Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Octobovlog!


Update: They are STILL on about the poltergeist. Today they were trying out ghost hunting apps on their Ipods.

Also, I am terrible at
A: looking at the camera
and
B: Staying on subject

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tubas and Life-Altering Experiences.

Hello again friends! Today is Tuesday August 31st, my second day of college classes at the New England School of Communications (NESCom). I moved in Saturday, bringing only a few things with me (according to everyone else anyway, I think my provisions are perfectly adequate) then I sat through a rather uninteresting convocation ceremony followed by a really awesome Freshman seminar session involving a 12 camera set-up, live band (River Bottom Funk), ESPN rep, and just general awesomeness. It is something to note that most of the parents were enjoying the band while the student (well, the video students anyway) were intently staring at the glorious equipment and its smooth operation.

I live in Carlisle Hall on the third floor, which, interestingly, is on ground level. As is the first and second floor. No I don't really understand that either. My roommate is also a video major and we get along pretty well, he just likes to sleep a lot more than I do. Met two other video majors right nearby so we all started hanging out together. We all get along quite well, although our sleep schedules vary somewhat (and I thought I slept in late).


We took the opportunity to go to the American Folk Festival down on the Bangor Waterfront. Mostly we just wandered around aimlessly in a big circle back to where the bus was going to pick us up. None of the venues really interested us. However, once we got back to the bus stop we discovered a marching band and dance group playing the crowd. In the back of the band there were 8 tuba players. We sat down on the side next to this group and watched. The closest tuba guy to us was about the most energetic tuba player I have ever seen. I mean this guy was on fire. We all agreed that "tuba guy" was the most entertaining part of the day.


Monday went by slowly as I made sure to be really early to all my classes to be sure I wasn't late or in the wrong location. Ironically, in my very first class (Video 1) I came in early and waited as the 40 or so other students filed in. About five or ten minutes before class started this grizzled old dude comes in and sits down and starts talking to us. Takes about six minutes before he mentions his name as Mr. Baker (or something) and someone pipes up that their schedule lists Mr. Vachon as the teacher and is this Video 1 class? Mr. B gives a blank stare for a moment and replies "I'm the small business teacher."

At this point every single person in the room gets up to leave, indicating that it wasn't just a few messed up schedules but the entire class. Mr. B told us to stay and went off to find his class. Luckily Mr. Vachon showed up a few minutes later and we started class.

My other classes have been pretty cool and I'm excited to really get into them. College life just feels right to me. Like I've been waiting for this my entire life. NESCom is just fantastic and I can actually see for the first time the direction my life is going. I hope once I finish the latest John Green book I'm reading I'll get around to doing at least one video blog so y'all can see my dorm room. Best of luck to everyone else in college!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Swan's Island Lacks Internet

Read 'An Abundance of Katherines' by vlogbrother John Green. Then World War Z. Love vacation. Have time 4 things like reading & Hazards. Looking for deer 2 film

Friday, July 9, 2010

Maine Student Film and Video Festival

Good news! News which most if not all of you already know because Facebook is always my first outlet for news. I entered into the Maine Student Film and Video Festival with the Script Frenzy promotional video. Last week while I was counseling night camp I got a call from Tim Ouellette, the guy who runs the contest, informing me that I was a finalist! The video will be screened on July 17th at the Waterville Opera House as part of the Maine International Film Festival (MIFF). The showing will be at 12:30. Apparently I get some sort of award. As far as I know there's no entry fee for this part of the festival. I'm pretty darned excited.

Still no progress on Hazards. Impossible to find time while I'm at camp. Hoping for an August revival at the very latest. Think I'm going to go hit the sack for now though. Tomorrow leaving the dusty, grimy, glory of camp for the clean, humming, order of Rambler Productions headquarters. I love the woods, but I'm a techno geek at heart. Anyway, g'night all!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mobile Post 3 (Updated)

First day of camp. Call sign:Chewbacca. Busy all day. No comp yet. Saw Robin Hood yestday, good but slow. Wooo camp food. Just relizd this is like tweting damn.
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So I really don't like doing the whole "mobile posting" thing, despite the fact that I've been using them a lot recently. While my phone isn't quite as limited as a tweet (160 characters as opposed to 140) it still isn't very satisfying for me or probably for you to leave just a short blurb. However, until I had access to my new laptop my phone was about the only way I could post at all.

One of the things Maintenance here at Camp Mechuwana is trying out this year is the use of walkie-talkies to communicate with each other. I don't think there are many things as fun as a walkie-talkie that are also as useful. Aside from the handy ability to communicate with my fellows a walkie-talkie instantly makes you feel like a badass. Especially if you're normally a nerdy nerd like me. Walkie-talkies are like the perfect combination of nerdy and tough. Add the badassery of a cool call-sign and you have a damn good time.

We've spent a lot of the week coming up with proper call-signs for ourselves. At one point Jarod decided Landon would be Lando Calrissian, Jarod would be Han Solo, I would be Chewbacca, and the truck was the Millenium Falcon. This agreed with me. However it left the problem of who would be Luke, Leia, Darth Vader, Yoda, etc. So we scrapped that one and moved on to real radio call-signs. You may not be familiar with the name of the "NATO phonetic alphabet" but I'm sure you're familiar with some of the content.

Using a person's initials, you change A to Alpha, B to Bravo, etc. This is often used by the military. For a full list of the phonetic alphabet, click here. Using this method, I am Sierra Romeo, Dylan is Delta Tango, and Jarod (best of all) is Juliet Romeo. Jarod wants to change the letter J. This system isn't perfect either because it isn't very fun to call someone Sierra Sierra if their initials are "SS" or any other double letter. I only just now solved that by researching that link above. For a repeat letter you simply can switch to the Western Union version. Thus "SS" becomes Sierra Sugar.

So I've been sitting in the Commons here neglecting to go to the Music Theater camp's show down below in Asbury Theatre because I want internet. I need the tubes that connect me to the world. Which is good, cause I had quite a bit of catching up to do.

But now I can check off updating my blog from my list of things to do. I know it isn't technically a NEW post, but it's certainly a big add-on.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mobile Post 2 (Updated)

Prjct Grad. Alfond waterville. Bouncing castles. Infltble obstacle crse. P-pong. Foosball. Great friends. Good food. One of best nights evr. Carpe Nostrum Diem.
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It's kind of obnoxious how short my mobile posts have to be and how I cannot add a title till I reach a computer, but I thought that 3AM at project grad right after I completed my high school career was a time when a mobile post made a lot of sense. However, I'm still exhausted, so I'm going to update this post with more content later.

IT IS NOW LATER! Contrary to the timestamp on this post, it is now 10 PM on Friday, June 18. In response to the comment below by Chris, Hazards is currently an unknown. I really have no idea what is going to happen to it. I'm hoping to work that out in the coming week or two.

I'm here to first off talk about graduating from high school, project grad, and how it really is time to carpe nostrum diem. If you've been wondering why I've been spouting Latin despite my complete lack of Latin knowledge it is because my class' salutatorian, Cody Dennet, gave a wonderful speech in which he encouraged our class with those words, meaning "Seize our day." While I wouldn't say that Cody's speech inspired me to seize this time of opportunity in my life, he did give me a nifty catch phrase/battle cry to attribute to this new section of my life.

