Okay … Go!

by on Mar.11, 2012, under Entertainment, Internet, music

After nearly a decade without a significant lead or shred of evidence, I think it is safe to say the cold case of the missing good music video is ready to be closed and declared de — what’s that?
You found something?  Don’t tell me this is another VH1 scam.
YouTube??  Come on – they’ve got nothing but wannabes and cover artists…
Okay to go where?
Oh, the band is named Ok Go?  They sound familiar.
Ok, I’ll look into it.
Sorry folks – it turns out there is new evidence to review after all.  We’ll report back when we know more.
Ok, I’ve endulged my internal monologue long enough.  My point of writing today is, well (a) to get back in the habit of writing, and (b) to decry the merits of Ok Go as not only a band that I cannot help but enjoy and admire, but also as the last notable life-line to the vanishing art of music videos.  And don’t take my word for it – check out this playlist of some of their best works.  The list seems to actually be in reverse chronological order, which is cool because they only continue to get better and more inventive, but is also a shame because I think one is more likely to drop off after 3 or 4 videos when there are really gems scattered throughout.

What I find so amazing about their works is the (pardon my use of an oft overused idiom) out-of-the-box thinking.  They put their heart and soul into creating more than a just a video to accompany their music, but a video that is a peace of art in itself.  And as a result, there are several songs in their catalog that I enjoy more even when only listening in the car because of the depth that the video has breathedain into it.  Additionally, many of their videos are not just feats of artistic expression, but at times feats of physical discipline and/or engineering.

Some key examples of this would be This Too Shall Pass where the band (with some help) constructed a rather elaborate Rube Goldberg machine to accompany the song, or their older, classic hit Here It Goes Again where the band performs the whole video on a series of adjacent treadmills (which seems merely clever and semi-acrobatic until you notice that the whole thing was shot in a single take).  And then there is their most recent video for the song Needing/Getting which had a brief introduction via a Chevy Sonic commercial that aired during the Super Bowl.  Having gotten their most recent album a while ago, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, I’d heard the song before, but didn’t necessarily pay it any special attention.  In the video, they play the song while driving the aforementioned car … much of which is played by the car.

I will freely admit, there are some in the collection that are less awe-inspiring (in other words, just good music videos).  But there is undeniable artistic genius being achieved by this band, and it seems to be more than just a flash in the pan.  I for one plan to keep watching and also hoping that other artists see this as a gauntlet thrown and attempt to rise to the challenge.

Moreover, though, I have to give YouTube some of the credit here as well.  After all performance art is only as strong as its audience.  And with MTV and their ilk dropping the ball, YouTube has picked it up and ran with it.  And unlike its predecessors, YouTube’s viewing choice is as democratized as it can be.  And its audience certainly seems to reward such creativity, so if more of it arises I’m sure it will not go unnoticed for long.

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by on Jun.30, 2010, under Internet

I want to apologize to the small band of followers that I have about making posting and signing up for my blog a tad more complex.  I’ve added a plugin for a captcha box.  While this adds a level of inconvenience to these processes, I hope it is a small and acceptable one.  I’ve added it to mitigate the flood of spam comments and user registrations that I seem to get on a daily basis.  We shall see how effective it is in deterring such things.  As it stood, I was receiving dozens of spam comments as well as dozens of fake site registrations daily.  And it is fully possible that I’ve accidentally deleted valid comments that were marked as spam by just hitting the Empty Spam button (I try to scan through them first).  So I’m sorry for the inconvenience … though only a little bit.

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Temporarily Single Dad

by on Sep.29, 2009, under family, home & stuff, Internet, movies, parenthood, video games

For the past 5 days, I’ve been Mr. Mom.  My wife went away to a blogging conference in Asheville, NC and left me in charge of managing our 2 kids.  Being actively involved with my kids on a regular basis, this was not a daunting task, per se.  The hard part was not paying attention to work for that period of time – especially since my shine, new iPhone would chirp every few minutes telling me I have some new email to read.  But eventually I turned off that notification and got to the serious business of responsibly entertaining my posse.

First priority – getting them to school on time.  Grasshopper only just started going to daycare (2 days a week) and already being without his Mommy, he was very reluctant to go (though apparently his tears ended within minutes of Cricket and I leaving him there).  Cricket just started Kindergarten this year and has been loving every minute of it, but with the possibility of being able to stay home and play Lego Star Wars with Daddy she suddenly was on the fence about going as well.  But I got them there, they did there time, and got them safely home (all perfectly according to schedule).  But outside of that, it was play time – we went to the park almost every day, we went to a play place for the better part of one cloudy afternoon, and we spent a fair share of time watching a couple of movies and playing Lego Star Wars.

