Archive for February, 2012

27
Feb
12

In response to NPR’s online privacy article

I feel like everything I just read is a bunch of nonsense (then again, I’m barely literate).  At its current stage, the “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” is only voluntary.  I doubt any internet company would “voluntarily” join a pact that could more than likely put a dent in their revenue.  Online companies won’t start handling user information responsibly until legislation is passed enforcing them to.

The urge to post some Rockwell was too strong!

I recently saw a segment on the Colbert Report about how closely Target monitors customer information.  Colbert explained that Target uses data analysis to review what women buy from their stores and then predict, many times correctly, that those women are pregnant.    Target then chooses online ads appropriate for expecting women, displaying things such as strollers, vitamin supplements, baby clothes, etc.  Many people are understandably shocked by Target’s insane scrutiny of its customers’ information, but I ask why???

How many times have you aimlessly browsed Walmart or Amazon only to get pissed off because you can’t decide what to buy?  With the way technology is evolving, those days are over – stores like Target will review your personal info and make those decisions for you.  And there are some instances where this kind of scrutiny would come in handy.  Take the pregnant woman story as an example.  If my significant other was pregnant, I’d have no damn clue what to buy her – it’s not like they give you instructions for these types of things!  That’s why Target’s customized ad spots would be there to guide me down the right purchasing path.

"Hmmm. Yellow stuff or green stuff?.... Fuck."

I think the liberal use of customer information could really become a good thing for both corporations and consumers.  I honestly lay awake at night hoping for the day when I can bump my head and, minutes later, my trustly friends from Walgreens will have Tylenol delivered straight to my door.  That would be the sweet life.

So I say let them monitor my online activity!  I’ll gladly surrender some personal privacy in exchange for less hassle in my everyday life.  And I commend any company brave enough to follow my online activity – that has got to be a disturbing job.

26
Feb
12

My super super-8 project

While browsing my local Goodwill store I came across a Bell and Howell Focus Matic Super 8 camera.  It looked in good shape so I bought the bastard for 4 U.S. dollars.  I plugged in some AAA batteries and much to my amazement the camera still works (anyone who’s ever browsed the electronics section of Goodwill knows that the “As Is” tag is a sure sign of junk).  It looks like I got lucky on this buy: everything works even though the camera dates back to 1974.

Harmless video camera...

... or futuristic space weapon??

Next came the challenge of finding some working super 8 film, and much to my further amazement, there are still companies out there producing it.  The now bankrupt Kodak offers a decent line of super 8 film, including negative and reversal, Ektachrome, and black and white.  I want a noir feel to my planned short film, so I ordered a cartridge of Kodak’s Tri-X B&W Reversal for $15 on Amazon.

This short film project has me excited, but there are a few factors that could become a future pain-in-the-ass.  For instance, a 50′ cartridge of super 8 film only produces about 2 and a half minutes of footage.  That’s not much to work with.  Then comes the challenge of converting and editing the fucker.  I (and I’m guessing the rest of the modern world) don’t have access to equipment for editing traditional film.  So I’ve been looking up some companies online that specialize in developing film and transferring it to digital.  This site looks promising and has reasonable pricing.  Once I’m done experimenting with the first cartridge I’ll give them a call and see what kind of deal I can strike.

In the meantime, I’ve been looking up some super 8 videos on Youtube and found some great work done by fellow film enthusiasts. Reading the comment sections has been a great help to me during this project.  This video makes great use of B&W film and music:

And here’s some super 8 footage of NYC taken about two years ago.  What an awesome vintage look:

Stay tuned for future developments!

24
Feb
12

Why the next president could be you!

For some reason, I keep following the Republican primaries.  And for some other reason, I keep hearing of a so-called “White Knight” possibly entering the GOP race for president (check here and here).  Apparently the primary race has been such a toss up that it is still possible for a last minute candidate to enter and win enough national delegates to earn the party nomination.  Now listen folks, I watch a lot of movies.  And if Hollywood has taught me anything about politics (aside from why to love the SOPA bill), it is that sometimes the person best suited to run our country is not some Washington insider, but an average Joe like you or me.

Presidential material? I think so!

Take, for instance, 1993’s Dave.  You know, the touching tale of how the president suffers a stroke while having sex with one of his aides and ends up in a coma.  Dave, an a average schmoe who happens to look exactly like the president, is recruited by the Secret Service to stand in for the ailing president to avoid scandal.  The real heart warming part comes when Dave’s down-to-earth sensibilities strike a chord with Americans and he ends up running the country better than any real politician… oh, and he gets frisky with Sigourney Weaver, too.

