Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Holidays

Here's this years holiday card we just completed for Wunderman. We sent out mail and emails to clients wishing them a happy holidays and introducing the concept: You don't need to spend millions on a TV spot when you have robots that can do the same for free. It's the perfect answer to these challenging economic times.

A link directs to the flash application that lets you create different genres of commercial that are quasi-customized to your business.

You wouldn't believe how hard it was to get this working. We shot the video and then used voice technology to supply the audio. But getting the audio and video to synch up took hours and hours of actionscript coding, which I sort of sat and watched being done in awe.

Here it is!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Big Fucking Lebowski

This goes out to Mike. It's a fucking brilliant edit of one of the funniest fucking movies of all time. They fucking cut out just about everything except the word fuck. And fucking A, you can kinda tell what the fuck's going on.

Fucking enjoy.

Emmit Otter's Jug Band Christmas

Another Christmas classic, this one from Jim Henson. A genius.



Emmit's competition. Never has evil so honestly assessed its own badness.



"When the River Meets the Sea." From early in the movie. A beautiful song with an Amazing Grace feel to it. Yes, the clips are out of order. Who cares? You're out of order. This whole court is out of order!! Sorry, another lost 70s reference. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rich Little's Christmas Carol

Ah, the late 70s/early 80s. I used to watch this every time it came on. Remember this?






Monday, October 20, 2008

Slideshow

So I made this slideshow for my niece, Aidan. As you probably know, she has Juvenile Diabetes. It's a disease that affects people I love, from friends to family.

I scored it to a song that my sister requested. It has special significance to her and my brother-in-law, because it's one of the first songs they heard after Aidan was diagnosed.

It took a while to do this. Getting all the images in order, putting on basic effects, writing the words, syncing it all to music. But I think it came out nice. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Siskel & Ebert Uncensored

Siskel & Ebert were the best duo ever. Best movie duo, best infighting duo, best comedy duo. Just listen to them start riffing here. So good.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Drums and piano

Every day the Internet coughs up another gem of brilliance that is so simple you wonder: "Why the hell didn't I think of that?"

Lasse Gjertsen can't play drums or piano, but he's a virtuoso editor. The result is awesome. I just wonder how many cuts he had to make to put this all together.

Friday, September 26, 2008

All my wisdom comes from 80's sitcom theme songs

ON ACCEPTING YOUR FATE
You take the good you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life.

ON DIVERSITY
The world don't move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you might not be right for some.

ON RELAXATION
Making you way in the world today takes everything you got. Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.

ON SELF PROMOTION
Gimme a break, I sure deserve it. It's time I made it to the top.

ON SELF DISCOVERY
Early to rise, early to bed. In and between I cooked and cleaned and went out of my head. Going through life with blinders on, it's tough to see. I had to get up, get out from under and look for me.

ON SELF ACCEPTANCE
I used to be sad, I used to be shy. Funniest thing, the saddest part is I never knew why. Kickin' myself for nothin' was my favorite sport. I had to take off, start enjoyin' 'cause life's too short.

ON APATHY
Maybe the world is blind. Or just a little unkind. Don't know.

ON FALLING IN LOVE
What would we do, baby? Without us? What would we do, baby? Without us? And there ain't no nothing we can't love each other through. What would we do, baby? Without us?

ON BREAKING UP TO BECOME A DJ
Baby, if you've ever wondered, wondered whatever became of me: I'm living on the air in Cincinnati. Cincinnati, WKRP.

Prank Call

Here's a fun short from the genius at eatpes.com

Awesome

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Help fight juvenile diabetes

Three years ago, my niece Aiden was taken to the hospital because she was having trouble breathing. The doctor told her mom (my sister) that she probably had a cold, and sent her home.

A few hours later, her condition got worse. This time they tried urgent care and the doctors took a look at how sick she was and ran a diabetes test. The results were positive. At just 18-months old, Aiden was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.

Worse still, she had actually gone into diabetic ketoacidosis and was immediately hooked up to an insulin drip to combat the toxic levels of glucose in her body. After a few harrowing days, she stabilized and was sent home.

