It seems somehow appropriate when he climbs up on top of the coffee table to play a little solo up there, and when he jumps to the couch he doesn’t even miss a note. I can certainly see him performing the same moves from the top of a bar or while stage-diving at a concert.
Better start saving up for tickets now, because it’s going to be all arenas.
A couple of years ago, a new sport took the world by storm. That sport was pillow juggling.
Athletes from around the United States competed in fierce competition to determine who would be the ultimate pillow juggling champion. But to understand the the true appeal of the sport, you have to go back to its roots as a performance art in the streets. Of course, every artist needs his tools. The most important part of the competition is the pillow itself.
Let’s go to the video. Here, some dedicated pillow artists discuss the craft:
After a quick warm-up, the competition starts to heat up:
Finally, the advanced moves start to show up:
Across the country, in houses, in the streets, and soon in arenas, pillow juggling is coming to you. When this becomes an Olympic sport, just remember that you saw it here first folks.
Get your pillows and start practicing.
Some people get tired of all the stupid April Fools jokes that run around on the Internet. It seems like every company has some “joke” up their sleeve, to the point where there’s just no chance of anybody tricking you on that day.
On the other hand, I like it. April Fools day has turned into something like an Internet holiday. Wearing a green, pseudo-Irish outfit and drinking beer doesn’t make sense either, but everybody goes along with it because it’s St. Patrick’s day, and why not? Putting out a silly fake ad or doing something dumb on your website is the April 1st equivalent of wearing green. It shows you’re participating.
So, in honor of the 3rd annual baconfest this weekend, I give you Scope’s contribution this year: bacon flavored mouthwash, “for breath that sizzles”
This is the perfect example of an April fools joke. It’s a ridiculous and terrible idea, and yet it’s *just* plausible enough that a bunch of talking head idiots at a company might try to capitalize on the bacon sensation. Plus, there’s some serious production value on that commercial. It’s more enjoyable than a lot of actual commercials.
ThinkGeek, on the other hand, continues to use April Fools “pranks” as a way of beta testing perfectly good ideas to see what people actually want to buy. Seriously guys, there is an art to a good April fools joke. You have to start by making something that’s ridiculous, and then convince me, despite my skepticism, that it is a real thing. That’s a well done joke. Just showing me some products that you could make and sell, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet, is not a joke.
Scope link via Sylvain (and it should be mentioned this video came out *before* April fools, lending it credibility).
If you like Star Wars (and if you read this blog, it’s a fairly good guess that you do, but there are a few of you in particular I’m thinking of), then you should go check out the web series Space Janitors.
This is a show that examines life on the “other side” of the Imperial Death Star, the low level flunkies and janitors who are just trying to eke out a living while keeping the Death Star plumbing flowing. It’s kind of like a cross between that scene in Clerks where they discuss the poor contractors who got blown up on the incomplete Death Star in Jedi, and the Eddie Izzard Death Star canteen skit.
Most of the episodes are hilarious, but if you’re looking for a good intro episode, I’d start with Laser sword:
This week we’re just relaxing and enjoying vacation (mostly by ice skating). Not much to say today, other than this public service announcement by Ollie: with all of those Christmas sweets, remember to floss your teeth!
