Dec 29, 2010

Camera on Sword

1) How has no one thought of this before. 2) How did they not think to pair this video with what it looks like from a normal POV?

Dec 24, 2010

Event Reviews @ The Temple

Beauty and the Beast – Well it will be pretty hard to disentangle this one from emotion, so I won’t bother, just take that as a caveat. This was pretty cool. First my complaints – the show was more kid oriented than I expected. Maybe that makes me stupid, and I did expect it would be focused there. It was just moreso than I thought. Very silly humor, very slapsticky. Sometimes just a funny face and a “wah wah".” If it was a movie, I’d say it was very bad. As a musical in an audience 25% under 10, it gets away with it. 2nd thing was Lumiere, he was way too over the top. He is clearly a man who has seen/played 20 years of Lumiere, so he’s become a caricature of himself. For christ’s sake, it took him 30 minutes between “Be” “"our” and "guest'” That number, by the way, was probably my least favorite, surprisingly. I thought I would really like it, and it certainly seems like its meant to be the big thing. It didn’t really go for me, though. It felt a little under budget, not grand enough. Lastly Mrs. Potts accent was just about the worst thing I’ve ever heard. Not only was it a horrendous british accent, she couldn’t seem to decide if she was cockney or posh, it was ridiculous. On the other hand, the music is fantastic. The Belle song, beauty and the beast, the mob song, the library song, all awesome. The bar song with this amazing glass clinking dance thing was super cool. I used more words on complaining than complimenting, but that’s not what I mean. Overall it was really just a lot of fun and really enjoyable.

Don’t Steal a Hacker’s Computer

This is pretty awesome. Really long, but worth it.

Dec 17, 2010

Word Lens

Cool idea, if it really works that well (which I’m sure it doesn’t yet, but still).

Dec 14, 2010

Book Reviews @ The Temple

Life and Times of Michael K by J.M. Coetzee – Wow it’s been a long time since I read a book! This is a pretty weird one. It’s about a guy, in South Africa during the war (I’m going to have to leave “the war” vague cuz I know fuck all about it cuz I’m a bad american). He tries to take his mom to the country to live out her days, things happen, he goes on a weird journey. It’s an extraordinarily odd story, the strongest feeling I can attach to it is actually post-apocalyptic. Traveling between towns, living in the moutnains, avoiding the army, it feels like he’s living after the world done got effed up. It’s actually a cool feeling, so that’s not a bad thing. The book is broken into parts, the vast majority is this weird semi-life of his, then two shorter sections. The first from a different person’s perspective, trying to take care of him, the second back to him finishing out his story. I don’t really know what to think about it. It feels, more than anything, like it’s supposed to have a point. It seems extraordinarily particular to not have some kind of moral before it. The story is very well written. It’s captivating (and short, which helps) and is very carefully written. This was not thrown together to tell an exciting jaunt, it feels very specific. And I can only think that means it should have greater meaning. I’m not sure what that meaning is, though. Certainly there is this idea of living close to nature, living a simple completely isolated life. Not just simple, as minimalistic as humanly possible. In fact, more than is humanly possible as I don’t see anyone surviving this life in the real world. It is as broken down to the bones as any story could be. But I can’t find anything deeper than that. Both the other person’s reaction to him in the second chapter and the finale point to some sort of understanding of this man’s choice of life. But it seems like neither a cautionary tale nor advice. Perhaps his life is presented as pure. But by no means is it presented as good, or even possible for a real person. It’s an odd book and I’m unsure what to think. Very well written, crafted I’d say. But I’m left with a certain lack, after reading it. Like I was peaking through a window to look on a completely different life and, but then the window closed and I just went back to mine, not particularly affected…… Brief update – went to a book club for this (weird, huh?) and was given one idea that I find interesting. That this book is actually a commentary on homeless people. A guy, who goes into things with good intentions, his life goes awry, he ends up a wackaloon who is just trying to survive. The one loose end that theory ties up is the last chapter that involves these weird young people who use Michael K almost as a plaything. Looking at it in the context of how we, as a group, treat homeless people (bum fights?), it becomes more interesting. I’m not sure that that’s a definitive answer, but it’s an interesting thought.

Team of Rivals by Doris Goodwin – Well I finally got to this book! Gawdam is it long. 31 CDs long! Fortunately that’s just a corner of my mp3 player. It’s pretty fascinating. I am, as always, very uneducated about history. So there were aspects of Lincoln’s presidency that I didn’t know about though they must be pretty commonly known. The structure of the book is interesting. Rather than talk about just Lincoln, she talks (with almost equal length!) about his 3 rivals for the Republican nomination for president – Seward, Chase, and Bates. He pulls each of these men into his cabinet (as well as some democrats) in order to have a variety of ideas. Comparing their lives and personalities is really interesting. Lincoln’s greatness is all the brighter for being compared to these men, both in that they were also great, and in that they were sometimes very far from great. Seward in particular is at first his fiercest detractor, then becomes his most loyal ally as secretary of state. Chase, meanwhile, is a fucking asshole and from the beginning to end of Lincoln’s presidency is acting only in his own interest and trying to steal the office. But Lincoln is the star, of course, and it’s astounding the man he was. Granted this book is biased, it’s about his greatness, but wow. I read that Washington book, he was impressive, but he was very very flawed. Lincoln is nearly superhuman, as portrayed in this book. His intelligence and grace and control is just remarkable. I can’t imagine what the country would have been without him, and I’m sad to imagine what else it could have been with more of him. The book also seems to be a lesson in moderacy. I’m not all that moderate. Stewart/Colbert rally aside, I’m pretty firmly in the left camp and think most of the right are either heartless or morons. But here Lincoln is in the midst of slavery, and he argues JUST to stop the spread of slavery to the new states. Not to give them rights, not to let them vote, not to count them equal to a white man, not even to free them. Just stop the spread. Baby steps. That leads to emancipation. And that of course leads to rights, even if it took us 100 years. Yes, we can all absolutely say it was wrong from beginning to end and the “right” thing to do would have been complete equality, immediately. But if the republicans had nominated a “radical” who wanted immediate emancipation, he would have lost, and slavery would have continued for who knows how long. Not only continued, but infected the new states. Lincoln’s moderacy may have saved the cause. I can’t help but imagine the parallel’s to now. Gays should have full rights, we should have full health care, we should take 75% of our defense BS and put it in schools and research. But maybe Dennis Kucinich will never win and if he got nominated would just insure another Bush in the whitehouse. Maybe someone needs to be up there giving us ONLY half assed health care, so in 10 years we’ll have the right one. It’s pretty interesting, I think, even if my nature rebels against it.

The Brothers Mario

This fake trailer is genius. Not just the concept, but the direction and assets are really pretty fantastic.

Dec 13, 2010

Jump Ropers

I know watching jump roping for 8 minutes seems like a ridiculous idea. But I promise you this is the craziest shit you’ve ever seen. If the US gov’t had any sense, they’d recruit these girls into some sort of insane ninja fucking strike force.

The Pale Blue Dot

I kind of fail as a nerd, science type person, and person in general for not having ever read or seen anything Carl Sagan. Some day when I have nothing to do (ha!) I’ll go watch Cosmos. But until then, this seems like a good start.

Dec 7, 2010

Princess Bride Light Sabers

I don’t normally use ‘epic’. When warren specter and disney have co-opted a word, it’s fairly played out. Nonetheless – epic.

Dec 3, 2010

Candlelight – The Maccabeats

I’d never actually heard the original cuz I’m not cool, I’ve since seen it, and it’s not that good! Then this guy did this version, which is really cool. But this is pretty awesome for a bunch of dorky jewish boys.