Today, Aiden is a happy, outgoing girl who bravely undergoes daily monitoring and treatment for her illness. My sister and her husband Josh are now well educated on diabetes, and they work tirelessly to ensure Aiden's levels are as stable as possible.

They also started joining a walk for juvenile diabetes. And this year, on November 1, I'll be joining them. If you have extra money that you just don't know what to do with, you can put it to noble use by making a tax-deductible donation at Aiden's Web Page.

Thanks!
Brian

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Europe '08

I have a tendency in this blog to write about nonsense and post nothing about what I'm actually doing in my life. Hey, it's my blog, right?

But I'll break from the random here and post on the trip I took to Europe in June.

The actual, official reason for my trip was to attend the Cannes Advertising Festival in France. It's the same Cannes where they hold the film fest and a bunch of other fests throughout the year. It's a fest kinda town.

Here's a picture of me "working." This shot in from cafe inside the Grand Palais where all the work was shown throughout the week.



The best part? The many, many free parties held continuously just outside the Palais, along the Mediterranean. My AD and I would just walk up to these parties, show our festival badges and suddenly we'd be sitting on the beach with a glass of Champagne in one hand and a little plate of appetizers or a sorbet in the other. Here's a shot from a beach chair.



After grinding it out in angry, dirty New York for almost ten years, Cannes was a glimpse at how good life can be. Happier people, sunnier skies, cleaner air and calmer. Much calmer. My AD said it's seventy-four degrees and sunny in everyone's head, all the time. Which pretty much nails it.

The first night we grabbed dinner at the worst restaurant in Cannes, then took a hike up some winding side streets to check out the Old Cannes Castle. It's an amazing floodlit castle that sits on a hill overlooking the city. And in true Europe fashion, you just wander around the grounds with no one bothering or hawking Cannes Castle key chains.



Here's a shot from atop a wall and peering through a stone turret, in the same spot I imagine a bowman would position himself during an attack. If the French fought.



During the day we saw some really amazing creative work from around the world, none of which I'll post here. At night there were the awards ceremonies and then the parties.

Midway through the week the festival held it's opening night gala. It was probably the biggest single party I've ever attended. One giant stage in the center, surrounded by tables and tables of food and desserts, Champagne, wine and beer. All set up on a beach and stretching out to a long ass pier.

An English, all-female vocal band performed a handful of songs and then the stage became a dance floor. Or as I call it, that thing you have to skirt around to get another beer.

Here's a tiny clip from the party, which I only have because I hit the wrong button on my camera. In the foreground is part of the stage/dance floor. In the distance is the Carlton.

video

After the party we went to a bar that is locally called "The Gutter." It's small corner bar that, after 2pm, is suddenly swarmed with (seriously) well over a thousand people. Nightmare, right? But this was Cannes. Imagine two thousand people and no elbowing, no fights, no dumb screaming frat drunks. Everyone is happy in their linen pants and Mediterranean tans.

The party spilled from outside the gutter bar, into the street, across to the parking lot of the enormous Carlton Hotel, into the foyer of the Carlton, through the Carlton's bar, outside to the pool area, and alongside a path to about a dozen cabanas. I have no pictures from that party. I forgot to use my camera at that point.

I didn't actually stay in Cannes. My hotel was located about six miles away, in a little beach town called Juan Les Pins. Here's a random snapshot I took in Juan Les Pins while running in the morning.



My girlfriend Lauri flew in later in the week and joined me for the last day of the festival. She actually arrived the morning after the gutter bar. Here I am super hung over.



But I got over that quick enough and we were having a lovely dinner that very night.

Here's Lauri at our beach side dinner.




We also hung around the hotel pool in Juan Les Pins.







The last morning we ordered room service, then took off for a few days in Turin, Italy. But I'll post that leg of the journey later.

Another writing exercise

In the writing class I mentioned below, the deal was that you'd read a novel, short story or poem every week, and then write a selection based upon the tone, mood, perspective or writing style of the work. This was written from a story called "Dr. Safi." This wouldn't go anywhere, but I do like the dog dreaming part...