This new section of my life where the words homeroom and study hall no longer have meaning, where homework means heavy lifting instead of heavy reading, and where lunch no longer means a bologna, cheese, mustard, and pepperoni sandwich. I don't yet know if it's a better life, but it is certainly different.

Most people would cite no longer being inside the hallowed halls of learning....also known as jail by some... as a major change in their life. I, however, graduated Sunday then proceeded to go to school Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and today. Today right up until they kicked me out so they could set the alarm and shut the school down.

I've finished the Kennebec Dance DVD, the Reflections from Nature Documentary, The Putt Putt Documentary still needs to be compressed but it is essentially done I believe, and I also edited, produced, and burned the Graduation 2010 DVD. So I've kept myself busy. So busy that as I stated above, Hazards is an unknown.

In other news there is an enormously huge lawn sale all day tomorrow at my house. You should come and look over the mounds of stuff we have for sale. Seriously, it's like a furniture superstore mixed with an antique shop in the middle of a dump next to a flea market. And Chris, yes, that means you Mr. Balcer, you can come pick up your super amazing fantastic prize you won for being the only person to submit a design for a coat of arms. I think if you pick out what you want (within reason) that would be a better prize than me finding something. If you can't make it I'll pick something out for you.

In even otherer news I am getting a brand new Macbook Pro and Ipod Nano. That's right, the beard is leaving the stone age of music and his trusty CD player behind (which is probably good cause I can't find ANY of my CDs). I'm actually recieving the Ipod for free through Apple's "buy a mac for college, get an Ipod" thing. I would've gone for a touch but only the 8 GB version was free and that was kind of small.
My Macbook will come with Final Cut Express pre-installed so I will be able to work on projects anywhere. Which could be the saving grace for The Hazards of Love. (Though I still need to get my hands on a camera.)

Guess what!? I'm exhausted again, so I'm going to go to sleep. I don't think I need to say anything more about project grad right now, my half-awake mobile post about it gets the sentiment across pretty well.

Good night all! (Who am I kidding? You're all reading this tomorrow, which is today while you're reading this, which...nevermind.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Post of Depressing Proportions

The world seems terribly depressing at the moment so I thought I would quantify that depression with several examples of the events and current state of our planet and ourselves. Before I begin I would like to note that I am an extremely optimistic person most of the time. But sometimes I cannot simply gloss over the horrible events in our world. This quote from The Sarchasm kind of sums up the reason for this post.
Everyone already knows about global warming. We already "know" about poverty in Africa as well. We already know about Darfur. We knew about Rwanda. But the one way to ensure inaction is to let an issue escape to the margins rather than keeping it in the front of our minds. The only way to ensure people don't forget is to keep talking.
You probably already guessed what prompted this post. At best estimates, the Gulf oil spill catastrophe has spewed forth seven times the amount from the infamous Exxon-Valdez spill. Using the most liberal estimates it is more than 100 times worse and getting "worser" by the day. This is completely unacceptable. My sister's post on her blog today also deals with the Gulf catastrophe.

I've embedded the real-time oil ticker along with the live video feed coming from the giant crack in the pipe. To see the live video feed just go here. Make of it what you will. It occurs to me that I've never actually watched a train wreck in slow motion. I think I'll go do that now and compare.



 Since I've already depressed you I'm just going to continue. This chart (from this website) shows the world population over time. I don't know about you but I cannot believe that that spike is sustainable for long. In my opinion nearly every major problem in the world is directly or indirectly caused by overpopulation. Now this is a problem not easily solved. China's attempt at controlling population with their one-child policy has been met with limited success and much opposition. There is no single solution to this problem, but it is one that we must face somehow.


I would get into a discussion about how I think we as a culture view death in way not beneficial to ourselves but I haven't entirely formulated my stance upon the topic.

It has been estimated that a total of approximately 106 billion people have been born since the dawn of the human race, making the population which is currently alive roughly 6% of all people who have ever lived on planet Earth. That is an extraordinarily high percentage considering the estimated age of humanity (200,000 years).

I have had this world population clock on my homepage for the past two years. It reminds me every day that humanity is on a collision course with complete and total disaster. Our population is skyrocketing while the arable land (land we can use to produce food) is diminishing rapidly.

On a side note this graphic about bottled water usage is appropriately depressing.
On another side note this is an extremely complex version of the national debt clock I have running next to the world population clock on my homepage.

Finally, watch this video by Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers (link also in the sidebar) about population and being green and understanding just what is going on in this crazy world of ours. It will hopefully bring you out of the depression I just forced upon you. I also hope it empowers you to ALWAYS think about the state of humanity and the state of our world. If you don't have time to watch the video (it's four minutes) go to the website he talks about in the video here.


There are dozens of other depressing things we are doing to the planet right now. The destruction of rainforests, the trash vortex in the Pacific which is the size of Texas, the list goes on. But I'll leave you with something inspiring.
This hangs above my bed and reminds me of what is at stake every day.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Apple's Cash Screwup

So something that struck both myself and my family recently on the news (video here) was the story about a woman who had slowly saved up $600 in cash in order to purchase herself an iPad which was to be her first computer. She was turned down at the counter and told that to purchase an iPad one must use either credit or debit. Cash was not accepted.

When prompted, Apple simply pointed to a line in their purchase policy. Customers may only purchase an iPad using debit or credit and they are limited to two iPads per customer. According to many, this approach is designed to foil those who would buy up fifty or sixty iPads with cash, smuggle them overseas, and sell them at ridiculous markups. As my father pointed out while pulling out a one dollar bill, Apple's policy can't possibly be legal. Written right on the money we use everyday is the phrase, "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." Let me highlight a few words there, "legal tender" for "all" debts. Something doesn't quite mesh there in my opinion. However, if you watched the video link above to the end you already know that according to the U.S. Treasury Dept it is legal to not accept cash.

Needless to say this is a strange development in our economy, where what is essentially imaginary currency is accepted where physical money is not. This brings two extreme situations to mind.

One, the idylic, utopian future portrayed in Star Trek where credit is the only form of currency. Money is obsolete, (much to the dismay of Khan) and greed is not as prevalent.

Two, a world of economic slavery where you must present deeply personal information in order to do any buying or selling. Orwellian in privacy and reminiscent of some of the events in Revelations.

It isn't just big corporations turning away from the greenbacks. People are started to expect cash to be rejected in some cases. Just last weekend when I was filming the Kennebec Dance Centre show I recall a woman asking if she had to write a check or if cash would be fine. (On the other end of the spectrum we had a woman ask if she could use debit). It's fascinating really how many ways humanity has come up with to organize wealth. Much of currency nowadays simply zips along through the tubes of the internet, hardly ever being used as actual cash. I've also always found it amusing that many bills are produced using the leftover scraps from that most American of apparel, blue jeans.

Apple did reverse their no-cash policy before the evening was over on the very day the story broke. They shipped the woman a free iPad and issued their apologies.

I don't know about you, but it kind of makes me want to be a pirate and only trust in my shiny doubloons. That or barter and pay the bills with chicken.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

To Help A Friend

My friend and fellow video student Anna Doyle, who is also acting for me as Charlotte in "The Hazards of Love" recently entered this video in a contest for $500. If it receives the most views overall she also could win some other prize. Anyway, it's really quite well done. Enjoy!

