Wednesday, February 23, 2005

New Additions

I just added Ney's photo site to the sidebar - there's not much description or background on each of the pictures, but her pictures are fantastic. I hope to be someday be as good a cinematographer as she is a photographer.

I also added Spamusement, and Exploding Dog, just to prove that I'm emo. Or I used to be. Back when everyone used to argue about what "real" emo was, and diss Dashboard Confessional. Ah, to be young and cynical again. Exploding Dog is a site where overly-emotional teens send sentences or phrases to her like "everyone you know will someday die" or "why can't life be better" and the guy who runs the site draws a picture on his computer to illustrate the feeling. Most of the time, it's pretty banal, but sometimes he manages to encapsulate perfectly the feeling of the words. It skirts the fine line between art and cheap therapy for teen angst, but either way it's one of those clever and original ideas that gets to be incredibly hip for a couple of months until it becomes, "that site everyone used to be really into last year." My new favorite is "rocks are only temporary."

Here's a good example: "I like it when you lie."

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Wildcard (Commentary)

Three hours before the film is due, exhausted director Ben Wyman and his sleep-deprived producers, Laura Hunt and Kate Clogston sit in with editor Erika Voorhees to review and swap stories about the film - and the troubled production that created it.

troubles? watch it on vMix.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The serious and the useless

I posted earlier this week about the Grammys, society's overemphasis on experiences, and things that I want to accomplish before I die, but Blogger ate the post, so I'll instead make a big post with a lot of links to keep you all amused:
  • I got the Asbury Initiative Grant, and I'm going to Romania this summer! I'll be working at the same place that my brothers are from. You can ask me all about it, or check out the organization that I'll be working with this summer.
  • Speaking of missions work, Tim King, who was one of my best friends growing up, is doing amazing things with the homeless in Chicago. He's a Covenanter, like me, and the Covenant Church has an article about him. He ended up getting about 200 students for the event the article is talking about, which is amazing. He's really passionate about what he's doing, and Phil Collins just gave a bunch of money to the ministry he set up. You can keep the work he's doing in prayer.
  • Cassi sent me this one. It's an article from the Lexington Herald where they decide to experience Valentine's Day in Paris - they attend a Paris, Kentucky middle school Valentine's Day party. It's a bit precocious but a fun idea. I looked online and didn't find any of those "Love is like a roller-coaster. When it's over you want to throw up" shirts, so if you find any, I'm a size small or a medium and my birthday is whenever it needs to be.
  • Jonathan sent me Googlefight, which lets you compare yourself to other people to see who shows up more times if you search for both people's names. Apparently it's difficult enough doing it by hand that someone had to create a program to search the search engine for you. The worst is that I don't think it's the only program of its type out there. I lost to my brother, my dad, and Paris Hilton, but I did manage to beat my roommate, which is exciting. However, every single name that appeared on the actual Google search was actually him, which is pretty cool.
  • And lastly, Peracchio showed me and Squirrel Spamusement, which is a website on which the creator takes the subject line of all the spam that he gets and draws a picture to represent it, without taking into account the e-mail's actual content. I'll show you some of my favorites:

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


A young hitchhiker (Aaron Champion) falls in with a pair of friends (Jeremy White, Becca Harvey) on his way back home to try to put his life back together.

troubles? watch it back on vMix.

Dragostea din Tei

Queue alerted me to this one: the existence of "Dragostea din Tei" ringtones.
The phenomenon continues.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Review: Hitch (2005)

Starring: Will Smith, Kevin James, Eva Mendes, and Amber Valletta

This past week, I attended a seminar on screenwriting that went over the basic three-act structure that essentially every movie is built on. There is an exposition, then the first plot point happens which throws our hero intractably into the conflict. He meets many difficulties until plot point number two, in which all his plans have come to nothing, and there seems to be no hope for happiness. Then, the third act brings the climax, and ultimately, the resolution. On some movies, the structure is more obvious, on others it isn't as clear, but generally, you can trace out these points on all movies. As a frame of reference, the second act is usually the strongest and the third act the weakest.

I bring this up because Hitch is such a clear example of how obviously the three-act structure can sometimes be seen, and how weak a third act can be. You see, Hitch is an excellent concept: a "date doctor" named Alex "Hitch" Hitchens (Smith) teaches incompetent men how to stumble their way through the first few awkward dates without striking out. A truly incompetent prospect, Albert Brennamen (James), is in love with famous socialite Allegra Cole (Valletta), and enlists Hitch to help him find his way into her heart. In the meantime, Hitch is having trouble (obvious plot point number one) on his own romantic front, having fallen for the beautiful and successful Sara (Mendes), a gossip columnist who is incredibly dedicated to her work. The set-up is a touch predictable, but most people would agree it certainly has the potential to become an excellent popcorn film. But it doesn't happen.

Which isn't to say that Hitch is a bad film. For much of the movie, it's a solid example of a romantic comedy with a touch of depth. Smith is at his most laid-back, funny and charming, and James is excellent foil as the incompetent loser who finds his feet under Smith's supervision. Mendes is at the top of her game, which means that she's merely adequate to the role. And for the first hour and half, I bought it whole-heartedly - I laughed, I got involved in the story, I even picked up some tips on women. Then came obvious plot point number two.