I recommend listening to the audio, but if you prefer, here it is in text format:
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the edifice
Not a creature was stirring, neither mouse nor St. Nicolas
The stockings were hung by the aperture gaping
Where smoke, in it’s wisdom, had ‘ere been escaping
Downstairs my uncle was strapped down in bed
While visions of ichor danced round in his head
His nightmares of late had been growing much stronger
And sense dared not trespass his mind any longer
Once a learned professor at Brown University
My great-uncle had often, in secret, conversed with me
In his study at night, over manuscripts moldering
With a pipe at his lips, always lambent and smoldering
All that research of his, into cults esoteric
Strange symbols and glyphs and arcane numerics
Of that Dutch survey crew and their frenzied report
Of a vast arctic city filled with sunken faced dwarves
And that journal recovered from one ‘Ensign Lamar’
Which references “He that rides beasts through the stars”
Gloaming and heaving with corpulent dread
Bloated, batrachian and covered in red
And then there’s the relic in my uncle’s display:
A 4-sided top carved of wood, or some clay
With symbols engraved into each of its sides
That surely must tell of coming end times
I was pondering this manifold doom that would smite us
When out from my window shone a miasmal brightness
How the pale gibbous moon shown down on his back
Which bulged with the throngs of some hideous sack
With some alien ululations in a primordial tongue
He froze me in place, and unable to run
I was forced to bear witness to things vile and foul
So unspeakably horrid I can scarce speak them now
He summoned his steeds by their blasphemous names
And with his gangrenous grasp he pulled down on their reigns
Then suddenly upwards that noxious horde flew
That red bellied nightmare rising up from my view
Cacodemoniacal laughter I heard from my roof
And the lumbering clomps of thick octopoid hooves
Then repugnant and hoary, his stench filled the air
While he writhed down my chimney as I watched from the stairs
He spoke not a sound as then off from his back
He heaved up that thick throbbing cyst of a sack
And from it a stench came so charnel and dense
That I nearly passed out when he drew from it thence:
An Amazon Kindle, and a few pairs of nice socks
A sweater, a tie, and Call of Duty: Black Ops
Law and Order Season V on Blueray DVD
And an espresso machine,…hope he kept the receipt
Then all at once swung round this tenebrous being
And with dark ancient eyes of unfathomable seeing
Their biliferous blackness spanning eons extinct
Revealing my own maddening fate, with a wink
Then into that monolith of chimney he lurched
With the gelatinous frenzy of invertebrate birth
Ripping free to the roof he launched into the night
With a vow to return when the stars are just right
Sometimes technology takes such an amazing leap forward, that you just stand there, stunned. I give you the “world’s first airborne Mexican food delivery system”, the Burrito Bomber.
It works like this:
- You connect to the Burrito Bomber web-app and order a burrito. Your smartphone sends your current location to our server, which generates a waypoint file compatible with the drone’s autopilot.
- We upload the waypoint file to the drone and load your burrito in to our custom made Burrito Delivery Tube.
- The drone flies to your location and releases the Burrito Delivery Tube. The burrito parachutes down to you, the drone flies itself home, and you enjoy your carne asada.
Don’t believe me? See for yourself:
Unfortunately, the Burrito Bomber will not be available until 2015, when the FAA reforms its regulations in regards to unmanned drones. However, just the fact that a prototype exists gives me hope for this world.
What I’m Listening To
You might expect that when a band has their first release in about 13 years, it might take them a minute to get their feet under them. Apparently, not so for Ben Folds Five. I don’t mean to say that they picked up where they left off exactly, but if you drew a line from Ben Folds Five to Whatever and Ever Amen to The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, and then extrapolated that line out, The Sound of the Life of the Mind would absolutely fall on that line. The album makes sense, and doesn’t rely on nostalgia. It’s just legitimately good music for people who used to like Ben Folds Five-style music.
Everything that made Ben Folds Five is present; they’re still the ironic nerd rockers they always were. Only Ben Folds Five could do a rock song describing the academic life as “rocking like a mother” (Rosa Parks and DNA, Joan of Arc and JFK), and then title their entire album after that song. Only Ben Folds could work a “don’t tase me bro” reference into a song, and the old Ben Folds Five irreverence is there too (If you can’t draw a crowd, draw d!c&s on the wall). All the old harmonies are there (listen to the first 30 seconds of “Michael Praytor, 5 Years Later”, and you’ll have no doubt which band you’re listening to).
Before listening to this album, I couldn’t have told you exactly how the “Ben Folds Five” sound differed from the Ben Folds solo-artist sound. But listening to it, there definitely is something different. Make no mistake, Mr. Folds has always been the one driving the truck as it were, but even though he used all the same tricks on his solo albums (harmonies, drum/bass backup, storytelling lyrics), it was different. The solo albums were definitely solo albums, and all of the non-Ben Folds, backup stuff really was just backup. You could have removed most of it without fundamentally changing the songs. Robert and Darren bring the bass and drums forward; without them the songs would be hollow.
“Do it Anyway” is a good first single, and showcases the fun side of the band, but for my money the best tracks are “Erase Me” and “The Sound of the Life of the Mind”.
