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iTunes U!

July 1, 2009

 

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

 

 

I was shocked to find out about iTunes U. First off, how had I not heard of this yet? How did I miss this. I guess being 4 years out of college would contribute.  Second, are Universities really letting their the public have access to the education their students are paying for? Wow! WOW! WWWOOOWW! It is sort of amazing, giving access to knowledge and education for free to the masses (well, at least the masses that can get a hold of iTunes).  And what threat does it really provide to the University? People will still pay $40,000 / year to go to Stanford, because the knowledge they gain is not the primary investment. Sadly, with the way our world works, he primary reason you are willing to pay thousands of dollars is not for the lectures, but for the degree you will hang on your wall and the transcripts you will send to grad school/future employers so you can make your share of money in the future. Provide your family with food. And buy that boat you have always wanted. People will never stop paying for the name of the University and for the degree. So why not put the lecturers online? 

As using it as a substitute for going to class, walking through campus in your PJs, and interacting with others. Probably not my first choice and recommendations for others. But for us nerds out there, or for curious kids who can’t afford to college, listening to a Stanford podcast on Physics is pretty damn rad. 

Apple does some intriguing things. Check iTunes U out. Maybe listen to David Lynch talk about Consciousness, Creativity, and The Brain.  

Talk about putting some pressure on the lecturers and professors. Knowing it can be streamed on iTunes by all of the world that has access to technology.

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Daniel Johnston Interview from a Life Past

July 1, 2009

I am one of the periods of time in life where everything seems to be in limbo. 

You know the feeling? It could be the months, weeks, or even days before a transition itself even happens. It is something that most people don’t embrace, and in fact can create quite a bit of anxiety. And I am like most people, anxiously awaiting the next chapter of my life, and trying to grasp every last shred of my ability to focus on the present. Focusing on the present is important, because that is all I have right now. But it is hard. So much is awaiting me. Vegas. Hawaii. Prague. China?

Alas, I must deal with the now. And one of my tasks to take care is to clean up the digital memories and debris of my last two years here in Costa Mesa.  Transfer photographs to hard drives, sort through  files, sorth through old written thoughts … you know the drill.

One of the things I stumbled across yesterday as I transferred pictures from my work computer to a hard drive was a video taken from my personal canon digital camera of Daniel Johnston  from my Roadie Roadtrip with RTN.  I was beyond words meeting this man. And beyond appreciative of his, and his families, generosity for letting us interview him at his home in Waller, TX.  And the cherry on top from this expereince was hearing him play this song on the piano. Daniel Johnston, serenading us, in his living room ! After quite a few years of admiring his talent from afar. 

Something one can never forget.

 

If you ever have the chance, and you have not, check out the emotional and brilliantly done documentary on his life; “The Devil and Daniel Johnston“.  Here is the trailer:

Amazing.

Michael Jackson

June 25, 2009

 

MJ

MJ

 

 

It’s shocking that he died.

At first I wasn’t really sure why. I wasn’t even sure why I felt sad.

But to a certain extent, he is the first large pop icon from my gernations childhood to pass.  Those of us born in the 80’s grew up  idolizing him, singing his songs, and dancing to him in our bedrooms. I distinctly remember choreography a dance to “Black and White” that my sister and I performed on the “stage” in our childhood suburban home. And when I say stage, I mean a area of our living room that was 1 foot higher up than the rest of the room. 

Idols like Michael (or Marylin, or JFK, or Evlis) are people who are larger than life. Everyone in the world looks toward for entertainment and to judge. We eyeball their every move, we scrutinze their decisions, and we watch their lives knowing that we will never be as big as they are. We look towards them like they are bread of a different DNA, something sort of super DNA. And through the media and our obsessive glimpses into their lives they become  almost cartoon like. They become fictional beings who don’t exist in the same realm as the rest of us. 

So, when they die, it shocks us. Because they become human, they become real, they end up in the same place that the rest of us end up in. With it all over, done, and said. To be remembered only by what we did with the short life we had. 

Michael, really was just made of the same DNA you and I were. 

I am rambling, it’s been an odd day. And my thoughts have been scattered. Let us watch a MJ video. 

Being the Disneyland that I am, I find it only appropriate to remember him with a link to Captain EO

Death is always a reminder that time waits for no one, our lives are passing us by. I should not take this all for granted.

Watch My Friends Video and Vote Now!

June 19, 2009

And favorite it! NOW!!!!

Visit this link to actually favorite it: http://www.areallygoodejob.com/video-view.aspx?vid=bnshuonsrSg

This was Kristina’s first editing attempt in life, and I think she did a fabulous job.

Thank you!

Movie Recommendation

June 14, 2009

I am proving to be getting older. Fact. I am nearly 26.

Really not that old if you think about it, but I already see the signs on aging on a daily basis. 

One of the signs of aging took a toll on me this very weekend. It was the realization that I cannot  recuperate from a big night out as fast as I used to. Last night I celebrated my cousin’s graduation from UCSB (congrats Andrea!) with a good old fashion night of excess and getting silly.  There were shots, beers, a drink called a “Fish Bowl” (the concoction of juices and liquor literally sat in a fish bowl full of straws, it took 4 of us to finish it) and plenty of dancing. A few years back, I would have woke up this morning, had some greasy food, and asked what was next on the list of things to do.  Not today. No sir. It now takes me an entire day and a few naps to recouperate from the damage. How slightly depressing, but only slightly. Because what it all really spelled out for me today was that it was an excuse to watch movies on the couch at my parents house. You see, they have nice big flat screens and I barely ever have access to a working television at my apartment. 