Monday, May 17, 2010

No Pain, No Gain

But if pain is directly proportional to gain I don't think I ever want a million dollars.

So yesterday was the first filming job for Rambler Productions not directly related to the school. The Kennebec Valley Dance Centre performed its 2010 Spring Show "Above and Beyond" right here in the WHS PAC. They fired their professional videographer and hired us on. No pressure right? Two three hour shows we filmed. I am SO glad I only had to film one of them. I was on steadicam so I was moving around, crouching so as not to block the audience, and never really getting a chance to rest. So my legs are currently out-of-order and my arms ache like crazy. It's painful to get up, sit down, and don't even get me started on kneeling to pick something up.

Apparently for previous shows on DVD their videographer had been just setting up a single camera, running it without zooming or changing angles of any kind, burning it to DVD without chapter selection, and charging about the same as we are for the finished product. We on the other hand shot from three angles, one mobile, two stationary. We are also including chapter selection and a sweet menu transition with a sillohetted dancer pirroetting across the screen to reveal a new menu.

The good news is that my pain is not without good cause. Currently the orders for DVD's total nearly two thousand dollars. So while I may complain about my legs, I'm not really unhappy about it. Rambler Productions is receiving 2/3 of that money. Some of it will cover the cost of DVD's and cases, the fancy new 1 to 5 DVD duplicator we just got, replacement parts for some of our cameras, and a finder's fee to Mr. Setchell and the drama department for suggesting us to the KVDC.

This Thursday I will be interviewing Keith Leavitt, a local metal artist, about the sculpture out front of what is now the grade school. "Reflections from Nature" is a collaborative sculpture from the late 80's early 90's which has many panels depicting different aspects of nature and our relationship to it. The picture to the left is from last year or possibly the year before that of my advisee group oiling up the sculpture on Day of Caring. Funny story about that picture, I scoured the web unsuccessfully for a good one of the sculpture, then thought of the town website. The site had slideshows of photos, but I didn't see one of the sculpture and I couldn't just open the albums because I needed a password. Weeeeelllll....lets just say I "managed" to obtain that photo.

Anyway, during this year's Day of Caring we were out there at it again with our pails of puréed vampire oiling it up for future generations. Before we put brush to metal though we watched a video which Mr. Leavitt made back when the sculpture was being constructed. I thought it was a really neat video. It was fascinating to see the different elements of the sculpture being designed and built. I offered to convert the VHS to DVD and now it's a full blown project! (Like I needed another.) But really I'm happy to do it and I'm really excited about the final product.

Hazards is coming along. I'm worried about three songs. More like two seeing as the last two songs are pretty much the same. I don't know if Annan Water, The Wanting Comes in Waves (Reprise), and The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned) will be completed in time for the end of school. More on that in my next post.

In other news my lovely sister Bailey has decided to follow in my footsteps and create a blog of her own. A Vine of Stars is where she will be posting her not-so-inscrutable ramblings. She's a much better writer than I am and her posts are quite a bit more cohesive.

So go read her blog. I'm off to shoot the moon.....with a camera. Got a sweet timelapse yesterday and I'm hoping for a repeat.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sports: An Outside Perspective

I updated the blog! Not just with a new post either! A whole new fancy banner and background. If you have a widescreen monitor there is more to the background than just trees. There's also some weird ball of green energy, which I don't actually like, but since I can't see it on my monitor, I don't care enough to remove it. I'm also in the process of revamping the "about me" section because it really sucked before. The Rambler blog also got a few design updates. Anywho, on to an appropriately rambling post.

I started writing this after I got back from watching the last basketball game of the school year. It's been sitting in my drafts for a while. I figured it was about time to finish it.

Sports make sense to me. The human need to compete, to pit oneself against others with mind and body. The structure of training, the loose camaraderie of the players. The thrill of victory and the resolve that comes with defeat.

I used to play sports and I felt all those emotions. I played T-ball when I was very young, soccer here and there in grade school, more soccer from middle school to sophomore year, and sometimes the occasional rugby bout with my friends. I wasn't terrible at the sports I played either. I was a decent fullback in soccer and was pretty good at dodging the rhino-like charges of my friends in rugby. I even managed an in-the-park home run way back in T-ball (cause I'm that awesome).

My trouble isn't with sports, its with the social environment which surrounds them. I attended two basketball games a while back just to hang out with the crowd and be entertained. While I can't say that I didn't enjoy myself it did show me just how out of place I am at sporting events.

Now I recognize the fact that part of my awkwardness at sporting events stems from the fact that I am a nerd and any social event can result in my feeling uncomfortable. But some of the chants and motions the fans do are just plain WEIRD. For example, when our team had a free throw everyone would raise their fingers up and wiggle them in silence. When the OTHER team did a free throw the arms went up again but instead of wiggling fingers there was much jerky arm motion. Eventually it was decided that every time there was a free throw the fans would all turn around and face away from the court. And there was someone in an inflatable sumo suit.

In fact a lot of our nationally accepted notions of sports are just bizzare. I could go on for quite a while about how the leader of our nation gets paid $400,000 a year while athletes can get paid $100,000,000 a year. It's kind of ridiculous. But I suppose nobody is going to pay to watch Obama sign bills into law.

I guess a lot of what ends up throwing me off is the extreme competiveness some people experience. I need only point as far as the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry for an example. People break down crying when their team loses, whether they're a player or just a fan. I don't have a very confrontational personality so I end up not being nearly so concerned. It's possible that is due to the fact that I can only truly recall being on the winning team of a sports game about five times. Ever. So losing a game isn't a big deal for me, it's just a fact of life.

Whatever the case, sports games just don't present a fun time for me if I'm actually watching the game. All that said though, I do enjoy going to games to hang out on the sidelines with friends and chat, even if I don't know whether to be cheering for a touchdown or a basket.

                              -The Emotionless Rock

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

MOBILE POST 1

Just shipped off hard drive with the back end credits for Putt Putt to Secret Headquarters Inc. Coolest production company name ever. Im writing this on cell.


...(on the computer now) Which means I can only fit two lines per post.  Still, it's kind of cool. I may use the ability to update without a computer now and then if something really cool happens. Then I'll elaborate later. I'm still against using Twitter, but I'll admit this is much the same concept.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Organization and Opera (for Josh H.)

This post is dedicated to my cousin Joshua Hunt so he can see that my blog is not dead!

My life has become a lot more organized of late. About the only thing I have failed to organize is time to blog. Which you probably noticed.

One thing I have organized the heck out of in the past couple days is my plans for The Hazards of Love. Every single film date (well, almost) is planned out to the very end. Tomorrow I'm filming two halves of two different songs. I still desperately need to figure out how to film the scene with the deer however.

While I haven't been organizing THIS blog, if you check out the Rambler Productions blog you might notice a couple of changes. I keep trying to add more features to it to make it more interesting and useful. I also tend to run into this problem with myself when reading other people's posts. And since I'm an admin I can go in and fix them. Take note though that I do not change the message or intent of someone's post, I simply fix grammar, spelling, and I add relevant links. I just can't leave sentences like "this great solder agaisnt the Roman was named Sparatcus" lying around in the open. Someone might see them.