Travels with Homer
Jeffery didn’t have a job. He was 30 and lived with his dog Homer in the basement of his parents’ house, which he’d converted into a small apartment. He liked to sit on his bed with his back to the painted cement wall and watch TV or read old magazines from the 60s, like LOOK, while his dog slept curled in an “O” at his side. Upstairs his parents trampled around and called to each other as from across a great distance, and in the morning the aroma of his father’s coffee filtered under the basement door and permeated his dreams.

On the weekends Jeffery would pull together a few dollars and buy a little baggie of weed from some guys who hung around the university across town. He’d drive his old Impala to pick it up. It was a long, blue car that he called Mothera because there was a dead Monarch Butterfly that had been preserved for years in the space where the windshield almost met the dashboard. When he got home he’d play a tape by Tangerine Dream or Vangelis and roll a joint. He liked the idea of smoking a joint even though he wasn't very skilled at rolling one, and sometimes he’d finish rolling it only to have to unroll it and start over. But Jeffery didn’t mind if it took a while. It’s the weekend, he thought.

One Saturday evening after he’d smoked an oblong joint and was sitting on his bed listening to the Alan Parsons Project’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Jeffery had a vision. He closed his eyes and from the inky blackness saw a vast blue landscape arise, which he took to be a representation of the music, or perhaps his mind, but which also looked a lot like Utah or some other western state. It was a vivid and defined landscape that stretched toward all horizons and he hovered above it, watching. He soon realized that he could “fly” through the contours of this dark terrain, and so he did -- soaring across stretches of smooth bedrock, over granite abutments and down into scooped out riverbeds, feeling the rush of mossy air on his face. It was a sensation that he remembered having as a child when he dreamed of flying; the absolute certainty that it was real. And the more he explored, the more he realized that he’d visited this place before. Not just in his mind, but physically. This place existed in the real world, he was sure of it.

He got up off of his bed and walked over to a map on his wall. He turned on a table lamp that was balanced on top of some CD cases and bent the neck up so that it illuminated the map. Hmm, he thought. Where had he visited out West? Had he ever been out West? He looked over at Homer who was watching him from the shadows of the bed. “When was I out West?” he asked. Homer stood up on the bed and stretched, his mottled tongue unfurling from his blond muzzle, then plopped back down.

Jeffery stood there frowning at the map. He then got a beer out of his mini-fridge and walked out through the basement door into the backyard. It was a warm June night and the sky was filling up with pale stars and crickety sounds. I’m going to go out west to find this place, he decided. I’ll get some things together tomorrow and drive out with Homer.

Inside, Homer was also dreaming about flying. In the dream he was chasing a bluebird across the lawn, running and running as the tiny bird flittered just beyond his snapping reach. Suddenly he realized that he was airborne high above the house and Jeffery was calling for him. “Hooomerrr!” Jeffery called, but his scrabbling legs found no purchase in the air and he sailed helplessly away as the house got smaller and smaller. When he awoke in the frowsy darkness, he sensed that Jeffery wasn’t in the room. He wobbled off of the bed and walked through the laundry room into the old family room, pausing to listen at the stairs. Then, his nails clacking on the cement foundation, he walked outside to where Jeffery was sitting and the two of them stared into the night.

Space Invaders

I came across this the other day. It's from a writing class I took from 02 to early 04. I should really take that class again.

Space Invaders

It is 1978 and the Japanese Beetles are everywhere. They come to our neighborhood from above, from the endless recesses of summer sky, of pure blue -- from somewhere out there. They swirl like television static across the sloping lawns and through the low, painted fences that demarcate property lines. They drop into the elastic pockets of hanging bed sheets, sink into slime coated kiddie pools and fall onto picnic tables like dry, scrabbling rain. They keep coming and coming until all of the trees are studded with their ceramic green and copper shells and the leaves sag under their pennyweight. And even after they strip the foliage away, tearing and chewing, leaving only gossamer veins, they still keep coming.