And the point of my banter? Well, during my day of R&R/nursing a hangover, I watched a movie I would like to recommend. 

 

Movie Poster

Movie Poster

 

 

“Death at  a Funeral”   brought to us by the wonderful and talented Frank Oz (yes, YODA! and MISS PIGGY!), who has an amazing career, I highly suggest you click on the link to his IMDB profile. I won’t ramble on and on about the film, I don’t want to give much away. But it is an EXTEMELY funny film, I laughed harder than I have in a long while, to the point of tears and snorts. The movie has  quite a fantastic ensemble of British actors as well, including the very crushable Matthew Macfayden .  Although his Mr. Darcy may never live up to Colin Firth’s Darcy (and whose ever will?), his acting in Frost/Nixon and this film has won my fullest admiration. Also there is an amazingly hilarious performance by Alan Tudyk

But I think the best part of the film is its ability to get us to laugh so hard at some really serious issues, death, family, jealousy, sexuality, and dysfunction. And in the end, I did shed a small tear, but not from laughter but from its though provoking and genuinely touching ending speech by Macfayden’s character Daniel. 

So, go rent it. You won’t be sorry.

I was going to post the trailer, but I really feel like it doesn’t begin to do the movie justice. I think that is a compliment to a film, when the trailer doesn’t live up to the movie, most of the time it is the opposite case.

Stop Motion is all the Rage

June 14, 2009

I feel like in the last few weeks multiple stop motion animations have come to my attention. Stop motion isn’t new concept, we certainly can all remember Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”, or perhaps made very popular by  claymations like Wallace and Gromit, The Nightmare Before Christmas, or Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer . But I felt like blogging about these simply because they smaller projects that are a joy to watch, and really get you to contemplate the effort and patience it requires to do stop motion, even for a very short piece. I hope you find them equally as entertaining as I do. 

This is a senoir project by a student who attended Savannah College of Art and Design (also known as SCAD) that has been floating around the internet. Odd story, I was once confused for a SCAD student at a sandwhich shop when I was passing through Savannah on a roadtrip. The gentleman told me, and I quote, “you look like one of those art student kids.”  Well, maybe I looked like one, I hadn’t showered in a few days, I was living out of a giant green motor-home, and probably wearing my large black rimmed glasses … so I can see how I could be confused for  the “artist/student” stereotype. Big difference was I certainly have never produced anything of this nature in my life, and most certainly if I did it wasn’t during my college years. I was too busy writing a 119 page thesis that no one will ever read. So kudos to the student, Bang-yao Liu , for his work. He obviously received an education and has an imagination worth showing off.

Directed by: Tomas Mankovsky 

A co-worker of mine sent this around the office a few weeks ago. In his e-mail he told us to watch the video all the way through (you know, people’s attention spans don’t last very long these days) to see how they made it.  This was really the first time it struck me how much work is put into a stop motion animation/video. Just like a traditional animation, you need to put work into every frame and small movement. It needs to be photographed and executed, motion for motion. But with traditional animation the work is done through drawing. In these videos, the work is done with people and objects, and requires a tremendous amount of patience. I seriously doubt I have the patience for this kind of work, but the pay off and result of innovative and entertaining pieces like this must be the motivation.  So, to you my dear reader, I give you the same advice my co-worker gave me. Watch the video all the way through and truly observe the making of a stop motion animation, and if anything I hope it raises your level of appreciation. 

A music video for Oren Lavie . The Song: Her Morning Elegance

This one is quite popular on YouTube. It has over 5,000,000 views. So chances are you may have already seen this. 

But once again, so fun to think about the making of a video like this. I admire the creative use of the mattress and everyday household items to create a backdrops and scenes, and combine that with the actors abilities to use simple body language to communicate the story. Very Nice.

I am sharing this for it’s ARTISTIC Value …

June 8, 2009

Not because it has anything to do with ZQ!

Nope sir.

Check out this video. Simply because it wasn’t made with any “video” footage. It is compromised of 15,000 still photos. Which boggles my mind on many different levels.

The patiences it must have required. How many memory cards did it take? What kind of camera did they use? Was this done over the course of one day?

Here is the description I found on it:

This short film, created using almost 15,000 digital still photos and no video footage, was screened with dozens of other “Happy New Year” shorts in Bordeaux, France on December 31st, 2008, as an introduction to the city’s New Year’s Eve countdown. The event was part the “Who Do You Are?” Arts Festival overseen by Jared Gradinger and his Berlin-based Arts company. It was produced by Zachary Quinto, Corey Moosa, and Neal Dodson through their company, Before The Door Pictures.
It was done by a filmmaker named Dave Schwep, apparently.
And if you happen to be a fan of Heroes, you can get a bit of a behind the scenes feeling/cameos from the stars of the show.
Aside from the fact that this stars Zachary Quinto, I found it amusing enough to blog about with out seeming like I am being gratuitious with my celebrity crush.