The "unexpected excursion" to Boston went very well and I'm really glad I decided to go. We went to see "Young Frankenstein" at the Boston Opera House. As our group of 16 loud high-school students filed through the front entrance of the Opera house we all became suddenly subdued and quiet. It was like we had stepped into a royal palace. The ceiling soared about forty feet above us and there was a chandelier that must've been ten feet tall. Every square inch of the walls was covered in ornate plaster scrollwork. We all agreed that we immediately felt underdressed in our sweatshirts and jeans.

When we got into the actual theater room I was completely floored by the immensity of it. The place seats 2677 people, is about 100 feet from pit to ceiling, and there are massive pillars around the edges. I'm pretty sure my mouth was hanging open a lot.

The show itself was incredibly impressive. But what else can you expect when it was written by the same guy who did Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs, and Men in Tights? (Mel Brooks) Bawdy jokes and clever lines made the show absolutely hilarious. The choreography was incredible, the props and sets were SO perfect, and the acting was unparalled. Stage theater is so very different from film and affords a truly unique experience.

I've only received one coat of arms to date. This one by Chris Balcer. I would have my own to upload but seeing as my editing computer has no functioning video card I can't really do that. Since Chris was the only person to send me anything, he wins the super amazing awesome prize from my house. However I don't think I will be using his submission on the blog, sorry Chris. Once I get the computer back up and running I'll see what I can come up with myself.


That is all for now. Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Unexpected Excursion

So apparently I'm leaving for Boston at one o'clock this afternoon and returning at one AM tomorrow. The drama group had 18 tickets but two people backed out so I'm going with them to see a show in Boston! Hooray! Gotta go do my math homework now cause there's no WAY I'm doing it in the morning. Tally-ho!

Oh, and Rambler Productions is now offering services to the community. Check it out here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Heraldry

Hey everybody! Remember this post? Well, I am going to design a heraldric coat-of-arms for the blog over the weekend. If you want to join me in doing so and thus compete for the most awesome design then you should follow these few guidelines.

1. Since it is a coat of arms, it should have a shield as part of it. Whether the shield is the canvas for the design or just an element in the design is up to you.

2.  There should be a banner-like area for the motto. It should be possible to replace this motto if the need arises. I haven't really decided on a motto yet. It may or may not be in Latin. If you want to suggest a motto, leave it in the banner area. If not, leave it blank.

3. It should feature the blog's name (my initials) somewhere. SIR.

4. Be creative, make it awesome. You can use stuff you know about me, or stuff the blog has been about, or anything you think best represents this blog.

5. If you don't want to make one for me because you don't like to be used as slave labor (which is understandable) you can create your own coat of arms with your own initials and such. That'd be cool too.

The winning design will probably go up where I put that blank space in the header. Or it might go in the sidebar. I dunno. The nice thing about running my own blog is I can pretty much do whatever I want.

If you make the best coat of arms, whether it be for yourself or the blog I will reward you with something from my house. Believe me, it'll be something cool. I haven't figured out what yet. But since my dad is selling the house I've been going through my stuff and there are some really neat things that I don't really need to hang on to.

My sister made me a personal coat of arms. I like it, but I'm probably going to change the bottom right panel and also take my face out of the upper left. I don't want my face on the coat of arms, especially that particular face.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Looking for content?

My latest blog post is over at the Rambler blog. You can read it here.

EDIT: Several years later and I'm adding the post below because the Rambler blog might be removed.

TItans Clash, but is it a Smash?


Short answer: No.

Slightly longer answer: Clash of the Titansis a decent entertainment package that is entertaining to watch but doesn't push any boundaries like the original film did. Nevertheless it is worth the time to watch and I honestly have more good than bad to say. But a smash hit it is not.
 



 Really long answer: If you haven't seen the original 1981 flick I highly recommend you do so. The special effects were astonishingly good for their time and the movie is entertaining. Not to mention you get to see a lot of Bubo, Athena's mechanical owl which follows Perseus around on his quest. In fact, all the monsters in the original were made the old fashioned way, no CGI rendering. All the monsters are excellently made by Ray Harryhausen This gives the film a classic feel. Anyway, go watch it. It's an "Epic Entertainment Spectacular!"

I did not see the new movie in 3D because Augusta has nothing fancy despite being the capital of Maine.  Going into the film I was expecting a large crowd seeing as it was opening day. There were only a few dozen in the showing I went to, displaying once again what tough economic times we are in. Since this movie really kicks off the summer blockbuster season I wasn't expecting a deep storyline or phenomenal dialogue. I was expecting giant scorpions snipping people in two, Medusa making lifelike statues, and a giant turtle.....I mean Kraken. Seriously though, it looks like a cross between your typical squid-like Kraken, a turtle, and the Rancor from Star Wars. The old one looked laughably like a swamp monster. The movie delivered on the action front but skimped on story. Character development was okay but nothing special.








There were two guys in the film who apparently were supposed to be the comic relief. They were hunters, claiming to be capable of killing anything...unless it's in the underworld. Their characters were underdeveloped and weak, lacking any real value in either comic relief or story and only moderate value in action.


The biggest problem I had with the film was they needed MORE BUBO! I mean COME ON! Bubo was thecoolest part of the original film. A fully animated mechanical owl with a heroic side. He only appears onceas a brief homage to the original film and he isn't even animated.

Even if Bubo didn't get the screentime he deserved, the film did do some really cool updates to the old movie. Mount Olympus was very impressive, though a nice full CGI shot would've been cool. The underworld and the medusa scene were well done and added the urgency that the original film lacks. Overall the film was very entertaining with an appropriately epic soundtrack.

Rating?  87%**. The movie did what it set out to do, did it well, and didn't leave me with a feeling of dissapointment. That's all I ask.
*Side rant: Why do they always make movie-sites so large it takes three hours to load them? Darn it all. However, you can do one of those neato 3D card things with the kraken here.

**I'm switching to a percentage rating system because it allows me to be more precise. Otherwise I'll feel like I'm giving too many films the same rating that are really on different levels.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A blog? What's that?

So, I don't know if you all remember this or not, but I have a blog! And you are reading it! And this is a new post! WOW!

So what shall I talk about today? The fact that I have lots of money I need to acquire for my first year of college? The amazing quality of the latest DVD from Rambler Productions? The ungodly amount of money you can spend on a single computer? Script Frenzy news? My Mechuwana presentation? The utter stupidity of people on Facebook? My new date for Prom?

I know, I'll talk a little bit about all of them. After all, I'm using this blog partly as a journal so I can remember things in the future.

First off, college. College is expensive. Even after taking out some standard loans and getting a bunch of grants I still need to come up with quite a lot more money to pay for my first year at college. I'm hoping to find some more scholarships but it's likely that I'll just have to take out more loans. Big surprise.

If you are friends with me on Facebook you probably already know that the 2010 WHS One Act competition entry Letters has a fancy new DVD available for purchase. This is possibly the best DVD ever to come out of Rambler Productions. I spent two and a half days feverishly working on the DVD menu design which includes a fully animated envelope which spins around and opens, revealing the menu buttons on the enclosed note. I also got footage of Mr. Setchell smashing the regional trophy with a sledgehammer. So far we've sold about 30 copies. We sold 23 of those before I even finished the DVD. Very popular, very cool product.

