Archive for October, 2010

Stephen Fry On Language

Monday, October 25th, 2010

This wonderful example of “kinetic typography” by Matthew Rogers uses one of Stephen Fry‘s delicious audio rants as the basis for the examination of our uses and abuses of language.

I love things like this – and similar works that combine images and code, for example the talks of Lawrence Lessig and RSAnimate – because they show our continuing evolution of our use of language as we employ a variety of visual forms, techniques and technologies to expand on our abilities to communicate ideas and emotions. The boundaries of language are no longer constrained by mere words but the words themselves are no less important.

Fascinating stuff. It also reminded me of someone I once knew – a wise young woman, alas now passed, who loved her words – and it’s just the tonic I need as I work to complete this dickens of a script I’m working on.


P. S. I found the video on where they also have videos of kittens riding on Roombas – which, of course, is why the internet was invented.


Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

As reported in Gizmodo these folks sent up their own weather balloon, outfitted with a video camera – and set of loud speakers.

Result? First Rickroll in space.


Of course, it won’t be a true Rickroll until they replace that photo with an actual video screen. I wanna see that Howdy Doody dude dancin’ in the stars!


P. S. I’m off to the annual Pumpkin Chuckin’ Contest – just as an observer – and hope to return with some accounts of trebuchets, pneumatic cannons and flying gourds.

Good Night & Good Luck 12 Seconds

Friday, October 22nd, 2010 is shutting down. As of the end of today their web site will be no more.

They’ve been around for about 3 years and it was a bit of fun while it lasted – one of those not-gonna-be-huge-but-certainly-an-exemplar-of-how-the-net-is-chewing-out-the-ass-of-top-down-media kind of things.

I wasn’t a heavy user – and I suspect the reason they’ve folded their tent is because not many others were either – but I enjoyed playing with it when it first emerged and kept a little sidebar link to my short video posts right here on this blog.

Nothing I said within my video constrained equivalent of Twitter posts had much depth – occasionally there would be brief bursts of emotion or humour – but it was cool to be able to create short snapshots, video doodles, of moments (real or contrived) in our lives. I was never much of a social participant in the 12Seconds community – the feature of being able to offer video comments on other users submissions (since adopted by YouTube) was something I never took advantage of. As I said, it was one of those brief flirtations with the ability to make something new – the child-like equivalent of playing with two tin cans and a string: “Can you hear me now?” – and then it passes and we move on to other things.

Thankfully, the operators of the site set it up so users could export their video offerings so they wouldn’t be lost forever or only semi-archived in the WaybackMachine. I have mine online here now – not that they hold any significance or special merit but, just like old photos in a dusty album, I didn’t want to lose them.

With the possible of exception of this early one, scribbled out and sent from my second office – the Rhino Bar & Grill:

Thanks 12Seconds.


Happy Birthday Timothy Leary

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

I’m supposed to be writing a script but it’s Timothy Leary’s birthday and even though he’s been dead for a while now that doesn’t matter. Happy Birthday, Tim!

Here he is expounding on the Religion Of Intelligence:

Now I know Timothy Leary has become both a cliché and an icon but that doesn’t negate the fact that he did a lot to open a deep crack in the illusion of “reality” in western culture. Nixon hated him – that’s good enough for me.

For a more succinct and eloquent exposition of absolutely everything Leary ever ranted about we must turn, as we now do when in search of any “real” news, to the comedians. In this case – the sublime Bill Hicks:

Thank you, Bill.

Happy birthday, Tim.


Happy Birthday Dizzy Gillespie

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

My friend and sensei, Jerry Nelson, informed me that Google was celebrating the 93rd birthday of the late Dizzy Gillespie. I’ve always loved this man’s music and it has filled our house and our lives for many years. I used to hum “A Night In Tunisia” to my son when he was a mere babe in our arms.

Here’s Jerry, as Floyd, gettin’ his Bop on with the Diz:

Happy Birthday, Mr. Gillespie.


