just tossed in whenever and make the magazine look junky.

Maybe to offset this now-ugly monthly experience, I recently subscribed to Print magazine. (Yes, that Print.) It is a model of beauty. The typesetting is pristine and high-class. The fonts are readable. The layout is thoughtful and pleasing. It makes the people designing Wired look like junior high students just learning InDesign.

What does all this have to do with 27B Stroke 6? Only this: Wired‘s changes, both online and off, have smacked of Corporateness. Wired used to have this rebellious spirit about it, but that’s definitely changed. The magazine is now almost dull. Any hipness it tries to impart seems forced, like Cargo or something. I still enjoy the info I get from it, but it’s no longer my destination magazine.

The name change for 27B Stroke 6 is another sign of this. The old name was amusing and clever. If not everyone got what it meant, so the hell what? For God’s sake let some people be in the dark about something. Let there be something to discover about something. But corporate marketings desire the exact opposite of this. It’s a shame.

At least the new Wired.com redesign is an actual improvement. The site has sucked for quite a long time now, design- and coding-wise. At least now it’s cleaner and easier to use.

Permalink Comments Off on Musical DumbkopferyComments Off on Musical Dumbkopfery By

I was hoping this appeal would turn out differently, but it didn’t. Am I really surprised?

For a few years now, I’ve been truly loving listening to Radio Paradise (easy playing available through the Radio area of iTunes, under the Alternative section). Through commercial-free RP, I have discovered some great new music. I have bought many CDs based on my RP listening, including three by Joseph Arthur. I have blown cash to buy numerous fantastic songs on iTunes that I’d heard first on RP. Check out some of my favorites (iTunes Store links, all):

“Annie Waits” by Ben Folds

“Luminol” by Ryan Adams

“(I’m Gonna) Kick You Out” by Caesars

“Nature Boy” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

“Blonde on Blonde” by Nada Surf

“Collapse the Light into Earth” by Porcupine Tree

and many, many more.

You see what’s going to happen? If SoundExchange wins out in the end and gets to charge much higher fees for music played on the Internet, a tiny station like Radio Paradise might go under. Most likely will go under. Other Internet radio stations might have to start including commercials. And just like I did with terrestrial radio, I’ll stop listening. I won’t discover nearly as much good music, and my money won’t be spent on buying that music on iTunes or at Amoeba or Amazon.

I have donated money to Radio Paradise twice. But I’m sure I’m one of the rare listeners who does. If the greed of the music industry shoots this particular outlet dead, they will once again have alienated those for whom the music is made, and they’ll be getting less of my money in the end.

Morons!

In case you missed the link in the story above, here’s the earlier story about the fee increase case.

Permalink Comments Off on Studio FoamComments Off on Studio Foam By

Giant blocks of foam at Walt Disney Studios

Here is Marcy standing next to some giant blocks of foam at Disney Studios. They use these to carve out sets, like caves and cliffs, or to pack and ship extremely large action figure collectibles.

Permalink Comments Off on “These Days, Male or Female, United Just Loathes You All.”Comments Off on “These Days, Male or Female, United Just Loathes You All.” By

How good of United Airlines to notice that women are… different from men.

Funny how a forward-thinking ad from the ’60s can seem so absolutely inappropriate today. Which makes what I’m about to say absolutely inappropriate: I’d hate to be on the wrong end of that woman’s happy meter. I imagine Miranda Priestly has nothing on this chick. Cardinali? Is that her name? Well, I guess when you’re as stylish and weathy as Cardinali, you can afford to bathe in vats of bitchitude.

Oh, and the YouTube comments on this video? Ridiculous. Why are 95% of the comments on YouTube absolutely moronic? Maybe it’s time to kick the trash off the Internet!

Permalink Comments Off on How Much Time Will We Have Wasted?Comments Off on How Much Time Will We Have Wasted? By

…My guess? About 30 seconds.

Get a Mac: Flashback

Yes, it’s the new Get a Mac Flashback ad.

If you feel like wasting another half-minute, check out the new Cart ad.

Permalink Comments Off on Blue Fuz and the Horrible, No Good PCHComments Off on Blue Fuz and the Horrible, No Good PCH By

NOTE: I wrote this on Thursday but did not get a chance to proof it and post it until now. I left all the timings the same.

Fuz, my new boyfriend, found out yesterday that a friend of his died. Ariel and his dad, producer/director Bob Clark, were killed by a drunk driver on the PCH.

Fuz told me this last night, late. This was following a major ordeal trying to get a huge-ass armoire Fuz had bought on Criag’s List up the narrow stairwells of his apartment building, which in turn followed a night of rehearsal on episode 5 of Life from the Inside. It was, overall, a tiring night.

We were eating Apple Jacks and Froot Loops we’d bought that afternoon at Costco. With vanilla Silk. It tasted okay. Fuz said, “I have something to tell you,” which means nothing really good.

It was difficult to know what to do. I was so tired, and this was quite some shocking news. I mostly just remained quiet, expressing my sorrow for him and commenting on what a horrible way that was to have to go. Fuz and Ariel had been trying to get together for a while to have dinner, but could never make the time, and were finally going to make sure they got together sometime next week. But now it won’t happen.