I'm looking to buy myself a laptop for my freshman year of college at NESCOM. NESCOM isn't requiring laptops this year, but that's like saying (insert witty comparison here). Anyway, at first I was looking at the State of Maine surplus sale where they are selling off the laptops schoolteachers used last year for only $400. Which is a great deal. However, through NESCOM I get a discount at the Apple store and can buy a computer with four times as much RAM, Microsoft Office, Final Cut Express, and a faster processor NEW for about $1,300. Base price of $900. While I could buy three state laptops for that price, it still looks like the $1,300 is the way to go. Tack on to that a required $150 hard drive and possibly a $100 graphics tablet (just for kicks) and I'm up to $1,500 dollars. Did I mention college is expensive? Not nearly as expensive as THE most expensive computer you can buy at the Apple store. Just for fun I started with the $3,000 Mac Pro computer (similar to what we use in the video room) and maxed out all the hardware on it. Have a guess as to the price?

$16,000

No, I didn't add an extra zero, you can actually spend sixteen thousand dollars on a computer. It has 8 Terabytes of space, 32 Gigs of RAM, four high speed graphics cards, two quad core processors for a total of 8 processors, and much more. This computer is an absolute BEAST.


SCRIPT FRENZY STARTS IN 65 HOURS!!!!!!!!!!!

AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Why don't they leave it as days till the 24 hour mark? It's so much more terrifying this way. I need to get working on that. Greenback is going to be amazing once it's done. I'm super excited. And now that I'm not endlessly working on the Letters DVD I can focus on it.

The promotional video I made for Mechuwana was presented on Saturday to the UMC here in Winthrop. I went in and gave a short spiel and showed the video. It went okay, though there were only about 12 in attendence. Norm payed me for my work on the video, which was unexpected. I didn't ask for anything. But as I mentioned before, college is a bit of a strain on the wallet, so I'm grateful.




You probably already knew this, but a whole lot of people on Facebook are STUPID. I'm not sure if it is a direct correlation to stupidity in real life or if the internet just draws out the soggiest gray matter available in a person, but GEEZ. I mean, come on, all those groups asking you to "JOIN AND SEE THIS THING THAT'S OMGOSH AMAZING/SICK/COOL/WRONG/BLATANTLY SCAMTACULAR." (In homage to the rants of Chris Balcer) (Also, OMGOSH is my new favorite interjection.)

I give three examples in this rant.

Instance #1

Here's a simple example "OMG FUNNIEST PICTURE EVER! JOIN TO SEE!" pops up somewhere and people immediately start joining up, trusting in the creator of the group to deliver on their promise. I'm not saying this promise isn't kept all the time but here are a few key reasons it's pointless to join this group.

1. How many funny pictures are there on the internet? A LOT. How likely is it that this will be the "funniest"? Pretty slim. Go look for some pics on Google and save yourself some trouble. Anything claiming to be the absolute peak of anything is probably a scam/lie.

2. About 85%* of these groups are scams in the sense that they have hidden links or more requirements in order for you to "see" the photo or whatever. These links bring you to virus-infested and spyware infested sites. I even saw a creator with the last name of "Ponzi" on one page. I laughed, perhaps scammers have a sense of humor.

3. There are far safer, far more entertaining ways to waste your time on the internet. A good rule of thumb if you feel you have to join one of these groups is to check what other people have written on the wall first. If they are generally positive comments you should be fine. If the page has disabled user comments then obviously the page is a scam. Another good thing to check for is a caps lock obsessed creator. You'll notice in all three instances the group name is in capitals. This is a desperate ploy for attention and, while not a game-breaker, is a red flag for the group.

Instance #2 "PEDOPHILE ON FACEBOOK, JOIN TO VIEW HIS PROFILE AND HELP BAN HIM"

Okay, lets think about the trustworthiness of the creator of this group. If they actually wanted this person banned they would make this an open group and allow anyone to see who to ban. How do we know that the creator of this group isn't said pedophile and he is looking through the members list for guillible young girls to beguile? That seems a disturbingly likely situation to me.

Instance #3

"BECOME A FAN IF YOU DO THIS!!!! (Insert extremely common situation here)"
e.g. "go out of my way to step on that crunchy leaf" and "drop things, pick them up, and drop them again"


I am less opposed to this kind of group, I just think they are silly. However, in most cases they are aware of their own silliness and embrace it. It is interesting to see in how many ways we as a people are similar. But if it is so ubiquitous why do we need to state that we are "fans" of these things? Just to be sarcastic I joined the group "Being Stabbed Repeatedly" after seeing a bunch of people join "Not Being Stabbed Repeatedly." Unfortunately this plan backfired and my friends that had joined "Not Being Stabbed Repeatedly" also joined "Being Stabbed Repeatedly." GAH.

Looking at the hundreds of thousands of people who join these groups is a fascinating insight into the psychology of the masses. At least the immature, stupid ones. I am sorry if I am offending those people who join said groups and pages, and I understand that not all of these pages are BS and that some are just entertaining and people want to be associated with them. I'm preaching to the choir here though because I have wonderfully intelligent readers. I am a member of many different groups and pages, but I have some sort of vested life interest in them. Hobbies, local businesses, causes I believe in, etc. I am mostly just appalled at the people with literally hundreds upon hundreds of groups and pages. If ever you wanted to remove your membership from these it would take FOREVER.



I have a date for the prom this year! Despite my running streak of missing every single Winthrop High School dance I decided to break that run for prom. Hopefully the music will be good. I dunno if my date wants her name up on the web so I'll keep it to myself. If you have some interest you can contact me.

As a final thought I leave you with the following;

Last night on TV,
Oh advertisting, do you even listen to yourself? "LIFE, presented to you by Target"
It's almost as bad as "Tomorrow on Today!" That one always cracks me up. Or the billboard which says "ILLITERATE? Write in for a free consulation!"

*87% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New York City (Part 2)

NEW YORK CITY (Part 2)
Into the City

ITS ACTUALLY DONE! Sorry it's pretty much entirely text. I couldn't really find any good photos to use and I haven't found a good way to post video without putting it up on Youtube for the whole world.

My new promise to you readers is that I'm not going to promise anything. I'll update when I can. I do apologize for the long wait though. I've been focusing on other stuff. I do have some neat stuff planned for future posts and I hope to follow through on a couple of things I've mentioned before. Anyway, here is the second part of my trip into New York City.


We arrived in New Jersey tired from our trip but glad we had made it. We had finished a little over half of our audio book and were ready for a few hours rest before we went to Tribeca Cinemas for the premiere. We were staying at Jay's house. Jay is working with Allen as a business partner for his next film if I recall correctly. Anyway, his house was incredible. Just tucked away in a suburb, but the interior had some really neat stuff. He had a glove signed by Muhammed Ali, a player piano (it plays itself) and quite literally the most comfortable couch and living room set I have ever had the pleasure to indent with my rear.