And hey, if nothing else, they have Fraggles:
What I’m Watching
When I last talked about Geek and Sundry, Written by a Kid had not yet premiered yet. Now it has, however, and it is awesome.
The premise is that they have a kid tell a story, and then they have someone direct the story however they see fit. Some of them are live action, some of the are animated, all of them are awesome. The best part is that the directors take the story very seriously, with real actors and special effects as if this were some big budget Hollywood script, while at the same time directing something that makes absolutely no sense (such as the elite police “squat” team coming it to take out the monster). The kids are adorable, the stories are great, and the production value is through the roof. Take a quick stroll through Goth Boy, Scary Smash, Fire City, or Kendall the Knight to see what I mean.
What I’m Reading
OMG you guys. Seriously.
Okay, I know that I’m a little late to the game, since these are super-well known (Wise Man’s Fear was a #1 New York Times Bestseller) but wow are these good. If you’re looking for the next big fantasy series, this is the one (er…the next big thing that’s already half way done, since it is a trilogy with 2 out of 3 books already out).
And when I say the next big fantasy series, I mean that literally (662 and 994 pages respectively). But I’m not joking to say that 1656 weren’t enough. Unfortunately, Mr. Rothfuss seems to be on the George R.R. Martin plan of book writing (making us wait forever and a day for the next gigantic, amazing book), so I think it will be awhile before we get book 3.
Hmm, what to say, what to say. If you’re into magic, and music, and plucky street kids, legends and how they are made, fairies and fighting and romantic interests, inn keepers, demons, and exotic foreign lands populated with secret ninja training, and (of course) a school for kids who do magic, then read these books. If you want to be swept up in an epic story with fantastic writing, then read these books. If you’re into fantasy, or not traditionally into fantasy but looking for a good intro into fantasy, read these books. I can’t imagine you wouldn’t like them.
Then come back here and we can discuss them. Highly recommended.
After Evie’s amazing success with the balance bike, we decided to give Ollie a try on it. It took a few days until he got it down, but now he goes like a maniac on that thing.
Not too shabby for a 2 1/2 year old!
With the two of them on bikes, I have to run to keep up. Ollie doesn’t like to put his feet on the pegs, he likes to pull them up behind him, but if he’s on a hill he can balance for a long time. Basically, he’s got the balancing down 100%, it’s just a question of how much speed he has.
A short walk from our house lives the “single largest musical instrument ever built”. I guess it’s one of those things that’s too close to home, so you never appreciate it.
It was the last weekend of their summer concert series, and Sara said we should go check it out. I have to admit, I was a little reluctant. It just sort of seemed like a big to do, packing a picnic lunch and climbing all those stairs, not to mention that the kids were in particularly bad moods that day. All that just to see some bells?
I have to say, I totally had to eat my words.
Hiking up to the tiny little “performance room” to see the bells played was totally worth carrying Oliver up the 271 steps it took to get there. Seeing it played really was amazing. The tour guide said that the Carillon Bells were a “percussion instrument” and that was absolutely correct. I imagined someone playing a simple keyboard, but in actuality there are little mechanical wooden levers that must be struck. In order to play, you are literally striking the bells, and the harder you hit the levers, the louder the note.
The carillonist, James Fackenthal, did an amazing job, pounding away the 100 tons of bronze at an absolutely frantic pace, fists and sweat flying. I can’t really describe what is like seeing such an interesting and masterful performance in such an intimate room, high above the city of Chicago, for the price of $3. (that’s $3 total for all of us)
Even the kids enjoyed it, especially Oliver. At first we were sitting in front of the control console, and Oliver kept leaning around back to sneak peeks at Mr. Fackenthal playing. Evie enjoyed it, but after a few songs she was ready to move on. I think Oliver would have stayed and watched the entire concert.
Afterwards, we hiked up a few more stairs to the very top of the bell tower for some amazing views, before going back down to the bottom and listening to the rest of the concert from the ground. Even that seemed intimate, since the immense Rockefeller Chapel dwarfed the picnickers spread out in the grass below.
For anybody in the neighborhood, make sure you make it up to the top to see the performance at least once. Highly recommended.