Ze Frank – TED Talk

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

I miss Ze Frank’s daily web show – it was a continually awesome and inspirational journey shared by so many. Here he gives a recent TED Talk and recounts those key moments that revolved around using the net to share experiences.

Always a joy to revisit all things Ze.

Share this with someone.


Dance, Monkeys, Dance!

Monday, October 18th, 2010

This one – alas – never gets old:

It’s a video mashup based on Ernest Cline’s remarkably prescient and – alas and alack – eternally relevant screed against the basic nature of humanity itself. In short: We’re monkeys with car keys.

Hug your loved ones. We’re fucked.


P. S. Since we’re all going to hell in a handbasket – give us money to make a great online puppet show: Ruffus The Dog – A Christmas Carol.

Ruffus The Dog – A Christmas Carol

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

If you go to you will find a page seeking to raise money for the production of entirely new episode of Ruffus The Dog – our own version of “A Christmas Carol”.

Here’s the pitch video:

We’re seeking a ridiculously low amount for such an ambitious production but we’re also confident in the abilities of our team to pull it off. Where that leads to with other episodes and other things featuring Ruffus – I have no idea. Plenty of dreams – but not a clue as to what will actually happen.

Making the video was – um – interesting. I did everything myself and now find myself looking forward to working with my friends. Playing all the characters was fun but I didn’t like being the Princess – I’ve always been a firm believer that female roles should be played by women.

While I did write a script that laid out the necessary call to arms for funding that we needed, most of the dialogue from the Pig and the Weasel was improvised. As often happens when playing with puppets, sometimes the character just asserts itself and takes over. There is a lot of weasel footage that just couldn’t be used but left me weeping with laughter. It’s usually not good to laugh at your own follies but when it’s distanced through a character at the end of your arm I think it’s allowed.

Just a little technical info on how I put this thing together: it was shot in my home, straight onto my laptop, very much in the manner of the other Ruffus promos I’ve written about before. This time, though, there were 7 characters – and a Delorean – and a disco ball. I had 15 separate video tracks to composite and 10 stereo audio tracks to mix. Everything was done in Final Cut Pro.

My laptop – which is already a beaten up piece of overheated shit – was just barely up the task as it doggedly chugged along, trying to comprehend and provide all the effects I sought.

It didn’t help that my trackpad was fucking up and making its own decisions on where to go and what to click. I very nearly lost a bunch of files because of that and I suspect that’s what caused the loss of a previous shoot of mine. It was only after I finished the edit of this video that I discovered my battery on the MacBook Pro was swollen and bulging out from the bottom of the case and on the inside was putting pressure on the trackpad, causing my poor dedicated little piece of shit to lose its mind like some syphilitic blind beggar wandering through a godforsaken mad house.

But it is done. It is not perfect – but it IS done.

I exhort you to visit the Indie Go-Go site and have a look at our pitch page. There will be regular updates of photos and videos, documenting the progress of the entire enterprise. It will be fun.

Even if you can’t contribute financial support you can certainly help us out by making as much noise about it as you can. Tell your friends. Grab a widget and park it on your own web pages. Tweet about it. Helping to direct people to the site is an equally important expression of support that will help us to get the show made.

And your comments here are also welcome.

Stay tuned.


People And Their Desks

Monday, October 11th, 2010

I found this over on BoingBoing and it reminded me of that really great photography book called “From The Desk Of” – which is now out of print but I have a copy of it somewhere – on my desk. It features a shot of the late Studs Terkel’s desk which was an absolutely delightfully abomination of chaos and intellectual strata.

I’ll happily post a photo of Studs’ desk – and my own desk – if I can find it. The desk, that is.


Happy Birthday John

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

John Lennon’s 70th birthday was celebrated yesterday.

I had hoped to write up my own post here to add my thoughts but was too busy with all those things that happen when you’re busy making other plans.

In lieu of my contribution, head over to Jill Golick’s blog where she has assembled a noteworthy collection of videos posted by others, wishing John – the spirit of his life and his message of peace we carry with us – a very Happy Birthday.

It’s not too late to add your own video by going to YouTube where you can post your own message of peace and thanks.

Imagine Peace.