By the end of the long weekend, I was ready for reinforcements.  I love my kids, but I can only be jumped on so many times before needing to tag out.  I only took advantage of the in-laws once for a break (which I spent cleaning).  And I actually made semi-nutritious meals for them for all but 2 meals (pancakes are good for you, right?).  So all in all I think I did okay.  And today it was back to work … to deal with my other batch of kids.  Maybe I should go to a conference.

P.S. – Mywife (who now has 2 blogs) went to a blogging conference, but didn’t post anything the entire time.  Ironic.

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Applefication – Part Deux

by on Sep.11, 2009, under career, Internet, technology

The teeth are in the flesh. The poison is coursing through my veins. I’m hoping this will act as a vaccination – an exposure I can coast through and move on – rather than a first step towards the downward spiral of the disease. I’ve taken on at least one stripe of the Apple (two if you count iTunes).

You see, this week I traded in my company-issue BlackBerry for an iPhone. As I write this, its glossy touch screen is giving me its come-hither look, occasionally shivering with the arrival of new emails (a definitively more feminine form of vibration than the BlackBerry ever seemed to give off). I’m doing my best not to invest more into it than necessary. Sure I’ve downloaded my iTunes music library into it as well as all of the Ask a Ninja podcasts I have yet to watch. And I’ll admit that I’ve acquired a good number of apps to help me with various things such as finding restaurants, keeping up with Facebook, listening to Pandora, and watching the various Woot sites. But so far I’ve avoided purchasing anything for it – all my apps are free and the rubber sheath I have was lent to me by a c-worker (thanks, Ray).

But I have to admit, I understand the draw and I will likely get drawn further into it. I already had an unhealthy attachment to my BlackBerry and that barely had anything on it. Now I can access all of the same things, but better, faster and more. So it is inevitable that I will become enthralled and entangled with this device in no time (assuming I haven’t already). The only defense I have in my favor is that it doesn’t seem to have much staying power. While I found myself charging my BlackBerry once every other day, this iPhone needs to be charged at least once a day and occasionally needs a midday boost (it was previously used, so perhaps its battery isn’t what it used to be). That is enough to keep me from being completely enamored with it.

So the conversion that I previously foreshadowed has taken hold. Hopefully I can avoid it spreading deeper. After all, I have a desktop and laptop at home that could stand to be upgraded and those MacBooks and Mac Minis are very tempting … NO! I can resist. I WILL resist. I have no choice (after all, they are pretty damn expensive).

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by on Jun.13, 2009, under Internet

It is often said that this word is misused (which is often correct). We will use ‘ironic’ in speech all the time in reference to incidences of coincidence or oddity or as an incorrect substitute for sarcastic. I say we because I’m certainly guilty of it myself. I try to be conscious of it and avoid it when i can, but in speech it can pass as such with most simply due to the ubiquity of its misuse.

Merriam Webster lists the following as one of the definitions of irony: “incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result”. In other words, if you take action specifically to foster a certain result and the opposite result occurs, you have just been a victim of irony. This was a fairly common theme in much of Shakespearian tragedy and is often referred to as tragic irony.

Today I have come to realize that I have made myself a victim of tragic irony. You see, I had long been reluctant to conform to the masses by being drawn into social networking. I initially set up this blog because, well, I had the domain and figured it could serve as a digital journal. I hope that some enjoy reading it, but traffic has never really been a strong goal. But recently I’ve decided to try to make more efforts to grow an audience.

As some of you may know, I am now a Facebook member and in an effort to drive traffic to my blog, I’ve connected my blog feed into it. And oddly, as I’ve been getting more feedback on my writing there, I’ve watched my analytics plummet. As it turns out, the feed stream does not get tracked as a hit on my site, and having full access to the posts in Facebook, no one is coming to my site to read them.

So the very efforts I’ve enacted in order to increase traffic to my site, has resulting in a huge drop in said traffic. While I’m glad that my writing is being well received, I am already making steps alter things. From now on, I will post links to these posts manually on Facebook – thus only including a blurb and forcing people to read the full content here. I hope you forgive any inconvenience this may cause – such a move feels like I’m trying to assert control over my work as if it were some sort of intellectual property (well, I guess it kind of is, but it isn’t like I’m making money off of it regardless – I just like positive graphs). If this move seems to drive even more of you away from my writing, that would indeed be yet another twist of irony (I think).

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