We spent two nights at The Haven, and we had beautiful weather. It was in the 80′s during the day, and down to the 60′s at night. Most importantly, NO RAIN! I don’t know why I’m such a camping rain magnet, but I’m glad my powers were not active for once.
We’re really starting to know our way around the land a little bit. We spent most of the day on Friday carving paths to various things with our new loppers (especially the potty tree). Most importantly, I think we might have found the location for our future tiny house! It’s in a sort of clearer area between a triangle of truly massive pine trees. Well shaded, midway back in the woods, and not too far from a clearing that may serve for fruit trees. Definitely some potential.
Equally importantly, we did find the mythical blueberry bushes towards the back of our property, and they were delicious. We might need to bolster our stock with a few extra bushes next year.
We’re starting to know our way around South Haven a little bit as well. On Saturday morning, we hit up the most excellent farmers’ market, followed by coffee @ Julias. I think this is going to become a Haven tradition (especially considering we all were in need of a real bathroom by Saturday morning!!) Also, strange coincidence, one of the vendors at the farmer’s market was the City Hippie, a family from Evie’s school and a maker of extremely beautiful things. Evie and Ollie did a kids’ activity at the market and colored some canvas bags with fabric markers and stencils, and they both turned out really well. They’re both very proud of their bags and they’ve shown them to everyone they’ve come in contact with since then.
By lunch time, some friends had arrived, and the work portion of our trip was over. Although I don’t think she really realized it at the time, I think that Evie probably had one of the best days of her life. To have friends her age there to play with (who don’t get frustrated with her no matter how bossy she is), to hike with and make up potty stories with, and to hide behind the tent and tell secrets with was about as fun as it gets. We found a dog-friendly beach and all had a great time, even if the water was a little cold and the waves were a little sneaky (some unexpected water in the face a time or two).
Ollie also had a great time with Maya and Elsie (he said his favorite part of the weekend was singing “Twinkle Twinkle” with them), but for his money, he was just happy to play in the sand. All day, every day, nothing but sand. We would no sooner wash his hands or put on his pajamas or whatever, and he’d be back in it again. He had sand everywhere, including what was basically a sand hood over his head and neck, which got pretty disgusting when we were forced to put a layer of vaseline on top of it all. Yuck.
Ollie played in the sand so much he was literally delusional. He shouted in his sleep, “I want to go under the sand!” I thought he must have meant, “I DON’T want to go under the sand,” nightmare style, but he repeated it several times and he definitely wanted to go under the sand. Based on how much sand he had on him, he almost got his wish.
And the best part about The Haven? You can be as LOUD AS YOU WANT:
(I love how Ollie just flinches a lot and looks confused, but still wants to be part of the group.)
Unfortunately, the worst part about The Haven is ticks. We found at least a dozen crawling around at various times, and poor Ollie won the dubious honor of being the first person to have a tick attached to them at The Haven. We checked him pretty thoroughly at bedtime, so it must have crawled up to his head during the night. We handled it pretty quickly and calmly, and Oliver didn’t quite seem to mind, handling it with his usual good-natured nonchalance (“The ladybug bit me!”).
Finally, on the way home, we stopped and picked 7 3/4 pounds of blueberries. Evie in particular did a great job. I was really surprised. The last time she went picking, she did what Ollie did this time, which was basically eat every blueberry that went in her bucket. She was pretty proud of herself, and cried quite a bit when she accidentally spilled her bucket. But she got back to it and ended up picking a full quart by herself!
A great trip and, as always, it makes me want to go back again!
Ah, my friends. Let me tell you about the greatest show in the history of the universe: The Tick.
(Just to be quite clear, I’m talking about the original cartoon from the early ’90′s, not the live action television show from 2001. The live action show had moments of brilliance, but nowhere near the level of the cartoon.)
What to say about The Tick? I love it so much that I don’t even know where to start. I feel like any words I put down here are not going to really capture the essence of the show. Of all the times that I’ve tried to tell someone about the show, or explain a particularly funny scene, it just always seems to fall flat. But you could say that about a lot of things I try to write about, so once more unto the breach as it were.