We sat for a while and watched Eight Below on his big wall-mounted television. Apparently I have no soul because I laughed when Grace and Lindsey got all emotional over the poor puppy-dogs and also when the sea lion attack jumped them both. After that we ate sandwiches that Jay brought from a nearby deli. HOLY CRAP DELICIOUS! I wasn't aware that bread, provolone and ham could be that damn tasty. The sandwiches were huge too.

Our next order of business was to prepare for the premiere. We all dressed up fancy-like. Grace claimed she felt like an Egyptian goddess in her sparkly dress. I felt like my father in that everything (literally) except my socks and boxers I stole from his closet. Why? Because I don't really own much in the vein of fancy. I prefer what is comfortable.

Into the city! So the main thing that I appreciate more now after having been to New York City is the proximity to nature that I have here in Winthrop. I can walk to places where you can't tell humans have been around the area, where streams run and trees are thick. I always assumed there was some sort of exaggeration when I heard about the concrete jungle and how devoid of nature it was. It isn't exaggeration. Pictures don't tell the story. Even movies I've seen don't capture the essence of the city. Though I will say that after walking down a few streets I could think of nothing but the cities of Blade Runner (Which I am ashamed to admit I have never watched all the way through).

Keep in mind however that I was nowhere near any touristy part of the city. There were no recognizable landmarks to a country bumpkin like me. I could see the Empire State Building from Tribeca Cinemas but it was quite a ways away. The streets we went down were lined with shops crammed together selling all sorts of stuff. There was a store that claimed to sell nothing but rubber. (I don't know if the connotation is implied there or not). Large, gawdy signs with bright colors and neon lights adorning old, weathered building dominated the area.

When we were coming into the city/New Jersey we crossed several bridges. One bridge afforded us a view of both a ridgeline with high cliffs bording a river and in the other direction the city skyline. Looking at both I decided that I was more impressed with the ridgeline. I think it was then I realized that cities really aren't my forté.

Forget Texas (granted I have never been there), New York is freaking huge. I would never want to live there. Lindsey seems to think it would be awesome. I contend that there are simply TOO MANY PEOPLE. I have never seen so many people in my life. The sheer density of population is mind-boggling. From what I saw it is conceivable that one might live for months, even years, without having to leave the space of two or three blocks. All their needs would be provided for. A two-block world. CRAZY.

To actually get onto Manhatten we had to drive through the longest tunnel I've ever seen. It went down for a solid five minutes of driving before coming back up from under the water. Grace was fascinated by the idea that we were cruising under millions of gallons of water. We all told her to take a swim.

Perhaps the most important thing I learned in New York is that despite all the nay-sayers. Stereotypes are true! At least to some extent. For example, I met my first real life crazy mumbling hobo! He was wandering around near us talking about people in general and swearing a lot. We also met a guy who ran a parking station. First let me say that driving into the city with a car is really expensive. There are small parking lots scattered about the city that you can drive up and pay to park in. Space is so limited they have elevated parking spaces so one car can park on top of another. Anyway, we needed a spot and the first lot was full but the guy running it (out of an "office" that was a couple pieces of plywood) said to us he could move someone else's vehicle because "Money talks, money talks, ya know?" Picture that being said by a solidly built asian fellow with a heavy New Yorker accent and a wad of bills in his hand he was riffling through.

Eventually we found an open spot which Jay paid nearly $60 for. SIXTY DOLLARS to park for a few hours. For comparison Grace left her car in Portland overnight and paid a total of about seven dollars. Thank you Jay.

We found the cinema and I got to see my posters on display both outside in the "Now Showing" poster boxes and inside on easels where the red carpet pictures were taken. Really cool. Though the corner we were given to stage our video equipment in smelled like vomit, which wasn't cool. I assembled my homebuilt steadycam and filmed a lot happening on the red carpet. When Thea Gill (the lead female actress) showed up, she commented on my posters and then gave me a kiss on the lips. Yes, you read that correctly, I was kissed by a movie star. Albeit a thirty-nine year old one. It was rather unexpected to say the least. But that's just how Thea is. Bubbly and inhibitionless.

I would link to Grace's New York pictures here, or Lindsey's, if I knew where to link to online. Perhaps one of you could let me know?

Watching the movie again wasn't anything special, the screen was actually smaller than the one in Winthrop. After the film we headed on down to Club Libation for some festivities. While the food was pretty tasty the place was packed so tight it was difficult to move around. I wasn't exactly a big fan of the music, which tells you that Lindsey enjoyed it throughly. I got free drinks at the bar though. COLA. Geez, you didn't think I meant booze did you? Anyway, there were bouncers the size of mountains, one of whom Shaw claimed she could take on. We stayed in the club for a while. It wasn't that great if you ask me, if only because you had to be within six inches of someone else to hold even a simple conversation.

Rereading this post I notice that I sound like I didn't enjoy a lot of my time in the city, which isn't true, it's just that there were certain elements I didn't like. My overall impression was; Awesome place to visit, awful place to live.

After Libation we went back to Jay's and crashed till late morning when we got up, had delicious pancakes, and started the seven hour trip back to Winthrop. On the way back we listened to some more of I, Alex Cross on audiobook till we finished it. I learned that I am an excellent power-napper with the ability to both sleep and be entirely awake at the same time. (A talent I used recently at the dentist).

When I finally arrived home from my longest single trip ever I was quite satisfied with it.

Er.... the end.

THERE. I finished the post. Feels like I finally broke through a wall and can post about other things again. HUZZAH!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Addendum

You may recall my post about mind reading a while back on the Rambler blog. At the time I couldn't find much in the way of media to show just what was happening. Now I have! Check out the video below to see REAL mind-reading in real-time. CRAZY!

Also, all 137 years of my favorite magazine, Popular Science, is now available for free online. How crazy is that?!

Believe it or not, but I've been blogging pretty much all day. Despite this, I still haven't quite finished my New York Post. I'm hoping to finish it tonight. What's taking so long you ask? Well, I'd like to say it's because the post is going to be full of awesome videos and photos and witty comments but I think all I can blame is laziness. Note to self: Don't split posts over multiple days. (I'll probably break that too.)

However, I have accomplish several things of note today! You might have noticed in the sidebar there is now a "Subscribe via email." So now those of you who diligently check my blog every day in anticipation of a new post can relax and let the internet monkeys do it for you. I think that the way the thing is set up it will send you a notification to your email between the hours of 5 and 7 PM if there is a new post. Why 5-7? I really don't know. At some point I'll figure out how to make it instant.

I've also add a feed with the latest posts from Rambler Productions. I revamped that blog as well, though both this blog and that blog still have a few kinks I need to iron out. You can read about the updates over there here.

Without furthur ado, MIND READING!!! (I don't like the voice-over)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Promo Trailer DONE

Also, check out the completed SCRIPT FRENZY promotional video if you haven't already.

New York City (Part 1)

NEW YORK CITY (PART 1)
The Trip Down

Okay, so this took an inordinately long time to write and I'm sorry. I'm going to torture you all even more by dragging it out over two (possibly three) posts.

Eight hours. That's how long it took to get from my house to our lodging in New Jersey. We stayed with Jay Krall at his home. Let me just say he has an awesome home and he also knows where to get some good eats.