“They’re ruining my whole yard,” Mrs. Merante says as she plucks the beetles off of the hedges that separate her lawn from ours. I watch her squash one between her thumb and forefinger -- squinting beneath her floppy bonnet -- and drop it into a plastic bag.

It’s early afternoon. High above my house a silver jet draws white across the blue sky as I sit baking on the driveway, shirtless in my cutoffs. Chucky sits across from me, also shirtless, a copper arrowhead necklace resting on his chest. We smile at each other grittily, each pretending the heat from the driveway that is melting into our legs doesn’t hurt, but actually feels really nice. I grin to let him know that I’m just getting started. Ah, I could do this all day. He closes his eyes, stretches, like he’s ready to drop off to sleep. I know he’s faking. But it doesn’t matter because all at once the heat penetrates me, rubbing under my skin like sandpaper, and I jump up and run over to the cool grass. “Ah ha!” Chucky raises his hands in victory.

I brush off my legs and walk over to the Japanese Beetle trap that is set up in the center of our lawn. It’s a weird-looking contraption -- a yellow, hourglass shaped-plastic bag resting atop slender plastic legs. Every lawn has one, and together they look like a fleet of tiny alien craft that had landed during the night. The traps emit an awful smell that is inescapable: At once sweet and rank, grassy and chemical, the scent hangs low across the neighborhood, seeping through the soft window screens into our kitchens and bedrooms and filling our senses as humidity fills a locked room. Chucky comes over to help inspect the trap. In the bottom of the bag a few beetles convulse, moving their pointed heads in busy circles. I flick the bag with my finger and immediately hear my mother’s voice calling out from her bedroom window. “Michael! What did I tell you about touching those traps? Get in here now and wash your hands. Now!”

Chucky’s on the front porch when I come back. “What do you want to do now?” I ask.

“I don’t know.” He spits on our cement walk. “Wanna pretend we’re the strongest men in the world?”

“OK.

“But I’m just a little stronger than you are.”

“No, we’re exactly as strong as each other.”

“OK, but I’m just a teeny, eeny-weeny bit stronger than you.” He holds up two fingers to show me how small the difference is.

“I don’t want to play.”

Outliers

Written 20 minutes after taking a sleeeeeeping pill. mmmmm

Outliers
We do not conform to social construct. Not the more obvious, middle of the road choices most people fall into, quite comfortably and naturally, in their early 20s. To them, it's like putting on pants. We never made that connection. And we remained undefined. And in some cases, pantsless.

We tried subculture, that tangle of weirs that awaits just downstream. All the really smart, fat chicks and the short, pimpled poets find themselves defining themselves in place they learn to accept over time. Until one drunken night you look around your dark circle of friends in some bar or basement, and the rising high lifts you out of your apathy and you feel, for the first time you can remember, that you just might have control over your life. And that you've finally hooked into a group that understands. You. Fucked up people, who are funny and talented--or at least have the desire to be talented. And there's the music and moves and shit to do. But in the moring you wake up with a hangover and every thing's gone to shit again. You are not part of this group. That was a delusion brought about by the excessive, some would say, desperate consumption of so much liquor in such s short time. Really, you were out of control. Far beyond the pale of group 2's different, but still important senses of moderation and fair play. Begone, we'll still be friends, knowing it's an act.

Drop on level. Now say to yourself that you're finally home and you grin. But you hate it all again in the morning. But we also do no fit in with the several subgroups that exist below the line of accepted society—punks, Goths, gangstas, nerds, dorks, gamers, fan boys.. There are the last outposts of belonging, slight off the center but sill cozily within acceptability. I don't have the jewelry or makeup skills, my body is not build for goth, unless you count way-too-old and boxy-shaped goth with a giant fleshy face and a corporate card. Gangstas, please. I avoid you at all costs, only because you tend to be loud, obnoxious, confrontational and easily insulted I'm not walking that minefield

Go a further step subculture and find dominatrices, TV, sex addicts, drug addicts, bondage freaks. Hay, a night out is a night out. BU theres a commitment even here, perhaps especially here. Look at tall the equipment that must be kept clean. Giant devices and complicated knots and whole dramatic why of speaking the embarrasses me.