I guess I’ll just start with this picture of me in my Tick costume from 2002:
I have enjoyed a lot of shows over the years, but none more than The Tick. It only lasted 3 seasons, and it has been off the air for almost 16 years now, but I can still recall nearly every episode. Basically, they all went like this: some ridiculous super villain shows up, the tick bumbles his way through, relying on exuberance more than intelligence, until his semi-reluctant sidekick Arthur comes up with a legitimate plan to save the day, with or without the help of a ridiculous cast of super heroes that inhabit “The City”, after which The Tick wrapped up (?) the whole episode with an absurd and strangely worded “moral lesson”, like the ending to some kind of surreal episode of Full House.
Something like, “When a nice clean brain tumbles into the dirty street to lay among the discarded wrappers and spat-out gum wads of wickedness, you can’t just pick it up and wash it off with soap and water; you have to think it clean from the inside out.” Or “Let your journey into hugeness teach us all a lesson. Absolute power is a sticky wicket. And, Arthur, chum, you were the stickiest. Don’t you get it, good friend? Some of the best things come in small packages. But large things can’t. Unless they’re inflatable, or require some assembly, or unless they’re hearts. Yes, giant, juicy, loving hearts. As big as the moon, but much, much warmer. ”
The Tick was a parody of superheros and comic books, two things which I love. The best thing about it were the characters. They weren’t anything like the prototypical comic book heroes and villains we knew and loved. They were weak, they were stupid, they were arrogant, they were cowardly. Their powers were lame and their schemes and plans were even lamer. The heroes often did more harm to The City than the villains (such as the Tick, leaping from rooftop to rooftop, breaking off chunks of stone and decorative moldings with his clumsy bulk).
There were heroes such as Bi-Polar Bear (“This looks like a job for Bi-Polar Bear… but I just cant seem to get out of bed.”), the Caped Chameleon (“Can’t…do….plaid”), Baby Boomerangutuang (A combination baby boomer / boomerang throwing orangutan), or Sarcastro (a Castro look-alike who fights crime with the “razor sharp sting of sarcasm”) who engaged in battles with villains like the Deadly Bulb (a.k.a. “pigleg”, who happens to have a pig for a leg, so he became a super villain to keep people from noticing that), Stalingrad (he’s not actually evil, just a graduate student who happens to look like Joseph Stalin, which is enough to qualify him as a villain) and, my all time favorite, The Evil Midnight Bomber (What Bombs at Midnight!)
The Tick himself was a fantastic character. He was stone stupid, but had an endless enthusiasm that kept him going when all the other heroes fell by the wayside. Stupidity and child-like exuberance are a great recipe for a character, a la Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin.
I could throw great quotes at you, or episode synopses, but none of those could make you love The Tick the way you aught to. Do yourself a favor and spend some time on youtube watching some clips. Or start with the quick compilation below:
What more needs to be said?
He was so proud to sing it, right up to the big finish. He looks so much older with his hair short!
If you haven’t seen this popping up everywhere already (including my own Facebook and G+ streams), you will soon.
Somehow, in addition to making an awesome song, these quick clips totally captured the essence of Fred Rogers. It only takes about five seconds of video to see his absolute love of children, his absolute love of his job. He wasn’t delivering lines, he was saying something he absolutely believed in, all the way down to his toes (which were no doubt stuffed in some comfortable yet tasteful indoor shoes).
A friend on Facebook said, “Wow, maybe it’s because I’m a child of the early 80′s, but I really loved this. It makes me feel like I can be an astronaut, or the queen, or the president, or a ballerina!”
It’s true. Seeing this video not only brought back my memories of the show, but it specifically brought back my memories of how the show made me feel. Not like I was being entertained, but like anything was possible. Like the world was right outside my door, waiting for me to come out and claim it. Like Mr. Rogers believed in me. Like imagination and a love of learning were all anyone needed.
“Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind? You can grow ideas.” – Mr. Rogers.
Oooh, my friends. Have I got something for you. Allow me to introduce you to Totally Rad Dances with Dancin’ Kim. Prepare to learn the Thriller dance:
“So how completely awesome is the Thriller video? My friends and I are like totally obsessed. We’re all, ‘he totally topped the moonwalk’! It’s super cool.”
Oh. Em. Gee.