But before we could arrive at Jay's and plop down on his criminally comfortable couches we had to get there. Just what does one do to pass the time during an eight hour car ride? Some people try and see as many different state license plates as they can. Some try to read the alphabet in order off of road signs. Most just listen to some tunes, Shaw, Grace, Lindsay and I? We listen to books, argue about musical ADD, laugh at each others tired, confused ramblings, give the GPS system a name and a personality, take photos of everything, and attempt to get the occupants of other vehicles to wave at us.

We keep ourselves entertained.

I rode with Grace and Lindsay down from Winthrop to Portland to meet Shaw for the rest of the trip. On the way to Portland I tried not to look at the speedometer and argued with Lindsey about music. I can understand if someone doesn't like country music (she can't stand it) or some of the random alternative stuff I listen to but what I don't understand is that even when we listened to songs she did like she would skip them halfway through. It was only when she started listening to "mash-ups" that she would listen all the way through. I suppose it's just like skipping through songs except you are saved the trouble of hitting "next." Sorry Lindsay, but I officially diagnose you with musical ADD.

Despite Lindsay's ADD about music she was surprisingly attentive when Shaw popped in an audio book. A six CD audio book. We listened to I, Alex Cross for nearly the entire trip down and probably half the trip back. The book was a murder mystery set in a series which revolves around the character of Alex Cross. I'd never listened to more than a few seconds of an audio book before. It was kind of cool, allowing multiple people to share in the same "reading" experience at the same time. Though sometimes I did miss parts due to conversation or simply inattention. You can't just reread the sentence again like a book, and backing up is a hassle.

Solemnly guiding us through the entire trip was the trusty Global Positioning Unit which we named Vera. (Yes Bailey and Don, I suggested the name, despite it not being a Callahan full-bore auto-lock). I say she was trusty in that we got where we were going and we got home. Vera was less that trustworthy in that she didn't like staying stuck to the window. Also Vera lead us straight through the Bronx on our way to NJ and would randomly decide we were not where we were supposed to be and "recalculate" our route. Once or twice Vera even claimed we had teleported several miles and were perpendicular to the road. Overall though, we were all happy with Vera's performa...*In half a mile, left turn* Yes, thanks Vera, we were ju... *Turn left..then..Turn left* Alright, we get ..*Turn left* 

....Moving on....

We had one other GPS friend by the name of Dorothy. Dorothy was built into Jay's car and was our guide into the city. ...Had we followed her guidance I would probably still be lost in New York.

Here are a few sights we saw along the way.
Big bird on a truck.
 
The  human beehive. Seriously, how can people live that close together?
I found my street.
And finally... RESPECT THE FISH
Stay tuned for PART 2
Into the City

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tomorrow

Tomorrow!
Tomorrow!
I'll post here.
Tomorrow!
It's only a day awaaaaaay.

Yeah....

Quick story before I forget though. I was up at Hannaford the other day and I parked next to an enormous white Hummer. I really don't see the need for anyone to own a Hummer unless they tend to encounter RPG assault or Mount Everest between them and their destination. Going to pick up groceries? No. So I went in and bought a thing or two and then came back out. The white Hummer was gone but lo and behold ANOTHER Hummer (this one red) was parked two spaces down.

I live in Winthrop Maine. Why are there multiple Hummers in close proximity? Weird.

Three other car related things real quick. One, I saw a hippie limo up by Wayside Theater (cool name, bad website) in Dexter, Maine. No joke, it said something about hippies on the side of it in a company logo. The vehicle was a bit run down, but not too bad, it simply looked like an older model of limo. It also had stickers evenly strewn about the car body.

Two, I saw a "Human Patient Simulator Lab" rolling in to fuel up at a gas station in Newport. I didn't know what to make of it at the time, but after looking it up online it seems to be a full training lab for physicians. Again, little strange.

Finally, I saw a vehicle parked up by Mia Lina's with flashing lights that had a funny looking camera mounted where the passenger side mirror is. Printed on the side of the car was something indicating that its purpose was to inspect utility poles. I can't find anything about it online, though it would help if I could remember the exact writing on the car. I didn't realize Maine had the resources to send out vehicles solely dedicated to the inspection of utility poles.

I am going up to the Middle School around lunchtime tomorrow to talk to some students about film and help them with a project.

This weekend I am going to the Winthrop Methodist Church to give a presentation about Mechuwana using the promotional video I created.

The Script Frenzy promo video is complete and available here on YouTube. I encourage you to send the link to as many people as you can. I'm very happy with the way the silhouettes at the end turned out.

I think that brings me more or less up to date with the goings ons of my life. Anywho, this did turn into a full post. Despite my many broken promises to you, my readers, I really do plan on posting about New York tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Not what you expected.

I imagine you all want to hear about my trip to New York right? Well, that would be what this post is supposed to be about but as I'm still not done writing my New York post due to a variety of factors, the main one being vacation-induced laziness, you'll just have to deal with the topic of my age instead.

By the time you read this (unless you are weird and read my blog half an hour before midnight) I will be considered an adult by our culture. Weird!

Hooray? It's kind of a let-down really. I think it'd be kinda neat if our society still did some sort of "rite-of-passage." When I say "rite-of-passage" I don't mean what is today often passed off as the key to manhood. (sex, drinking, breaking the law, owning a car, abusing said car, etc)  No, I mean like battling a woodland creature with a sharp stick and a slingshot. Or, less violently, having to solve some tricky riddle that would impart some small gem of knowledge to help in the transition to adulthood. I'm certain there are some rites out there that would fit the bill for what I think should be the new way to "become a man."

The only problem with rites-of-passage is they are (at least in contemporary times) invariably stupid. They often involve needlessly dangerous or insane tasks. I don't have a problem with an element of danger, (as you will see in my future post on urban spelunking), but risk-assessment isn't being a coward, it's being smart.

Before I go and head to my last night of childhood dreams I want you all to know that I don't think a rite is nessesary to become a man, but that it would just be kind of neat. A way to break up the pattern of the typical birthday.

So I, the childhood of Spencer, bids you all goodnight. If our culture is right about the timing, I die tonight and adult Spencer is born. Goodbye 17 year old me.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Archive

Well over half a day of travel time to and from the premiere of The Putt Putt Syndrome took a lot out of me. Tomorrow I should have a full detailing of the trip up on the blog. With videos, pictures, and stories, the post should be interesting to say the least.

I promised you all my new favorite site in my last post and was unable to deliver what with all the hubub about Winter Carnival and the scramble for New York. Now I present to you what I believe to be one of the coolest sites on the web.

Enter the Internet Archive and you will find a treasure trove of fascinating content. The archive is an attempt to catalogue the information on the internet into a sort of library accessible to anyone. At first I thought of Wikipedia. But instead of being a place to bring sources together into an article the Internet Archive contains the original documents, videos, music, audio, etc. The archive isn't just trying to preserve facts either. It's trying to preserve cultures.

This quote from the "about" page shows just was the Archive is trying to do.

Digitized information, especially on the Internet, has such rapid turnover these days that total loss is the norm. Civilization is developing severe amnesia as a result; indeed it may have become too amnesiac already to notice the problem properly. The Internet Archive is the beginning of a cure - the beginning of complete, detailed, accessible, searchable memory for society, and not just scholars this time, but everyone."
Stewart Brand, president, The Long Now Foundation


As I mentioned before the Archive has videos and music, not just text. It also has a function called the "Wayback Machine" which allows you to view the internet as it appeared in the past, in some cases all the way back to 1996. I haven't had the chance to fully explore the site and it's capabilities yet but what I have uncovered is fascinating. Here is an article someone else wrote on the wayback machine. It's kind of cool to see what the internet looked like long ago.