So where are we, the outliers?

We are undefined, ill-fitting, tongue-tied, flush-faced fuckers. We travel through your valleys and mock your consistency (while smelling the flowers and stealing tomatoes). We are visitors in every sense. To you word and the commitment that constructs it. We can commit, but only for short times. We can love, but it's a strange love, maybe cerebral. We do great things in short spurts of inspiration knowing our concentration and interest each have time limits

Down here with us are some of humanities darkest. Criminals, murderous, perverts, maniacs, sociopaths, inmates. There are also artists and writers, people who would kick a dog to death or another who would lie to his own mother.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Margarito/Cotto

Margarito is a monster. Hit him all you want. He'll keep coming. Here's the end of his war with Cotto.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Better Beowulf?


I haven't seen the film Beowulf, but I am probably one of a handful of people who enjoyed reading it in college (and, more recently, the Seamus Heaney version.)

A writer I know claims that the movie version "fixes" the original tale, giving it plot structure and cohesion that was lacking in the classic work. Hmm.

Apparently, in this better version of the 8th Century Anglo-Saxon epic (Punched up by Roger Avery, and Neil Gaiman of "Babylon 5"), Beowulf slays Grendel, then must face the wrath of Grendel's mother.

So far, so good. But here's the thing. Grendel's mother? Hottie. Total fuckin' aquatic piece of monster ass. Like an Angelina Jolie, maybe. And she is so pissed about what Beowulf did to her son, she demands Beowulf give her another baby. And she wants him to make it the old fashioned way. Boom-Chicki-Boom.

Hey Beowulf's only a man, right? Cue the sexy Berlin song and flip on the blue lights. Steamy? You betcha. Take my breath away.

Now get the angle on this. For his "duties," Beowulf becomes king. Sweet, right? But as punishment for his moment of sexy weakness, the child that Mama Grendel pops out don't look much like Pops at all.

Papa was a rollin' stone, but junior is a dragon. And he's got a case of the colic.

Now for the tragedy. Beowulf must save his own kingdom from the wrath of dino-boy by slaying the little fella -- his only begotten son. Wow. Almost Biblical, but hotter 'cause it's got Angelina.

Roll credits. The end. There's not a dry eye (or seat) in the house. Thank you, Robert Zemeckis.

Yea, I'm skeptical that a Hollywood development team and some CGI programmers could "fix" one of the seminal poetic works of our language. Or that it even needs fixing. Beowulf was a spoken work, memorized and shared by bards who would embellish and expand upon the story as fit the occasion. There was no structure to the tale because it was a cumulative work created by generations.

Actually, I like to think of Beowulf as a story people kept building upon, until they finally got sick of telling it. Originally, it was probably just a great campfire story to scare the shit out of the kids. "There was this monster, Grendel, who terrorized a Mead Hall -- maybe one that wasn't too far from here. But a hero named Beowulf swam across the sea to save the day. He waited for the Grendel to attack, then bam! There was a great battle, and Beowulf won!

And someone said: Tell us more!

"OK, well. Let's see. The monster had a mother, who was even worse than him. And she lived underwater. And when she found out about Beowulf, she started killing people, too. But Beowulf swam down to her lair to get her. There was a great battle, and Beowulf won! The end.

And someone said: Is that all?

"Um, no, no. Because, there was this dragon. A big, fire-breathing serpent who terrorized the town and was way, way worse than those other monsters. And Beowulf fought it. There was a great battle, and Beowulf won.

And someone said: What else....?

"No, no, no. Wait, I'm not done. You see, because WHILE Beowulf was in the act of delivering the death blow, he was also wounded by the dragon. And he died. And they burned his body in a pyre and sent him out to sea to make sure he was dead. And he was. Dead.

And someone said: Is that all?

"Yes! Go to sleep!"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bubble wrap

This has been going around IM today. Everybody loves it. I think you will, too.