I was introduced to Dancin’ Kim through some unorthodox methods. It was actually linked to from a friend of mine’s website for his upcoming wedding. It was love at first sight, and I immediately went out and watched every Dancin’ Kim video I could find.
“Everybody at Danceteria is doing it. And you know who hangs out there. Madonna. So you know it’s super cool!”
I’m not really sure that Dancin’ Kim is really the right person to teach you how to pop and lock. Never more so than when she says the phrase, ”This is the beat of the street with the freshest moves going down!” Yeeeah.
I think what my life is missing are Rad Friends. I mean, I have friends, but are they Rad Friends? Would I be able to call on them at a moment’s notice and have them submit to video taping some of the worst, most listless dancing the world has ever seen?
Okay, I know everybody in every decade always thinks this, but when we look back on today 30 years from now, it can’t look this ridiculous, right?
Oh my god, they’re just so cute I could die. I can’t stop watching these over and over again!
We originally recorded these videos to upload them to the Jokes4Miles website. Basically, a Chicago comedian is trying to collect 5,000 jokes to help his son through his chemotherapy. Unfortunately, when I went to upload the videos, we found out there is a certain format we needed to follow (state your name, location, etc.). So I’m not sure if I want to go back and re-record them or not. But in the meantime, you guys get to enjoy them!
Back in the ’80s, there was a fantastic cartoon by the name of Jem.
Jerrica was a mild mannered band manager by day, but a mysterious pop superstar known as Jem by night. She achieved this with the help of a computer known as Synergy, which was able to project holograms out of Jerrica’s earrings. Therefore, in addition to other illusions, Synergy could project the Jem image over the top of Jerrica, keeping her identity a secret. Sort of Hanna Montana with crime-fighting superpowers.
Jem was supposed to be for girls, so why did I like it? Was it because Jem was outrageous? Truly, truly, truly outrageous? Wikipedia tells me “the same team responsible for G.I. Joe and Transformers”, so I guess those guys just had my number. The thing is, I don’t feel like Jem is remembered with the same fondness as G.I. Joe and Transformers. Is this some kind of gender issue? Or is it because the bad guys on those show were cold blooded killers, and the bad guys on Jem were only evil because their “songs are bitter”.
The best part is that I now use a program at work called Synergy. Is it a coincidence, or do you think the creators of that software were Jem fans? It neither speaks, nor creates holographic projections, but that doesn’t mean I can’t say things like, “Synergy, download the latest model for me!” I don’t think it listens to me.
Maybe I have the wrong earrings.
Some profanity (but I assure you, it’s done tastefully).
I always did want to have a coctail made from a fighter jet that I knocked out of the sky with a crossbow. Is it true that you can spin an electric eel so fast it rips the space time continuum and take you to the future?
Wouldn’t it be awesome if all commercials were made like this? It would totally make me want to watch commercials again. And also, to buy a TrackChair:
Link via Sylvain.
I have seen one robot playing music, but I have not seen *many* robots playing music. And something so cool might as well be set to the James Bond theme, right?
Sure, you could have made a robotic synthesizer with speakers, or even one robot to play the music, but there is definitely something cooler about the fact that it is many robots coordinating together to make the music.
It is also frightening to see them working together like this. Definitely reminds me of the swarminoid. Sure, for now the robots just play music and get books off of shelves, but is it that hard to imagine them coordinating an attack on the human overlords, or the manufacture of additional robots of their own design? We’re swimming in dangerous waters my friends.
Link via Sylvain.
Warning, the following baby-tossing video is extremely difficult to watch:
It absolutely seems fake, but Gawker has covered it extensively, and it seems to be legit, as far as they can tell.
It’s amazing how you just have this gut reaction to seeing a baby treated in such a fashion. I think it is something biological; it’s like we see it and we fear for the survival of our species (both for that individual baby, and society as a whole to have produced a person that would even want to throw a baby around like that!). Sara said it made her feel sick to her stomach.
The thing that’s not really covered in any of the information I’ve read about it, is why you would even want to throw your baby around like that. Even if you somehow convinced me that it was safe, that it didn’t hurt the baby, and in fact the baby didn’t mind (which is not what it sounds like from that video), you still haven’t convinced me that there is any benefit to it. What’s the purpose? To get your baby used to roller coasters? Prevent a fear of heights? No other form of weight training can give you quite the same rippling biceps? Even if it brings you and the baby “closer together”, isn’t there about a hundred better ways you could have accomplished that?
