Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It is Medically Impossible to Watch This and Not Smile


that one guy you know, 10:11 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 3 comments |

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Catching Up, Visually

Since I hadn't posted videos of some of the stuff I've done over the past few weeks, I figured I'd just get 'em all over with in one fell swoop.

First up, the W-AOTS Series, wherein it is assumed that the hosts of Attack of the Show are instead doing a local news broadcast. This is the first segment I did that tried to mimic the loose visual and verbal style of those single-cam semi-improv'ed shows that are all the rage now. I was also trying to have both the highest length and concentration of awkward pauses in anything I've done for the show, which is something of a private personal contest of mine.

I like these a lot, and much credit goes to our God-sent DP Joe Lynch, Editor Steve Concotelli, and animator extraordinaire Luis Hurtado - part of my trusted behind-the-scenes band of brothers. Unfortunately, the fake show's fake opening credits are not included, which really show off some of the great animations. I'll try to work on that.

Anyway, enjoy.

Next, more of a cool-lookin' short film that asks the question, "if you found an evil dimension, would it really be that bad?"

And then, some non-show specific bits:

"El Amante Robotico," produced by Mike Shaw - It's a telenovela starrring a robosapien. If that's not enough to get you to watch, then hell, I don't know what will.

And finally, a trailer for "Passion of the Christ 2," which was done by X-Play's Paul Bonnano. I got to play Judas.

OK, that's it for now. I'll have more videos later in the week, and potentially more substantial content later today.
that one guy you know, 10:52 AM | | | | | | | | | | link | 4 comments |

Monday, February 20, 2006

A Little Something

Courtesy of the Superficial.

Just imagine what they're talking about.

The pains of releasing a CD?
Workout regimes?
Eastern Philosophy?

I'm betting on Eastern Philosophy.
that one guy you know, 9:44 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 4 comments |

14 Miles of Hiking

On Friday night, I decided to cancel my weekend-long hikin'/campin' extravaganza to the Anza-Borrego Desert Park on account of rain. Figures. Rain in the southern California deserts. What are the chances?

But, as a precaution against driving four hours for cloudy vistas and muddy trails, and also as a precaution against flash floods, I called the trip off. Still determined to get out of Los Angeles, I instead opted for a return to Joshua Tree - this time accompanied by one of my roommates Rachel.

The park was relatively uncrowded and definitely had better weather than the last time I went - when I got caught in the middle of a torrential thunderstorm. We hiked out to an abandoned gold mine, scrambled across some giant boulders, and saw a jackrabbit on another hike through Hidden Valley.

I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed Joshua Tree the last time I was there, and how much I'd love to camp there - both to do some of the longer hikes and to enjoy the desert skies at night.

I'm thinkin' late March. Anyone?

So back in L.A., I devoted Saturday to boring (but necessary) errands, finished "Watchmen" (holy crap, amazing) and took out a big chunk of "Assassination Vacation." This morning, I got up early again (3 consecutive days on a 3-day weekend. WTF?) to drive out to the Santa Monica Mountains for a killer hike.

6 miles through dense, starting-to-awaken scrub forests, fragrant juniper, and fascinating geological features to the top of Sandstone Peak - the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. And the geological features aren't just fascinating to me. Check this out:

Balanced Rock. Straight out of a Road Runner cartoon. Side note - I saw my very first wild coyote on this hike. Coincidence?

I hiked at a pretty steady, semi-exhausting pace, stopping only a few times for water and once to let my legs dangle over a cliff while I ate an apple. The views were unbelievable. I could see from Malibu to the Channel Islands and Santa Barbara, and inland across most of the Santa Monica range and north to the coastal range that blocks the central valley.

In conclusion, hiking kicks ass.

And so, in celebration of this, I decided to finally suck it up and join the Sierra Club. You may have noticed the new link on the sidebar, right next to LocalHikes - another excellent resource for us nature lovers trapped in urban environments. I figured it was about time I got involved with a non-insane environmentalist group. And I like the Natural Resources Defense Council, but the Sierra Club has hiking outings, so they won. Sorry, NRDC.

Toward the end of "Assassination Vacation," Sarah Vowell describes one of her friends in Brooklyn who didn't start enjoying the outdoors until after he moved to the city. She said it took him six months of NYC before he mounted a canoe to the top of his car, and another few years before buying a cabin in Maine.

