Emergency 411 gives you the 411 on how to 411

Emergency 411 | Mar. 31, 2008

For my MobiBio submission, I reveal how I procrastinate produce every episode of Emergency 411.

Who knew animation involved so much sleeping and goofing off? View it now, along with the rest of the E411 guides over at Mobifest.net!

You don’t act like a scientist.

| Mar. 28, 2008

“You’re more like a game show host.”

Someone needs to tell parents that Ghostbusters is not a kids’ movie. Otherwise, some impressionable 7-year-old will see Bill Murray hitting on Sigourney Weaver and think wandering around a woman’s apartment and being a smartass is perfectly normal, even charming.

Fine. I’ll do it myself.

| Mar. 26, 2008

This is my second annual rejection from both UCLA and CalArts. I guess they aren’t interested in movies about bad advice, condiment torture, picking up hookers, or Jesus Christ. Sad face. Wait, angry face!!

Tomorrow: the wheel

Work | Mar. 26, 2008

Just feeling a little pleased with myself. I recently started a programming job that has thus far been woefully short on programming. I haven’t even been given the right tools for the job: BBEdit, Photoshop, Transmit, or any of the other developer accoutrements I’m accustomed to. Like a Mac.

Just to show how nothing ever changes for me, I was given a super-rush last-minute project that needed to be done TODAY. The design spec was a photocopy with a few scribbles. With only the tools that came with my office PC, I was able to code up the project using: WordPad, Paint, and some freeware FTP. And I still got the thing together to demo in under an hour!

Just feeling a little pleased with myself.

Big Sky would be the best Guitar Hero song evar!!1

Blog | Mar. 21, 2008

Without a doubt, Reverend Horton Heat‘s “Big Sky” would be the absolutely most fret-burningest, string snappingest, finger shreddingest song were it ever to come to the Guitar Hero franchise.

I get dizzy imagining the hammer-ons, pull-offs and wrist-cramping strumming needed just to keep up with this frenetic, massive Rockabilly tune. If you don’t believe me, give it a listen at the iTunes Store.

Or, just see for yourself. Conquering this on Export Expert mode would be like jumping up and slapping the face of God.

The 21st Century Format Wars are worse

Blog | Mar. 21, 2008

Comparing the new generation of media to the old Beta vs. VHS format war of the 1980s is a no-brainer, but the most obvious comparison of Blu-Ray vs. the now-defunct HD-DVD is really only the tip of the iceberg — and like icebergs, what you can see isn’t the worst of it.

Any early adopters of video tapes felt burned when investing in a BetaMax player only to see VHS become the dominant player, so two decades later consumers were understandably cautious about throwing in with Blu-Ray or HD-DVD before the dust had settled and a victor emerged. But lurking in the shadows, if digital entertainment can even do that, was the dark horse of digital downloads [alright, enough with the purple prose].

Without being chained to one particular format, digital downloads would be a panacea, a non-combatant in the format wars, that would rise above the two competing media formats as they fought each other for supremacy. Your movies and TV shows would no longer be tied to a particular player — you could download them once and play them anywhere, on any device. And as a result of the HD-DVD / Blu-Ray infighting (and with a little help from BitTorrent), digital downloads started to catch on. You can now sidestep the whole HD-DVD / Blu-Ray battle and download your high-def video directly to your Apple TV, TiVo, Unbox, Netflix on Demand, Xbox 360, or Vudu. But there lies the rub.

Just try to get the HD movie you downloaded from your Apple TV to play on your Xbox 360, or try copying that TV show you downloaded to your TiVo to your iPod. You can’t do it. And suddenly you find yourself mired in a format war you didn’t even know about. The unifying potential of digital downloads has been squandered and carved up into a variety of competing, closed players. Faced with the plethora of locked-in media players, having to decide between just Beta vs. VHS seems downright quaint. Welcome to Format Wars 2.0, with still no winners. But you can guess who the losers are.

Adding ‘internet addiction’ to the DSM-V is just crazy

| Mar. 17, 2008

According to Engadget Mobile, the American Journal of Psychology is considering uncontrollable texting or e-mailing be “classified as an official brain illness.” which “should be added to psychiatry’s official guidebook of mental disorders.”

No. Just no.

