Archive for March, 2012

31
Mar
12

change? got any change??

An interesting phenomenon occurred the other day at my local Sheetz gas station.

No, gas prices aren't falling.

During the course of my day I occasionally forget to eat food.  Hunger pangs kicked in around 1:30 a.m., so I headed over to Sheetz to buy a pre-made sandwich.  As I was paying at the counter, I noticed something peculiar about the penny tray – someone had left a lot of change in it.  And I’m talking more than just pennies: there was at least a dollar’s worth of quarters, nickels and dimes.  So I took it.  All of it.

Now here’s the interesting part.  It’s not like I took the money because I was short on change for my purchase.  I took it, you know, just to keep.  But then the lady at the counter saw me and gave me a look of disgust.  She furrowed her brow, confused and horrified.  She actually gave me a shitty look because I took free money.

This situation was fascinating to me for several reasons.  First, how do you become appalled at someone for taking free money?  It’s free, dammit!  And secondly, what kind of society are we living in where a handful of change is virtually worthless?  I can understand a bunch of pennies.  Pennies suck.  They are a nuisance and they can’t buy you shit – that’s why the penny tray is there.  But there was so much change in that tray.  The person who left it could have bought a sizable candy bar.

...or perhaps a stylish mustache.

I read today that Canada will stop minting pennies by the end of this year.  Could it be that in this age of electronic commerce and online banking people have forgotten the worth of physical currency?  Hell, I use my debit card so often my change jar has been dry for years.  And will kids growing up today even know the purpose of pennies, nickels and quarters?  Maybe the person who left that change was some punk kid who didn’t want loose metal scraps scuffing up his iPhone.

"They used to be made of silver, I tells ya. Silver!"

So until every pop machine and parking meter on the planet can connect to my Paypal account, I’ll always be holding onto spare change – or at least until I figure out how to hack into my apartment’s washer and dryer for free.

The devil itself.

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29
Mar
12

Super-8 attempt = colossal failure

Alfred Hitchcock once said “Anyone can make a Hollywood film.”  Well I’d like to say he was full of shit.

...but not everyone can eat five newborn puppies.

The story goes like this: Me and some friends ventured to NYC a few weeks ago to watch the St. Patty’s Day Parade, and what better place to shoot some super-8 film than the Big Apple?  You know, Gotham!  The City That Never Sleeps!  The town Woody Allen said ” existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin.”  Let’s skip the same ole puttering around in Blandtown, USA and go shoot some super-8 film in the Capital of the World!  So I grabbed two rolls of black and white film and set out to film some scenes of the big city.  (For the other blogs of this series, check here and here.)

Welp, things went downhill right about the instant I tried shooting the film.  I got roughly 13 seconds of salvageable footage before the camera came churning to a halt.  I figured the batteries had died so I tried new ones but still no luck.  Then I proceeded to get really pissed off.  The thing worked fine up to the moment I get into the city, and yet it breaks now?  Seriously??  And it’s not like I can troubleshoot the damn thing – it was made in 1973 and I bought it from Goodwill.

At least we got front row seats to the parade.

It’s hard to pinpoint what’s wrong with the camera or if it’s even reparable.  If the camera’s junk, I still may try to get those 13 seconds i shot of the parade developed to make the most bitchin’ 13 second film in cinematic history.  (Note: I’m fairly certain a few of those 13 seconds are of Cherby’s crotch, taken as I tried to change the batteries.)

For fans of pie shaped things, here’s a chart summarizing the current costs of my stalled short film project:

I’m still trying to decided whether the $150 and the gigantic pain in my ass that this super-8 project has caused still beats chipping out $1,500 for a decent digital camcorder.  Expect some new blogs once my soul searching is complete.

A lot more money, yet a lot less ass pain...

26
Mar
12

Romney fate “etched” in stone?

Last week’s coverage of the Republican primaries introduced a new term into the American political lexicon: “Etch A Sketch.”

For those unfamiliar with fun, an Etch A Sketch is a drawing toy with an erasable screen.  And for those unfamiliar with current politics, an Etch A Sketch is also Mitt Romney.

That’s right.  Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom referred to his presidential campaign as an “Etch A Sketch” because of the plan to wipe away his conservative appeal after the primaries only to go after moderates during the general election.

“Everything changes,” said Fehrnstrom of the November elections.  “It’s kinda like an Etch A Sketch.  You can shake it up and start all over again.”

This metaphor is important for two reasons.  First, it was obviously an unfavorable way to describe a candidate whom was already accused of not standing by his principles.  But second, and most importantly, it marks another household item that could possibly sway an entire presidential election.

You like waffles, right?  Well that innocent, grid-like breakfast favorite single-handedly sank John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid.  Kerry’s indecisiveness on issues like the Iraq War lead him to be branded as a “waffler” and opened him to relentless internet ridicule.

Porous breakfast treats hold syrup, not truth.

Then there’s the fashion faux pas every politician must avoid during an election: flip-flops.  Like waffling, many unsure politicians have been accused of flip-flopping by altering their opinions.  It was first used as a smear in an 1890 edition of the NY Times, and was also used extensively again in 2004 by opponents of Kerry.