When I first started working at Disney, I was the receptionist in the foyer of a former warehouse which contained the Home Video I.S. department. I just sat there all day, answering some phones from time to time, greeting the rare visitor, and e-mailing my friends whose cubicles were just inside the door. I still have these friends today: Michelle, Carol, Marcy (who would come on the scene later), and Steve.

Back in those days, it was not unusual for a few of us to tool up the coast several times a summer to spend the day at El Matador beach. Steve and I took just such a trip one weekend day.

The traffic on the PCH was horrible, the kind of non-moving mass I was coming to learn was common in L.A. At one point, I turned to Steve and said, “I hope this is something like an accident. If I’m waiting in this kind of traffic, it better be for a good reason.”

Of course, it was a “good” reason. An accident. A horrible one. A completely maimed Mercedes convertible, mostly just a twisted wreck, and some other American car. A big thing. This was in the time before SUV overpopulation, so it was probably a Taurus or something. I can’t recall. Whatever it was, it and the Mercedes had hit each other head-on at high speed.

I felt horrible that I had said what I’d said. An accident like that rarely leaves anyone alive.

The traffic was still snarled many hours later, as we were driving back down the coast. I said nothing except maybe to comment on how incredible it was that one accident could cause so much traffic. Life and smooth traffic are both tenuous in L.A.

Back in the warehouse foyer on Monday, doing something no-doubt time-wasting but ultimately more creative than anything I do these days, one of the I.S. guys came in, someone I chatted with often. That morning, he was morose. I asked him if he was okay. He told me a friend of his had gotten killed in a car accident over the weekend, and he was very upset about it.

Deep down, I knew exactly where this was going. Just as you do now. When I got up my nerve, I asked, as carefully as possible, where the accident had happened. Of course, it was the one Steve and I had seen on the PCH. The I.S. guy told me his friend had been riding in a Mercedes convertible. She had been riding with a guy no one knew.

The I.S. fellow’s emotions were particularly bruised because he hadn’t seen his friend for a while, and they were supposed to have dinner in a couple days. But now it wasn’t going to happen.

The coincidence was quite horrifying. Oh, it was exciting, too, deep down, but in a sickening way.

Steve and I related our story to our friends later that day. I told them that so-and-so actually knew one of the people in the accident. But Carol had one more twist to add to the story.

At the time, Carol had a fiancé named Mike, who had a buddy who worked at a car dealership. Mike’s friend had told Mike that one of the guys at the dealership had been killed in a horrible car accident on the PCH over the weekend. He was in one of the dealership’s Mercedes, and was riding with a woman that none of them knew.

I didn’t tell any of this to Fuz last night, even though it all went through my head while I was shoveling Apple Jacks into my not-really-hungry but bored maw. I also didn’t bring up Amelia’s death last year. I wanted to, just to kind of show that I understood what he was feeling. But a three-way coincidence and a child’s death weren’t really going to be helpful now. I know I can’t really do or say anything useful. I just need to be there for him if he needs me.

As for the now-vanished day trips up the coast, those newbie Angelino salad days long ago made way for a too-busy, same-old-grind lifestyle that keeps us from being more carefree. Maybe that’s what happens as you age and settle. You have to make up for it with more extravagant plans, like the upcoming weekend trip Marcy and Carol and Sven and I are taking to Austin to meet up with Michelle, who now lives in Connecticut. Flying to Texas for three days is our new El Matador beach day. Yet these sorts of get-togethers are still too rare, and I’m not exactly enthused about being aware that one day, every one of us will feel some pain over a loss made more bitter due to procrastination of friendship.

Permalink Comments Off on The Fastest Train in the UniverseComments Off on The Fastest Train in the Universe By

The French have broken a rail speed record with the test of their V150 passenger train. While I enjoyed my 135-mph trip on the TGV in 2004, I certainly wouldn’t have minded upping that speed to 350 mph.

Go here to see an awesome (in the true sense of the word, not the Cali surfer sense of the word) video of the record-breaking run, as well as videos of past record-breakers. Also at that link are more interesting things about TGV, HSL, and the technology and design of super fast choo-choos. “Long live tomorrow!”

NOTE: The site the above liked to is no longer working. Here is the video from YouTube:

Here are some interesting bits from the Web thing today.

First: Translations of the Japanese Get a Mac ads. Just in case I haven’t talked about these ads enough.

Second: An AP reporter gets zapped by the Air Force’s “pain gun.” How scary is this pain gun concept, anyway? Yikes! I suppose the intellectual question would be, is it worse to be shot with a physical bullet, or by a spooky, unseen force? The ignorant, liberal question would be, why should anyone have to be shot at all?

Third: The recent vicinity of George Orwell’s former flat is currently being surveilled by no less than 32 cameras. George’s flat was number 27B. The name of the Wired blog I got this from is called 27B Stroke 6. It’s named after the form in Brazil with which Sam tortures the Central Services grunts—and vice-versa. And now I have an even larger appreciation for the brilliance of the Brazil screenplay.