Jack Kerouac, as Sal Paradise once said: "I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion." And I think that's a rather apt description of my blog over the years, and perhaps the most perfect description of me in general that I've ever read. So that's what this blog is, a collection of the falling stars that are beckoning me at any time.

11 March 2006

but, it's not funny enough to fight for

So last week NBC threw a bitch-fit over youtube (which has become one of my favourite time-wasters in the last 2 weeks) providing a clip of Natalie Portman's rap video on SNL, serving a cease and desist nastygram and giving way more attention to its hasn't-been-funny-since-1985 programme than it deserves. The clip is now found on the SNL website so at least their totally behind the curve staff tried to meet a demand half a week after the demand was there.
coverage via boingboing

My favourite part of the whole subject was probably the comment on the BoingBoing story from an anonymous reader who I hope never has any connections to intellectual property law:
I have to point out the irony of the NBC nastygram to youtube over the Natalie Portman video. From the moment I saw it, I knew the video was cribbed directly from Eazy-E -- the reference is made explicit in Natlie's closing line "no more quesitons." The song also cops a line from Sir Mix-A-Lot's song "Posse on Broadway" ("I got a def posse, you got a bunch of dudes..."). Apparently, profiting from this uncredited appropriation is completely fine when NBC does it, but when youtube chooses to post and credit SNL's work, making it a viral hit and perhaps getting some actual viewers for a faltering show, NBC releases the hounds. Nice, NBC, real nice. If I didn't love ths video so much, I would say Eazy-E's estate should nastygram NBC, just to bring the world full circle.

Anonymous is apparently behind the curve on what parody is. Cribbing lines from the source you are parodying is not in any way related to showing someone's copyrighted work without permission.

Should NBC have thrown a bitch-fit over youtube's providing of a clip to the public? Probably not, youtube was essentially providing their show with free publicity and if NBC wishes in the future to be the main host of viral clips, perhaps they should do a better job of anticipating the public's desires and providing a better selection so that people don't have to go elsewhere first.

Plus, the video doesn't deserve all this fuss anyway, it's not particularly funny. The only thing it really has going for it in terms of humour is 'Oh look, there's sweet little Natalie Portman acting like a gangsta rappa' The lyrics aren't that well put together and the videowork isn't all that strong. If this passes for the best of parodist humour, our standards have fallen quite low indeed. (and I suppose somewhere the Scary Movie franchise is at the forefront of the blame)

05 March 2006

it's about damn time someone considered subtitles

So I went to see Nochnoi Dozor, (Night Watch for the non russian speakers) mainly because I've been waiting to see some Russian cinema that was actually visually exciting (I don't think the foreign film pipeline has put out any really exciting Russian cinematagraphy since Tarkovsky died, though there have been a few well written dramas) even though I heard that Fox butchered the original cut to make it more 'palatable' for American audiences. (no shocker there, Hollywood never trusts Americans to be able to appreciate a different aesthetic.)

Anyway, this isn't about my cinemaphile bitterness towards Hollywood, it's about film typography, specifically subtitle design. I guess this was the second movie (the first being Man on Fire, which I've actually not seen) to design the subtitles dynamically. I can't say that I'd like the approach in all foreign films, but for a highly visual action film, I thought the design was brilliant. (for those who haven't seen and don't know what the hell I'm talking about, the titles were not relegated to the bottom of the screen at all times, sometimes they were in different colours, sometimes they moved or dissipated or other such things) I've seen the film's approach to subtitling referred to as 'mildly irritating' or 'annoying' several times and I don't really get it because it seems to me like the choice to in keys places incorporate the subs into the visual frame of the movie actually solves one of the major problems of subtitling as we know it, which is that your eye locks onto reading the text at the expense of really taking in the image on the screen and appreciating the filmmaking.

04 March 2006

great design

I've been meaning to post this radiator for ages, it's not new of course, but I restumbled over it during my continued spring cleaning of my del.icio.us bookmarks. I've always preferred the efficiency of steam heat. Its only drawbacks are the abuse it wreaks on art and other papers nearby, and the big bulky shape of the radiator itself, but Joris Laarman has created the solution, at least to the blah design.

it's made of concrete and the radiant tubing of floor heating. I could totally see myself having some kind of industrial loft apartment with these on the walls.

01 March 2006

spring is here stop time to clean stop

It's so spring, at least it feels like spring and that's what matters to me. It was 22 today! Not only 22, but 22 and I had the day off which makes it extra special. I know, I know tomorrow it's to drop back down to 8, but still 8 isn't too shabby and there were those last three days in the double digits so that's nothing to bite your thumb at.

It's put me in a mood for spring cleaning. My desk will be thrilled when it gets its turn. I didn't do much spring cleaning today because, well, it was too nice to stay inside and clean (why is it spring cleaning anyway, when clearly winter is the month more suited to schlepping around inside? I know it's because spring makes us long to get all organised and buy stylish patio plates for all these garden parties we swear we're going to have until the bugs come out and it gets too hot and we just want to stay inside in the air conditioning til fall.)My spring cleaning start is of the digital variety. I've started going through the 1100 links I have on del.icio.us adding notes on what they are and deleting the dead or no longer interesting to me ones. It's turning out to be a major bit of work. Though not as big as my next order of business is going to be: cleaning up my hard drives, and that means the holy terror of my music collection. It's gotten enormous and there's a lot of stuff in there that's utter crap and I'll never listen to. I really need to back up my whole computer onto dvds, especially in advance of my move, so it's something that really needs to get done, but the idea of sifting through some 90 gigs of music is kind of unappealing.

Going through links I found the most brilliant stationary that is now so on my 'must have' list. I've always wanted to send people telegrams, it always seemed like such a fun way to communicate stop but, alas the age of telegram is quite dead. However 16 sparrows has provided a way to still achieve the aura just buy some of their telegram stationary and an old underwood and type up your own urgent missage. Only $8 for a set of six