It's BUBBLE WRAP!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dark Knight


Saw the film this evening. Fantastic.

Don't worry. No spoilers here.

Performances. Let's start with the Joker. You know how they said playing the role of the Joker messed with Heath Ledger's mind? I thought that was just some Hollywood silliness. But seeing the movie, I can believe that playing the character he plays could actually fuck with your head. It is an intense, exceptionally dark, but funny and wildly charismatic performance.

Heath steals every scene. The Joker's dialogue is the strongest of any character. His crimes are exceptionally clever, anarchic gags that have layers of meaning and deliver sudden, violent punchlines that make you wince and laugh simultaneously. The Joker is a moving art exhibit -- like a terrorist Banksy. You hate him. And he truly earns your hate by being horrifyingly cruel. But you sit up and grin every time he comes on screen.

There is something essentially human in the Joker: a wicked, destructive, selfish, spontaneous, id-driven lust-for-life that balances Batman's sense of order and discipline. (There is a line by the Joker in the movie that sums up this mutually definitive relationship perfectly and hysterically) However, while the Joker professes to play by no rules, don't believe it: He has daunting creative standards that inform everything he does.

What is so stunning is how Heath somehow gets evil and funny into the Joker seamlessly and at the same time. Nicholson's goofier portrayal lacked the subtlety to pull this off. Heath simply defines the character of the Joker.

Christian Bale is solid. I actually prefer him as Bruce over Batman -- his performance, anyway. Nobody plays trust fund, Ivy Leaguer like Bale. There were a few scenes in the movie when Bale's portrayal of Wayne as a social scenester evoked a touch of Patrick Bateman. Hm, Batman -- Bateman. Neat.

Maggie Gyllenhall. Same downturned expression of Katie, minus the empty-headed perkiness. Richer performance. She fully understands and therefore believes, and therefore sells the dialogue, which Holmes in her Dawson Creekiness could never muster. But that is underselling Maggie. She brings a calm, centered selflessness to the character that is essential to the story. Nolan knew what was required here. And he made the right choice.

Caine and Freeman are Caine and Freeman. Understated and perfect, both.

I've always been a fan of Oldman's chameleon-like ability to sink into his roles. But somehow Gordon is my favorite. Why? I Think of Dracula, Drexyl, Sid Vicious, Jackie (State of Grace). All big characters, played big. But Gordon is the quiet man. Good, moral, brave, but ordinary and middle aged. Sagging and a little sad. He's the guy we could aspire to become, because what he exhibits is attainable.

After Ledger, Aaron Eckhart might have the most demanding role in the film. His character certainly has the biggest arc. I don't want to say too much about his performance lest I give something away. But it's a damn tricky role, and the naturally reasonable, affable Eckhart nearly pulls it off.

OK, no more. The plot is wide and reaching -- even silly, I suppose, if you stop to think about it. But real wars are started on sillier premises. Go see it. Like now. Surrender and be that annoying first wave of fanboys who simply must see it TODAY, and have their laptops all fired up and ready to go so they can blog their impressions to the world (as I have done here!).

And Ledger. Damn. His performance is so good that I promise you won't do what I feared I would do the whole movie -- think about how I'm watching someone who has since died. I never thought it once. (OK, maybe once.) This role was a revelation for me. I never knew how good he was.

And Nolan. After Memento, Batman Begins, The Prestige and The Dark Knight, I have to place him way up there among the best directors today.

PS, Iron Man is also great. Bye.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

"My life"

This has always been a favorite Mr. Show sketch of mine. I loved when they took a ridiculous premise to it's logical conclusion, if that makes sense.

Spinal Tap's album reviews

Inspired by a MOoT post. How much fun did they have writing these reviews?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Behind the Scenes: HBO "Starship" intro from 1982

The HBO "Starship" intro used to give me chills. I probably saw it five hundred times. So much so that I was bothered when they tweaked the end music, and when they dropped the first scene featuring that super white couple perched uncomfortably on the couch.