Mostly I've been focusing on the "moving images" portion of the site. They have feature films that have run past their copyright and are now available for free. I found a few that are pretty neat that I plan on watching including "Things to Come" which looks like a very impressive sci-fi film for being made in 1936. I also found "Nosferatu" and "Plan 9 from Outer Space," both films I had planned on watching at some point. I've been giving examples of really old videos but there are much more modern ones as well.



The Archive isn't the easiest site to navigate and it can be difficult to know just what it is you are looking at sometimes but the possibility of finding gems in the pile of records is exciting. If however you don't feel like sifting through the archives yourself the curators update frequently with some of thier latest favorite videos, texts, songs, and more. You can also simply check what people are downloading the most in each section of the Archives.


The archives are stored on massive banks of computers in multiple locations to add redundant protection should something happen to the archive. Every day new information is added and catelogued. The process is really fascinating.
The Archives are like a Barnes and Noble store to me; I could go in and look around for hours, endlessly entertained, and never find just what I'm looking for. Or I might find something I would never have expected.


So check out the Internet Archives and see what you can discover.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Apparently I do. Who watches this blog though? I mean, really, I can't even come up with a creative blog post title. I observed (it feels weird to say "watched" in this case) the film Watchmen on Monday with my father. I have not read the graphic novel it is based off of but I did watch a few chapters of the animated graphic novel prior to watching the film. I do not think the knowledge I had helped or hindered my appreciation of the film.

So just what did I think of the film? Going into it I was skeptical, thinking it could very well be another comic-book inspired flop. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. I have two big comments for this film. One, the pacing was near-perfect. There was an excellently choreographed balance between fast and slow scenes. There were no ridiculously long chase scenes and no fifteen-minute conversations (Tarentino I'm looking at you). When the movie needed an action sequence, lo, there was an action sequence. When a flashback or a discussion of morality was needed, that's what popped onto the screen. The styling of the film, dark and gritty, was unique and showed it's grapic origins. The dialogue is excellent and has a lot of depth owing to it's origin in the novel. In the novel the dialogue had to carry a lot of weight to keep the reader from just looking at the pictures and the translation from text to speech is carried out spectacularly. Which brings me to my second comment. This film felt like a modern day Shakespearean play. Sort of. The way the characters spoke was fluid and intelligent. Each word was painstakingly planned. I just got the impression of a masterpiece.

However, like a Shakespearean play, while I recognize the artistic value and copious talent that went into it, I don't particularly like the film in terms of casual enjoyment. Watchmen has a bit too much meat on it to pop in the DVD player anytime. It requires some concentration and thoughtfulness.
From what I could tell the film also stayed as faithful to the original graphic novel as possible which should keep fans happy.

Watchmen isn't without fault. In a few places it was a bit confusing and my dad did complain about it's length. The acting was a leeeetle bit cheesy at times and I think there must have been one or two important scenes from the graphic novel missing in the film because there were spots where I felt a gap in the story, one that could be ignored but would be nice to have filled.

I hope all that made sense because I'm really tired and wasn't sure if I would make it to the end of this review.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the unveiling of my new favorite web site. You'll want to use it, trust me.

EDIT: I give Watchmen a seven out of ten.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

CARNIVAL MADNESS!

HOLY SMOKES! I had 10 people (two locusts) at my house today working on Winter Carnival Hallway stuff. I am EXTREMELY TIRED and accidentally uploaded tomorrow's post here. So instead of giving you my review of Watchmen early I'm going to proofread it and post it tomorrow. Which is probably a good thing because looking at that post again I forgot to even put a rating on the film.

ALSO, STRESSING OUT about The Hazards of Love. I should have expected people to be busy during vacation but I was hoping to get the Rake's indoor scenes done with. More on that later.

TOMORROW there will be popcorn being popped, sodas being dropped and snores being snorified. Yorick will rise again and Aztec's will be aced. It's totally cool if you have no idea what I just said. You may find out eventually.

We're all mad here.

G'night

And the Momeraths.....

Meant to post this Sunday but haven't had the chance. Crazy busy. Here's a quick rundown of the latest news.

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the world premiere of The Putt Putt Syndrome. The premiere was held at the Winthrop High School in the Performing Arts Center. Somewhere around 400 people were on hand to watch the film in its large-screen debut. It was an exciting experience and when the film was over the reaction to the film made it clear it was a resounding success. At least in Winthrop. Next week I will be heading to Tribeca Cinemas in New York City for the east coast premiere. Very excited for that. I've never been to New York before. In fact, it'll be the farthest I've ever traveled from home. As of yet the farthest I've ever been is to Battleship Cove in Massachusetts.

I also went to the Mechuwana Youth Rally over the weekend (though I missed 99% of the Saturday night dance while I was at the premiere) and I had a lot of fun seeing old friends. Only one more rally before I graduate. Crazy.

Finally, I've been out straight working on Winter Carnival stuff. Here are some photos of the progress so far. I have until Thursday evening to do everything I can towards the hallway.

Tomorrow look forward to a review of Watchmen, (yes, I know I'm  behind on the times.)

 
One of our awesome card people        Spears for the cards      The white rabbit's house

We have a catapillar.                                 A cat.                               And MOMERATHS


 
....and more cards

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ever want to be knighted?

NOW YOU CAN BE!

It occurred to me today that anybody who reads my blog could be called a "SIR reader," right? Therefore, I hereby declare that all readers of my blog are knights. Knights of the Order of... hmmmm. What should our Order be known as? Please leave your suggestions in the comments!

There are a couple of other stipulations to becoming a knight. The first is that you must become a follower of this blog. I've added a "Knighted Readers" section on the sidebar. All you have to do is click "follow" and you will become a knight. Don't worry, if you don't want your profile showing up in that box you can check the "follow privately" box and you'll be a dark knight.. If you don't click the follow button but you still post a comment every now and then you can be a squire.

Hold on though, is there such a thing as a female knight? I don't want to alienate my female readers, but I don't know if you want to be called knights.

(five minutes later, after several Google searches)

Yes! Indeed there are female knights! For a long while though, there weren't any. Women were not allowed to take up arms throughout much of history. In modern times female knights have become more widespread. It appears that there are a few options for the title.

Simply "knight" is acceptable

Dame (equivalent to "Sir")

Chevalière (French feminine version of "chevalier," or horseman." So literally, "horsewoman.")

The Knights Templar also allegedly had a class of "warrior nuns." I can't seem to find much info supporting that, but it equals awesome.

So, in review. Please click the "follow" button to be knighted. Or post a comment now and again to become a squire. Post your ideas for the name of the Order and post your vote for the female knight title. (I'd make a poll but I don't think it's worth it).

Oh, one last thing, if any of you are still interested in completing my long-overdue graphics contest, might I suggest a coat of arms for the blog? That would be amazingly awesome.

So, my good readers, get to it! Tally-ho!