The poor guy couldn't eat breakfast on a hot July morning without imploding from irony.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that waffles, flip-flops, and a little bullying is all it takes to derail a presidential bid.  So watch out Romney, an Etch A Sketch might end up erasing you.

Also, Santorum can throw really, really hard.

 

20
Mar
12

Blog assignment #3

Below is a very rough draft of my ezine.

This is basically the rough outline of what the ezine would look like, with masthead at top, navigational links, boxes for news feeds and login, and a main area to display content such as reviews, articles, etc.  I plan to change the logo and call the website “Cinematic Shakedown.”  This site will specialize in reviews and features about lesser known films in current release and also spotlight films from the past.  The tone will be light hearted and comedic.  Submissions would be welcomed from anyone with interesting opinions/facts.

This webpage is layed out like a blog.  I plan for the homepage to be different, be the content pages will look like the one above.  I’d like to add more color and graphics.  Here’s a crappier sample page that I made with background color, pics, etc.

Here’s a rundown of the things I did poorly on this ezine prototype:

Direction: I think the direction of this page prototype are alright.  Your eye is drawn to the largest space on the page, which is where the important content will be displayed.

Size: Same with direction, I made the most important items (content section) the largest.  Other items, such as the masthead, logos, navigation, are smaller and less space consuming.

Texture: I want the texture to be sleek.  I like a lot of sharp edges and light blue and grey colors – I think it makes stuff look more important.

Color: I’m color blind, so I suck when it comes to this area of design.  I may try to simplify this mess and just make everything black and white.

Values: I want my page to look relaxed since the site is light hearted and humorous.  I don’t think I accomplished it with this prototype – it could use some improvement.

Contrast: I used contrast to offset the areas with content from the background.

Dominance: I don’t know if anything is really dominant on my prototype except for the main rectangle where the content goes.

Repetition: I think the use of boxes and color provided nice repetition.

 

19
Mar
12

Local stalker announces retirement

Larry O’Neil admits the stalker game is changing.

“It’s not as easy as it was ten, fifteen years ago,” says O’Neil, 53, of Clarion.  “I used to be able to follow a person for weeks, but it’s getting harder for me to obsess over someone for that long.”

Larry belongs to a generation of stalkers and creeps that is beginning to fade.  In an age where technology is constantly changing the way people interact, traditional “bush and binocular” stalking has fallen to the wayside.  Stalkers now use social media like Twitter and Facebook to keep an eye on their victims all while never leaving the home.

Many older stalkers, however, believe the internet has taken the heart out of the profession.

“I used to get up early and plan out my day,” says O’Neil.  “Following, say, a cute young couple took time.  I had to dress for the weather, pack snacks – you know, be prepared for whatever could happen out in the field.”

Now, stalkers can keep an observant eye on their obsessions all from the comfort of their computer chairs.  Internet savvy stalkers can uncover a gold mine of information from personal emails, Facebook accounts and online billing sites – easily getting a firsthand look into the minds of the very people they are stalking.

“When I wanted to know what someone was thinking, I had to go in depth – you know, dig through trash cans, lurk outside window sills.  It was a long, painstaking process.  Now I spend five minutes on Facebook and can learn everything I ever wanted to know,” said O’Neil.

O'Neil demonstrates his craft.

Despite the changes, O’Neil still looks back at his years of old fashioned stalking with pride.

“The Grove City Outlets were a great place to follow someone,” he said.  “Lots of shrubbery, almost no security, lots of good places to camp out.  I watched a young lady buy Christmas gifts there one year – Santa Claus ain’t the only one who knows if you’ve been bad or good!”

Though O’Neil uses the internet, he maintains he will not take up cyber stalking.

“My best years of stalking have passed,” he said.  “I’ve been arrested so many times the police chief knows me by name.  You don’t make those kinds of friends stalking on the internet.”

O’Neil is currently looking for new ways to fill his time.  He is studying to become an elementary math teacher – his teaching certificate is pending.

10
Mar
12

DQ supports KONY campaign

I’m so glad to finally see an American company show some support for the KONY campaign.  Way to go, Dairy Queen!

 

10
Mar
12

Updated super-8 project

As an update to my earlier post, my roll of Kodak super-8 film arrived today and I am pleased to say everything works fine – the film is brand new and functional, the camera has yet to be knocked off my coffee table by drunken house guests, and the UPS man didn’t spit in my face then shank me in the kidneys as he usually does.

"Mall Cop" royalties just aren't paying the bills anymore.

Anyhow, I’m amazed super-8 film is still being produced out there.  A lot of the film I looked at on eBay was outdated and/or kept in the seller’s freezer to keep it in “new” condition.  But my cartridge came brand new from Kodak, even sealed in a foil wrapper that released a satisfying new-car smell when I ripped it open.  Despite Kodak’s financial troubles, they apparently aren’t bankrupt enough to stop selling terribly archaic pieces of film equipment.

Kodak + Super-8 film = bankruptcy?

I have some local spots planned out for this film that should look great in black and white.  All I need now is a simple script and an actor for my film.  What I need isan everyman: a downtrodden human whose plight and heartwarming story would be perfect for a avant-garde short film…

Nope, he's dead...

Him too...

Ah hell, this guy will work.




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