Link via Greg.
I heard a commercial on the radio the other day for Dr. Pepper 10. This is a new product from Dr. Pepper that’s not exactly diet (0 calories) and not exactly regular (7,000,000 calories). The ad campaign has sparked some controversy, since it caters exclusively to “manly men”. The commercial I heard basically lists all the most manly things, and implies that Dr. Pepper 10 should be added to that list.
This really surprised me. Here they are using super manly He-men to try to sell diet soda to a group that traditionally considers diet soda outside of their domain. It’s certainly a good thing that men, who are traditionally allowed to be as fat as they can while simultaneously putting pressure on women to watch their weight, are now starting to realize that weight is something they need to pay attention to and be responsible for. On the other hand, the whole commercial is dripping with stereotypes and starts by saying how Dr. Pepper 10 is “not for women”. How do you manage to be both extremely sexist and gender-barrier-breaking at the same time? Or maybe they really are only being extremely sexist, because they’re really overcompensating a little bit there, aren’t they? “We know that diet drinks are inherently girly, but maybe if we surround them with pure manliness, we can trick someone into drinking it without realizing the 10 calories are from the added estrogen.”
Not only did they manage to offend women with the ad campaign, but they also managed to offend me. As a male who loves Dr. Pepper, I expected to be firmly in their wheelhouse. I began to be dismayed a little bit as every “manly” thing didn’t apply to me. Am I not man enough for Dr. Pepper? Does this mean I can’t like it anymore? (well, technically I like Diet Dr. Pepper, so maybe I was already in the “woman category” anyway)
Luckily, the last item on the list was, “If you have ever blogged about bacon…” Whew! Qualified at the last minute. I feel like they threw that one in just to include me. They might as well have added, “If you have ever answered to the name Shane Halbach…”
Anyway, here’s another ad from the same campaign. You can decide for yourself what it means:
Full disclosure, I didn’t think Episode 1 was all that awful. I think people had very, very high expectations and the movie couldn’t possibly live up to them.
That being said, it wasn’t that amazing either. There was certainly something…missing. I couldn’t say exactly what, until I watched this quick (12 minute) video. This guy totally nails it. It’s kind of surprising how little he would actually change, and how much better it would make the movie. I don’t know if it is because the movie was approached more from a merchandising point of view than from a purely storytelling point of view, if this guy just has more of a feel for story than Lucas does, or if hindsight is just 20/20.
Link via somebody, on Facebook I think, but I couldn’t find it anymore.
The other day, I went down a dark and scary road on YouTube.
It started innocuously enough. Someone found my blog by searching for “the dancing gnome scary”, which struck me as odd and/or hilarious. So I did my own search and found this video.
Now, this video is probably very offensive to little people. There is absolutely no reason why this person is scary. He’s just little, with some difficulty walking and dressing himself. However, the way the video is set up and the way the video is filmed, is a little creepy. I think we have been trained to believe that anything filmed with that grainy night vision is automatically creepy.
In any event, the related videos on the side of that led me down a whole cadre of frightening videos. I just couldn’t stop clicking on them. Ghost sightings, unnamed mutant creatures, demons, aliens. There’s a lot of creepy stuff out there! It can be hard to find it, because there’s also a lot of people goofing around and making silly things, but there’s plenty to see if you look.
So turn off the lights, sit back, and enjoy:
Evie has started ballet class. Now, I haven’t had much experience with ballet, so I kind of thought it would be mostly goofing around, maybe learning a little dance routine to perform at the end. I am surprised to learn that it actually looks like ballet, even from the first day. Between almost looking graceful and the little ballerina (excuse me, dancer) outfit, she looks so grown up!
My favorite part is the funny things they do to teach them the ballet moves, such as bird beaks and open windows, painting the ceiling with your feet, and making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on your feet. They sound so silly, but when Evie does them you think, “Oh yeah, that actually does look like ballet when you do it.” They’re just really good descriptions.
Anyway, what you really want to see is the adorable video, so without further ado: