Friday, June 26, 2009

And Don't Nod Understandingly If You Don't Understand, Because Then Later It Gets Confusing.

Someone once said that videos are a lot of work. "For every minute of screen time, it takes a whole hour of work," announced this person.

This person, whoever he or she might be, was full of crap. Evidently this person was only throwing together vacation footage and snapshots in his basement to Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)," because that's utter claptrap. A major motion picture takes 600 people working overtime for 2 entire years to put together, and that's something like 3.6 million man-hours for 97 minutes of movie. Likewise, one-man production teams have to come up with concepts, shoot footage, import and organize it, edit into a cohesive video, do audio correction, do color correction, add graphics and soundtrack, export the video, compress it, and burn it to a DVD. Rather than the one-hour-to-one-minute equation, a stronger rule of thumb is to ask the producer how long the video will take to come together and when you can have it by, then assume he knows what he's talking about.

So to answer your question, no, you can't have your six-minute promo by the end of the day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

And that's why I love Conan.

Remember a couple weeks back when I posted a link to the Hollywood Wax Museum auction, featuring a picture of an extremely creepy Tom Cruise?

Well, Conan O'Brien went to the Museum and bought him.

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Root Beer Reviews

Jonathan and I have been talking about me doing a series of Root Beer reviews for awhile. I'm gonna try to bang out a couple this week before I disappear to UM Army and then to New Hampshire.

I hope, eventually, to have a complete list of every important root beer catalogued.

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Root Beer Review: Stewart's

Stewart's is a go-to bottled root beer, the glass bottle you're most likely to find in restaurants after IBC. It's produced by Stewart's Restaurants and is so famous that the chain is now called Stewart's Root Beer, and it has it's own Facebook page. It was started in 1924 by a man named Frank Stewart (hardly startling, I'll admit), who thought he'd open a drive-in restaurant that served root beer in a frosty mug and salty popcorn. He then made the popcorn extremely salty, so that people would order more root beer. It's this sort of ingenuity that made America great.

He wanted to make his root beer stand out, so he spent time "working extensively with Flavor scientists" until he had a "unique blend of roots, herbs, and spices." That's a well-lived life, right there.

I figured I'd start this series of reviews off easy with a fairly comfortable, classic root beer - and I wasn't disappointed.

The Review:
Frank was right: Stewart's is a root beer to be served cold, in a frosty mug, with salty popcorn. It's one of those root beer where serving it under just the right conditions exponentially increases its quality. Served warm, it's just another root beer, maybe even a little weak. But deep-chilled and cracked open late at night after a long day - top notch. After drinking a couple Stewart's, I came to the conclusion that it's chief selling point is its excellent smoothness. It's similar to IBC, but with a touch less kick, and a refreshing hint of a creamy aftertaste.

The downside is that it's perhaps too smooth, its trip down your gullet too uneventful. After finishing about half a bottle, you'll put it down for a moment, then forget about it. You'll pick it up a few minutes later, thinking 'have I finished this? I can't recall.' And you never have. You've always got some left. With a good soda, that never happens.

Ultimately, I found Stewart's to be a solid, capable root beer, an excellent choice to pair with a meaty sub at a sandwich shop - vivacious enough to pay stick in your memory, subtle enough to not dominate the meal.

Grade: B, maybe a B+ in the right situation.

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Henson's 11

I thought this was fun, and it gives me an excuse to show Muppets.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

MLB All-Star Ballot

I generally fill out an MLB ballot for the All-Star game and send it in - since it's online now, it's easy to send in the maximum 25 entries in just a few minutes, so you feel like you've had some sort of real effect. Last year, for the first time, offered stat comparison: you could click on a category and see the batting statistics for that group. This year, I noticed something interesting. The statistics offered were at-bats, battting average, home runs, runs batted in, and stolen bases. Useful statistics, all of them, but it missed a big one: runs scored.