Here's an HBO Behind the Scenes special from 1982 featuring the making of this damn near perfect intro. I remember watching this special about a million times. It's still fascinating. The craftsmanship that went into the project was incredible. Today they'd make the whole thing with computer effects. And it wouldn't be as good.

The only thing I seem to have forgotten about this special is the stunningly cheesy song that plays throughout. It's called "Illusion," by this guy, and it has the sound of a segment from the Great Space Coaster. Oh, that and the awesome early 80's haircuts and beards. Which were still really late 70s styles.


There were a lot of different HBO intros from the late 70s through early 80s. Some I remember, others not so much. But we probably all remember the adolescent male strategy of trying to hide the fact that we were watching an R rated movie by deftly turning the channel after the intro but before the ratings bump, with its stentorian recitation of the nudity, violence, graphic language, adult situations and (the motherload) Strong Sexual Content that were about to further stiffen the unyielding zipper folds of our Toughskins.



If my mom overheard the R rasting (And she always did), she'd be halfway down the basement stairs in moments. "Oh, no, no, no."

So I had the timing of that ratings warning down to the second. As soon as the "R" appeared I'd click over to see what, say, Kate and Alley were up to. I'd camp it out on network TV for a couple of family approved jokes, then flick back to the super-soft porn goodness of "Class," "The Last American Virgin," or "She's 19 and Ready."

There were a few strategies for flying under the parental radar when you were 13 and lived in a suburban home.

The first tactic was the simplest, but also the least effective: Simply turning down the volume to watch the action without the grunts, shrieks and "oh gods" parents are trained to detect right through the kitchen linoleum from a floor up. Unfortunately silence is it's own warning bell. Shenanigans thrive in quiet spaces, maybe even flowering into perversions. Why's he so quiet? What's he doing down there? Smoking? Sniffing glue? Petting the dog strangely? Maybe we should check...

There were two other strategies available.

One was that you simply found the filth you wanted and mentally mapped it on the switchbox as a flyby area, meant to be dive-bombed for momentary glimpse, and then -- before anybody within earshot could possibly make sense of the animal grunts and teen titters -- you clicked off the channel for more age-appropriate viewing. War Games was good, because Mom could believe you'd watch it. Brain Games held slightly less credibility, as did Fraggle Rock. Bob Ross was basically a confession.

So you'd get an impression of the nudity, then flip to Matthew Broderick talking to Dabney Coleman. You'd wait a few moments for a segment of whiny dialog from Matthew Broderick, (Mom upstairs heard and thought: Ah, Matthew Broderick. Nice boy.") then you'd jab that evil channel button -- BAM! -- back to the porn, get an impression, leave. Get an impression, leave.

There were complex moves, predicated on two sets of criteria. A) How to convincingly you sell the idea that you're watching a wholesome movie on HBO downstairs to your parents who might be listening from the upstairs kitchen. B) How to time the crucial moments spent AWAY from the porn channel to ensure you'll coming back in time to full nudity. It was an optimization strategy: Maximize nudity viewed while minimizing risk.

So you'd build a time line of the movie action in your head, working out the logistics of how long it takes to fill the hot tub, how many buttons on her blouse and how long he's going to sped "comically" fumbling with her bra. These were 70/80s soft porn rejects. Everything worked up to total nakedness inexorably and very, very slowly. So it was critical that you balanced your channel surfing strategy perfectly, flicking back and forth so you could reassess the nudity schedule.

The other method, employed for pay channels you didn't get, was more complex and took a bit of skill and a bit more luck.

You'd try to jam the cable box by pressing buttons around the porn station button. This would create a third "meta-channel," composed of blobby video images and confused sound -- sometimes surprisingly from an entirely different channel. There was not much meaning to be seen at first glance. BUT, there was a fine tuning wheel. And if you worked that wheel of fortune just right...A boob! Two boobs! I saw an ass maybe. She was in a tub! It would hold for a brief, wonderful moment. In color. In black and white. The image assembled into flesh, and then contorting into a fun mirror shape and returning to nothing.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Animated Wall Painting

This is amazing work. Imaginative, sprawling, funny and incredibly ambitious. What did you create today?