I won't reveal the ending, even though if I did so, when you eventually see the movie, you won't have to watch it, and you'll have a fairly positive impression of Hitch. You can leave at the end of the second act, right at the point when the writer, who must think you've never seen a romantic comedy, clearly wants you to wonder, "are they ever gonna end up together?" Because from then on in, it's awful. It's some of the worst dialogue I've ever heard. You know the old Bette Midler tune, "Wind Beneath My Wings?" The dramatic last section of dialogue seems to be Smith and Mendes reciting lines of it back and forth to each other. I can't tell you how miserable it was for me to watch every bit of energy that the movie had swirl down the tubes.

Therefore, I cannot recommend Hitch to you. I'm sure you understand. It's a noble effort, and a clever idea, but as much as I love Will Smith and all his "let this black man show you white boys how to be cool" swagger, it's just not worth the trip. Save your money and go see one of those Oscar-nominated films like Hotel Rwanda and Million Dollar Baby before they leave theatres. By the time you get back, Hitch might already be on cable.

Rating: I give you one and a half stars for the first act, two stars for the second act, minus one star for the third act, and minus half a star for having a character named "Allegra." Two stars outta five.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Too much Dragostea din Tei to handle

Alicia sent me this one: it's a number of different videos, all having to do with - you guessed it - "Dragostea din Tei." How did this song get to be such a phenomenon? Everyone at school is singing this song, I'm constantly passing people in the cafeteria, "Maiy-ya-hee! Maiy-ya-hoo! Maiy-ya-ha! Maiy-ya-ha-ha!" It stuns me. This is a Romanian song, what caused it to be such a phenomenon?

Let this be a lesson to you musicians out there: no one cares if you're good. Just be catchy. Lord knows how far you could go.

For example, you could go all over the internet and be made into various home music videos and flash presentations, some disturbingly homoerotic. Like this one, which features three European guys with too much time on their hands, too little interaction with girls, and waaaaaaaaaay too much built-up sexual tension. I can't actually advise you to click on the link, I wouldn't actually want to encourage it. I just wanted to give you the option. Rating: No stars. You will die alone.

Next, you've also got the chance to go this flash presentation of some cats talking into a phone, doing that little dance that O-Zone does in the video, and drinking whiskey while the song plays in the background. It's merely okay, but it does have the added advantage of being completely unintelligible, since Japanese (or maybe Chinese) symbols fly across the screen as Romanians sing in the background. It's sort of like the dream you'd have if you stayed up too late trying to translate a Japanese manual. Into Romanian. For cats. Rating: 2 Stars. Only for the drugged.

This is also a flash presention of cats drinking to "Dragostea din Tei" while Japanese symbols flash across the screen. But it's cooler, because it's weirder. It features a guy getting shot with an arrow, a guy with a Picasso attached to his head, and Ronald McDonald riding a burrow towing a dead bear. Those crazy Japanese! Or maybe Chinese! Is there no limit to their zany antics? Rating: 4 Stars. Groundbreaking in a pointless sorta way.

You can also check out this last link, just for fun. The first bit of inevitable backlash. And while you're at it, here's the original page.

This post is only interesting if you know Justin Ladd

I was compared to Justin Ladd the other day:
"He's a sorta cool version of you."
"So, like me, except cool?"
"No! There's him, and there's you, and you're both cool, because you're both like you."

Semantics aside, it's a fair comparison. We're similar people, and that's why this idea appeals to me - because it appealed to him first. Here's the idea: Justin has a list of 100 things he'd like to accomplish before he dies. Some are unlikely and unreachable, some could possibly be accomplished on a lazy afternoon. They're things like "build a rocking chair," and "get through Contra Force without using any cheat codes." So I'm making a similar list, and I'll add these things, one by one, and post them on the blog. Let me know if you have any suggestions, or similar goals, to which I should be alerted. Sometime in the near future I will post the beginnings of the list, as well as explanation as to why I feel such lists are a sign of the wrong direction that our society's values have taken. It'll make sense when you see it.

In addition, I've also realized that I have numerous friends who have also entered the blogging universe, and that my site currently only links to Peracchio. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'll search around, find the best of the best, and add a links section. Because, after all, I don't already have enough links sections as it is.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

New Dragostea din Tei!

Those of you who have followed this site from its beginning (about a month and a half ago, and still going strong) know how huge a discovery this is. The guy across the hall from me showed me this video that's been going around the net of a kid dancing to some European song. You guessed it, it's O-Zone's "Dragostea din Tei" in all its glory. The poor guy, he's like the Star Wars kid: forever internationally remembered for his embarrassment, through the wonder of the technology of the modern age.

Speaking of the Star Wars kid, I've discovered how net-illiterate I am: I haven't seen any of the famous videos that transverse the net through e-mail, IM, blogsites, and so on. Until today, I'd never seen the Star Wars kid (that guy named Ghyslain who videotaped himself in a school video studio using a golf ball retriever as a double-bladed lightsaber. Some of his friends uploaded it to the net, it got onto KaZaa, and within weeks 15 million people had seen the video, and fans were adding lightsaber and sound effects), and there are apparently dozens more that everyone has seen. I've never seen any of them. I feel terribly out of the loop.

I don't really need to link to the Star Wars Kid, you can find him on the net without any trouble (there's a petition going around to stick him in Ep III, with almost 150,000 signatures), but here's one anyway, just because if you haven't seen it yet, you're likely too lazy to go look for it. While you're at it, you can check out some of the special versions that people have put together.

If you want to see the original versions of "Dragostea din Tei," scroll down the sidebar and click on the O-Zone version, and then the Lego Version. You can also check out my original posts on both the O-Zone and the Lego versions.