On some sections, it's not that big a deal, I suppose. But when see mostly power numbers on an All-Star ballot, your votes will tend to swing towards the players who hit the long ball. Of course, your votes tend to go there anyway. Actually, scratch that, your votes tend to head towards players with famous names. Let's look at some of the players winning their respective categories:

Player A: .311, 32 R, 7 HR, 25 RBI, 10 SB, .854 OPS
Player B: .373, 32 R, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 14 SB, 1.012 OPS

Player A is Derek Jeter, who has over a million votes. Player B is Jason Bartlett, who has just over 400,000.

Player A: .240, 20 R, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 3 SB, .746 OPS
Player B: .208, 15 R, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 0 SB, .689 OPS
Player C: .324, 40 R, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 30 SB, .829 OPS
Player D: .313, 37 R, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 10 SB, .988 OPS

Player A is Josh Hamilton, currently 2nd in AL outfielder voting. Player B is Ken Griffey, Jr., currently 4th in AL outfielder voting. Player C is Carl Crawford, currently 5th in voting, and Player D is Torii Hunter, currently 6th. Ken Griffey, Jr. could make the All-Star team while batting .208 with an OPS under .700. That's just remarkable.

NL Catcher
Player A: .271, 14 R, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 2 SB, .717 OPS (45 games)
Player B: .217, 16 R, 0 HR, 16 RBI, 0 SB, .583 OPS (45 games)
Player C: .265, 17 R, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 0 SB, .748 OPS (44 games)
Player D: .318, 15 R, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 2 SB, .934 OPS (33 games)

Player A is Yadier Molina, one of the famous Catching Molina Brothers (his two brothers, Bengie and José are also starting MLB catchers). Player B is Jason Kendall, player C is Ivan Rodriguez. Player D is Brian McCann, who missed a couple weeks with blurriness and was forced to start wearing glasses. Kendall and Rodriguez have 33 major league seasons between them, while this is McCann's 5th season.

The current All-Star lineup looks like this:

C Joe Mauer, MIN
1B Kevin Youkilis, BOS
2B Ian Kinsler, TEX
3B Evan Longoria, TB
SS Derek Jeter, NYY
OF Jason Bay, BOS
OF Josh Hamilton, TEX
OF Ichiro Suzuki, SEA

C Yadier Molina, STL
1B Albert Pujols, STL
2B Chase Utley, PHI
3B David Wright, NYM
SS Hanley Ramirez, FLA
OF Ryan Braun, MIL
OF Raul Ibanez, PHI
OF Alfonso Soriano, CHC

For the record, my All-Star ballot looks like this:

C Joe Mauer, MIN
1B Kevin Youkilis, BOS
2B Aaron Hill, TOR
3B Evan Longoria, TB
SS Jason Bartlett, TB
OF Jason Bay, BOS
OF Carl Crawford, TB
OF Torii Hunter, LAA

C Brian McCann, ATL
1B Albert Pujols, STL
2B Orlando Hudson, LAD
3B Ryan Zimmerman, WAS
SS Hanely Ramirez, FLA
OF Raul Ibanez, PH
OF Adam Dunn, WAS
OF Matt Kemp, LAD


XFM's Top British Songs of All Time

XFM counted down what they considered the "definitive list" of the top British songs of all time. It's a travesty. Oasis has 9 songs on the countdown, including 4 in the top 10 and all three of the top spots. "Live Forever" is apparently the greatest British rock song of all time (it is, admittedly, a pretty good song).

By comparison, the Beatles have 5 songs in the top 100 and have no song that ranks higher than 18th ("Hey Jude"), behind Arctic Monkeys' "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor," Muse's "Knights Of Cydonia," Pulp's "Common People," and The Jam's "A Town Called Malice." That last one stings (The Jam also have five songs on the list). Neither "Yesterday" or "Let It Be" made the list.

I know that Oasis is not just revered, but well-nigh worshipped in Britain, but... this list is just unacceptable. Muse, a very good - though not historically good - band, charts seven times ("Plug In Baby," for example, charts a few spots ahead of both "Come Together" and "Paint It Black"), while Led Zepplin charts a grand total of once (#51, 'Whole Lotta Love'). The Cure also only charts once (#79, "Close To Me,"), while The Verve and Arctic Monkey's both have two songs on the list and are both in the top ten.

How does a British radio station with some form of credibility expect to get away with this?

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