Or how about Chris Rock’s Head of State.  When the Democratic frontrunner dies unexpectedly in a plane crash, a panel of electioneers pick regular dude Mays Gilliam (Rock) to run for office.  Gilliam’s every-man style is a success in the Democratic primaries and helps prove the American Dream is still alive.  Also, he even teaches some bureaucratic stiffs how to party.

Bringing some super-fly legislation to a nation near you.

And who could forget Robin Williams in the highly forgettable Man of the Year.  In a fluke, political satirist Tom Dobbs decides to run for president and eventually wins thanks to a computer malfunction.  The heart warming twist occurs when Dobbs finds out about the error and announces his resignation to the American public, only for the entire nation to stand up and support the competely unqualified but lovable comedian.

So there you have it.  Hollywood has proven that the solution to all our national problems lies in the hands of some average Joe out there.  The GOP primaries are still up for grabs, and who knows, maybe that average Joe (or Jane) could be you?  It’s highly unlikely, though.

23
Feb
12

Team logo assignment

Being that our team name is “World of Pain,” I tried to make this logo as frightening and horrifying as the beating that we are about to unleash upon our competition! Enjoy.

16
Feb
12

Blog assignment #2

Here’s an odd, frightening website that I can’t stop staring at.  For those of you that grew up in western Pennsylvania, Buffo the Clown is a local hero and staple of each summer’s county fair circuit.  Here’s a link to his info page, which clearly explains why Buffo puts average clowns and most mere mortals to shame.  And here’s Buffo being buff and doing his best Hulk Hogan:

Available for children's parties and ass beatings

His info page is pretty well made and does a nice job of getting his story across.  Check it out for a good laugh.

16
Feb
12

Race to presidency gets hairy

Abraham Lincoln celebrated his 203rd birthday on Sunday.  Lincoln’s presidency is still held in reverence by many Americans whom celebrate him as a champion of human rights, a masterful orator that held the union together through a civil war, and above all else, a fashionable trendsetter with one rockin’ beard.

Lincoln's Beard: Shining beacon of liberty and defining feature of American currency

With the campaign for president in full swing, try to muster up the last time you saw a presidential candidate, or any American politician, with a beard.  Can’t do it?  That’s because facial hair has become a taboo among modern politicians, and the trend dates back to our founding fathers.  Until along came Honest Abe.

While campaigning for president in 1860, Lincoln received a letter from a New York girl named Grace Bedell.  The 11-year-old very bluntly told Lincoln that his ugly mug was basically unelectable, and that he should grow a beard, maintaining “you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin.”  Lincoln, swallowing his rage, took her advice and a month later was elected president.

Lincoln sparked a trend, with the next six presidents sporting a beard.  But somewhere in the mid 20th century, facial hair lost it’s popularity among politicians and the American voting public.  Beards and mustaches have rarely been seen on politicians since.

This guy probably had something to do with it.

Now back to today.  The American media loves to nitpick politicians and judge them on mere trivialities (see: Mitt Romney’s dogObama’s elitismRon Paul and insanity).  With the Republican primaries beginning to pan out, I say we encourage our presidential hopefuls to once again grow beards, and he with the finest growth will be chosen as leader of the free world.  As long as we are judging politicians on everything besides their political policies, we should at least make a fun and silly game out of it.

I'd vote for that stache

11
Feb
12

Glitter Bombs Shower GOP Race

For those unfamiliar with the term, a “glitter bomb” is a type of political statement  that has been showing up in the news lately.  Glitter bombs are used to make a statement against politicians opposing gay marriage, and the act is relatively simple: 1.) Take a handful of glitter 2.) Throw in the face of a politician 3.) Run like hell from Secret Service agents.  If that description wasn’t enough for you, here’s a photo of Rick Santorum taking a glitter bomb to the face:

Glitter bombs have been making the headlines recently as a stream of gay rights activists have been targeting conservative presidential nominees, with Santorum, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul all experiencing bombings in the past week alone.  But aside from its potential threat to the retinas of politicians nationwide, I’m beginning to question the effectiveness of the glitter bomb in advancing the rights of gay Americans.

In order for a political statement to be effective, it either has to raise a profound point or just be down right insane.  Take, for instance, Mohamed Bouazizi, an angry Tunisia street vendor whom lit himself on fire in protest of government corruption, high unemployment, and lack civil liberties.  His lone act sparked a wave of protests that led to the toppling of governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and inspired movements in several other Middle Eastern nations.

Now I’m not suggesting that gay rights activists light themselves on fire to get their point across,  but they should adopt a form of protest that doesn’t make a political convention look like a post-game Super Bowl ceremony.  What someone needs to do is take one for the team and make out with Newt Gingrich on national television.




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