I’ve studied psychology, and it gets a bad rap as a ‘soft science’ for just this reason. After Seasonal Affect Disorder, Restless Leg Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, “ringxiety”, and the debacle that had every single 20-something who spends more than 3 hours a day on the internet self-diagnosing themselves with Asperger’s Syndrome, I’m going to have to draw the line here. Remember: the DSM-IV is an improvement over DSM-III because of the things it left out, things like homosexuality, masturbation, and not thinking everything was gee-golly swell for part of the time. This we smugly look back on as repressed egghead psychologists trying to over-classify anything outside whitebread ’50s Americana as ‘deranged’. And here we are, inventing mental disorders to add back in. This isn’t progress. By classifying every nuanced form of human behavior back into the DSM (albeit with a 21st century twist), we gain no better understanding of mental disorders, we merely muddy the waters by classifying normal, garden-variety irresponsibility as something much bigger than it really is.

Or as Chris Rock put it, “Whatever happened to crazy?”

A compulsive need for novelty and stimulation may not be a mental disorder at all but just the way humans are wired. Dr. Irving Biederman of USC explains why:

…coming across what Dr. Biederman calls new and richly interpretable information triggers a chemical reaction that makes us feel good, which in turn causes us to seek out even more of it. The reverse is true as well: We want to avoid not getting those hits because, for one, we are so averse to boredom.

It is something we seem hard-wired to do, says Dr. Biederman. When you find new information, you get an opioid hit, and we are junkies for those. You might call us ‘infovores.’ “

So mammals with large brains crave information? All this and more from the medical journal “Duh!”. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to eat as many sweet things as I can and smile when I feel nervous or threatened. You know, some people would call that crazy?

This project is unreadable or may be too new for this version of Final Cut

Blog | Mar. 16, 2008

What bullshit.

I created this project file with this version of Final Cut Studio 2 almost a year ago, so it’s not too new, this is the most current version of FCS2 available, and on top of that I just opened this file successfully — without saving or modifying it in any way — just one week ago. And now the backup copy, archived on DVD, also isn’t working? You’re telling me it’s my file that’s the problem? I think not. The only thing that changed was… oh, it was that fucking QuickTime 7.4.1 (14) update that did it!

Fucking fix it, Apple.

UPDATE: I was able to open the files successfully on a system running 10.5.2, QuickTime 7.4.1, and the same version of FCS, so it looks like this is just an issue with OS 10.4.x.

Also, sometimes it hurts to get baited on your own site, even in jest. Looks like I owe someone a massive apology.

UPDATE TWO: I tried upgrading from 10.4 to 10.5, but the 10.5 installer required a GUID-formatted partition, which necessitated formatting my fucking hard drive. Talk about the cure being worse than the disease, which means I’ll be sticking with 10.4 for now, Coverflow be damned.

On the plus side, opening the same projects as a different user works. This is good for two reasons, the most obvious being that I can work in Final Cut again, and the second is the implication that my ‘too new’ project woes may be fixed by something as simple as deleting a file in my user preferences.

MORE HUMBLING UPDATE Rereading what commenter Hey Pottymouth/Fix It… wrote, it’s clear he was just joking, but apparently I didn’t get the memo. I need to lighten up!

Crackle finds the 411 on parking

Blog | Mar. 13, 2008

The Emergency 411 keeps showing up in more places! This time, it’s part of Crackle’s Wet Paint contest, featured alongside many fine (and some familiar) animated shorts currently gracing the web. If you’ve been stuck circling the block and haven’t gotten a chance, check out Emergency 411: Finding Parking — it’s on Crackle right now!

From Crackle: Emergency 411 Finding Parking

And while you’re there, the shouting talking half of Penn & Teller has something to say on Penn Says, with one of my favorites being his thoughts on fame. And just because I’m linking to Penn doesn’t mean I’m trying to convert you into an internet libertarian.

Song Charts

| Mar. 8, 2008

LOLcats are the big thing right now, but I found my new favorite internet joke meme which combines the moving, emotional ephemera of music with the drab suckfulness of an Excel spreadsheet: song charts.

It started with hip-hop music charts:

Mo Money, Mo Problems

Then widened to include the music Todd I listen to:

Love Will…

The robots behind Daft Punk would approve.

Harder Better Faster Stronger

So now I’m giving back to the community. Anyway, here’s my first song chart:


Dorky? Yes. But at least I’m not making Rush image macros. If you’d like to add your own, join the flickr songchart photo pool!

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