I wonder how the market is up there right now.


that one guy you know, 8:05 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 5 comments |

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sad Garfield

So these have been floating 'round the ol' internet for a few weeks now, but they are still funny. And way better than the Garfield Randomizer, which had more "weird" results than actual funny ones.

The concept started out as a thread on the Truth and Beauty Bombs forum ... home of a few excellent web comics, such as the mind-blowingly good Perry Bible Fellowship.

The poster on the message boards wondered, "What would Garfield be like if I removed all of Garfield's thought bubbles?"

The result is that, instead of having a dialogue with his sarcastic cat, Jon now just talks to a mute animal. It's depressing, surreal, and incredibly awkward. In other words, hysterical.

You can see the rest of the creations at the thread. But I'd hurry up before Jim Davis' lawyers make them take it down.

that one guy you know, 8:47 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 2 comments |

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Two Things I Miss

1. My dog, Hunter.
2. Snow. Lots of snow.

One thing I do not miss:

Shovelling said snow.
that one guy you know, 9:28 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 2 comments |

Y: The Last Man

I never really got into comics. No fault of the art form, but, like Dungeons and Dragons, I either didn't have the money and / or wasn't hangin' out with people who would get me into the stuff I would like. Aside from the occasional Tony Millionaire or Jeff Smith book, I stuck pretty solidly to music collecting instead.

Fast forward a whole bunch of years, and I find my cubicle next to the AOTS producer who works on "Fresh Ink," our weekly comics roundup segment. As a result, my desk almost always has some spillover stacks of comics creeping onto it, and every once in a while, one of 'em will catch my eye.

One that did recently was a trade of Brian K. Vaughn's "Y: The Last Man," a story of a mysterious plague that instantly wipes out all male mammals on the planet, except for an out of work Brooklyn illusionist and his recently-aquired helper monkey.

The SlowKids wrote a 15 minute play about that scenario on a 12-hour combat theatre dare, and this is kind of like that play ... except the play had more dick jokes and this comic's got a tad more depth to it.

I devoured all six trade books this weekend. The story is incredibly well written, with twists, turns, gender issues, feminist critiques, critiques OF those feminist critiques, and explorations into the nature of history, politics, and economies. And if that's turning you off, I should also mention that it's got more than its fair share of dry wit, a large cast of believable characters, and some kick ass action sequences. Also, Book 6 is called "Girl on Girl," if you're down with that.

So check 'em out. They're fantastic. Except now I have to wait God knows how many months before I see how the last twist turns out.

You can read the first issue for free on the ol' DC Comics site.

It's a PDF, though. So watch out.
that one guy you know, 5:35 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 4 comments |

Saturday, February 11, 2006

New Media

Last night, I accepted an invite from Kevin and Luis to the Hollywood Knitting Factory for an electronic music / video performance art concert.

And, despite me having to spend time in Hollywood on a Friday night, I went, and was very impressed.

We went got to the Knitting Factory much earlier than we expected to, but after getting turned away from an Of Montreal concert last week (bastards!), I wasn't taking any chances. The opening band, Dalek, were billed as "industrial hip-hop," but all I heard was "loud."

Now, don't get me wrong - this wasn't loud in a "dang those kids with their dang rap music" loud, this was "the only thing I hear is buzzing, and my feet can feel the floor moving with the bass ... and hey, is my ear bleeding?" loud. I may act like an old man in many regards, but music is not one of them.

Still, when their second song sounded exactly like their first, we decided to skip the opening band and instead check out the rockabilly / country-rock band playing on one of the side stages. Not too shabby, although it appeared the "1950s Greaser" look was experiencing a mild revival - localized entirely in one room.

When it came time for the headliners, we went back into the stage, and I promptly had my mind blown.

Meat Beat Manifesto
consisted of three guys on Apple Laptops, a synth drummer, a bunch of keyboards, video cameras, and two large projection screens. Basically, they took audio and visual samples and remixed and twisted them on top of layers of beats to create an instantly engaging and absolutely compelling show.