Watch a higher-res version here

They meet

And it's perfectly crazy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Whatever, it's FUNNY

I know posting YouTube crazes is a little lazy, but this is really funny. Really well edited.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

E.A. Robinson wrote the best endings in all of poetdom

Three examples:

Eros Turannos
Meanwhile, we do no harm, for they
that with a god have striven,
Not hearing much of what we say,
take what the god has given;
Though like waves breaking it may be,
Or like a changed familiar tree,
Or like a stairway to the sea
where down the blind are driven.

Richard Cory
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Miniver Cheevy
Miniver Cheevy, born too late,
Scratched his head and kept on thinking;
Miniver coughed, and called it fate,
And kept on drinking.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wallace Stevens on explaining a poem

...things that have their origin in the imagination or in the emotions very often take on a form that is ambiguous or uncertain. It is not possible to attach a single, rational meaning to such things without destroying the imaginative or emotional ambiguity or uncertainty that is inherent in them and that is why poets do not like to explain. That the meanings given by others are sometimes meanings not intended by the poet or that were never present in his mind does not impair them as meanings.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008

Like A Rolling Stone

Two versions of one of the greatest, meanest songs ever written. Sprawling, jangly, rusty. Totally fresh even today.

First Dylan in Newcastle, 1966. Then Hendrix at Monterey one year later. Just because.



Friday, February 15, 2008

Get human

This could be the first genuinely helpful post I've ever done here.

And it's a doozy!

Don't you hate calling companies and navigating their byzantine, often circular answering systems? It's really technology at its worst. You spend ten minutes listening to a recording of menu options, pressing buttons like a monkey, just trying to get to a real person. And if you hit the wrong button it's a total do over.

So now there's Get Human, a very old-school looking Web site that does something beautiful: It lists a whole shit load of companies and tells you how to circumvent their systems to quickly get a real person on the line.

Did you go there? Great, right? Because when you have a problem, you don't want to deal with technology--you want a person.

On the other hand, there are times when technology is preferable over human contact. Like a brilliant site called Open Table, which not only offers a searchable database of area restaurants (including menus and reviews), but also awesomely lets you make a reservation without having to talk to some snooty restaurant host.

So you can avoid that uncomfortable American Psycho moment when Patrick Bateman calls for a reservation at Dorsia and is greeted only by sneering, incredulous laughter. No wonder he went on a killing spree. Imagine if he had to navigate an answering system.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bank Brat

Here's a TV spot my art director and I did for Nationwide. We shot it in like August I think and it came out a few months ago. It was a blast to shoot. Only problem is this version is out of synch. I should probably post a version that works.



Actually, you can watch a properly synched version of it on the Nationwide site.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Cell phone usage ban: Exception #1

In my proposed ban on the use of cell phones outside the home, I have identified certain exceptions to the rule. Here is one:

Women stuck in elevator for 2 days
Two cleaning women, trapped inside a broken elevator for two days, survived on two cough drops and six aspirin until they were rescued.

Beata Bartoszewicz and her mother, Roma Borowski, entered an elevator in an empty building in this Chicago suburb on December 22. After the elevator doors closed, the women discovered they were stuck on the first floor of the two-story building.

There was no response from an emergency call alarm and the women couldn't pry open the doors, Bartoszewicz said.

Neither had a cell phone or water and the building wasn't due to open until after Christmas.

The duo became dizzy from hunger. "I was close to thinking I was going to die," Bartoszewicz said.

The women tried to sleep on their coats and used a corner of the elevator as a bathroom.

Bartoszewicz said her mother continually reassured her.

"She kept saying, `We're going to be OK, and we're going to spend Christmas Eve at home,"' the 25-year-old said.

Two days later, on Christmas Eve, an employee of the building happened to go to work. Borowski said she heard him talking on his cell phone. The women yelled for his attention and he heard them.

Fire crews freed the women an hour later.

Bartoszewicz said the moral of the story is simple: "Always take your cell phone with you."