Musically, they're like a more playful version of Kraftwerk or a more accessible Matmos. Visually, they're unbelievable. They were looping archival speeches, viral internet videos, black and white sci-fi films, modern and classic films of all kinds, and even TV shows ("MacGyver"'s Murdoc made a quick appearance in one). There's subversion, juxtaposition, clips and looks taken out of context - all coming together to tell a story in each composition while the media ephemera of the past 75 years forms a danceable beat behind it.

It's an amateur semiotician's wet dream.

Needless to say, if they're swinging through your area (and they are on a short tour right now), it is definitely worth the price of tickets to see 'em.

Just plan on skipping Dalek.
that one guy you know, 4:49 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 0 comments |

Monday, February 06, 2006

Civic Duties

Just an interesting aside, here.

Last night, my roommates were taking some MySpace quiz to determine what U.S. city they most resembled. When one of them got Los Angeles, she was appropriately given the business.

This reminded me of a site I’d stumbled onto a few years ago, called Find Your Spot. As far as scientific accuracy is concerned, I’d say it’s slightly more accurate than that MySpace quiz … only because it’s got about 8 pages of questions and also asks you about things like mortgages … which seems pretty “grown up.”

Anyway, I pulled up the page and re-took the quiz, just to see how things have changed over the years I’ve been in L.A. I wondered if some of the SoCal attitude rubbed off on me, or if maybe I’d just resigned myself to accept some of the negatives about living here.


Top five were, in order:
1. Hartford, Connecticut
2. Portland, Oregon
3. Providence, Rhode Island
4. Boston, Massachusetts
5. Seattle, Washington

L.A. didn’t even register on the top 24. San Francisco was the closest California city at number 11. But I noticed a lot of New England cities on there, and a lot of New England cities that I wouldn’t necessarily consider cities (sorry, Worcester). Hartford I definitely wouldn’t like. Providence, maybe. Boston, definitely, but kinda been-there-done-that. And what, no Vermont?

I wonder, actually, if other people take this and see their list flooded with city names from their childhood? Maybe there’s some sort of paper in there for a fledgling sociologist.

As for me, I restricted the results to West Coast cities, just to counteract my clearly deep-seeded Yankee-ism. All it did was put Portland and Seattle above Hartford, Providence, and Boston. And it added Eugene and Bend to the top 10. Los Angeles, still nowhere to be seen.

I’m just sayin …
that one guy you know, 8:15 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 8 comments |

Sunday, February 05, 2006

History, History

I spent most of the Super Bowl Sunday glancing at the television before ultimately losing interest. Although that one commercial with Fabio was pretty funny.

Instead, I finished up a book on the history of the founding of Seattle.

Yes, I read a book on the founding of a city. For pleasure.

No ordinary history book, though, this one is called "Sons of the Profits," by Bill Speidel. Speidel seems like someone I would have liked knowing. He was a colorful local historian who fought tirelessly for the preservation of run-down, yet historic buildings. He organized the now semi-famous Underground Tour to fund further preservation of Pioneer Square. He was also a bit of a showman, at one point re-burying part of Seattle's old wooden sewer system so he could unearth it when the news crews were there.

After taking the Underground Tour when I visited Seattle for Thanksgiving (highly recommended, by the way ... both the city and the tour), I picked up a copy of "Sons of the Profits" for myself. Speidel had that all-important attribute to history writers - a great voice.

The various episodes of unscrupulous land deals, civic project shortcuts, political and business backstabbing, and the all-important brothel industries of early Seattle are all told as if one of your quirky great-uncles were telling them over a pint of beer. It is really a fantastic read, especially for lovers of history. More especially for lovers of slightly-dirty history. And even more especially for people who live in Los Angeles and are starved for local versions of this sort of thing.

I've been reading a lot of history, lately. Come to think of it, I don't remember reading any fiction since I've moved out to L.A. I don't know if it's because it's easier to read in short spurts, or the sequential nature of the writing helps keep track of people and events, or even if it's just me wanting to explore another potential non-traditional career path. You know, one that I'm supremely unqualified for.

Hmmm. Somethin' to think about.

In the meantime, if you dig reading history on your own volition, the following books are all excellent reads:
- "John Adams" - David McCullough
- "Founding Brothers" - Joseph Ellis
- "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" / "Theodore Rex" - Edmund Morris

any suggestions for what's next? I'm lookin' at you, "Assassination Vacation" ...
that one guy you know, 6:03 PM | | | | | | | | | | link | 4 comments |