Friday, August 31, 2007

Bottom 10

Listing off a couple things I hate in that last post made me think of this Strongbad's Email called Bottom 10. Yes, the end is a little gross. (Not THAT gross. Just a little.) But I love HomestarRunner.com. So I couldn't resist posting this. If you don't know what HomestarRunner.com is, check it out. I'm sure it's not for everyone, but I love it. Especially Strongbad's Email. In fact, I love it to the extent that I even have the CD "Strongbad Sings and Other Type Hits." You should be jealous.

Anyway, I'm even tempted to make my own Bottom 10, but it's getting late and I have to work in the morning, so I shouldn't. (I will tell you that mine would include melted cheese. Let the other 9 remain a mystery for now.) I welcome you to submit YOUR bottom 10 in the comments section of this post.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pull up your pants... or else?

I read this article today from the New York Times: "Are Your Jeans Sagging? Go directly to jail." Although these kinds of legal measures have been proposed before and shot down, like in this town in Connecticut, several communities across the country have now officially made saggy pants illegal - with offenders subject to either a jail sentence or a fine.

Are these people kidding me? Where do we live? Sure, so I don't wear my pants so low that you can see my (very cute) underwear. Do I think it's stupid when other people do? Yeah maybe. But that doesn't mean I think we should make a LAW about it. What's next? Uniforms for everyone in the country?

I don't really have time to elaborate on why this bothers me so much. Except to say that pieces of legislation like this are racist and ridiculous. The style is distinctly tied to hip-hop, which means these laws are targeted to a specific demographic. Young black men. Yeah, why don't we target THEM some more? It's preposterous. Just because this style is not conformist it's literally being outlawed. This makes me feel like it's still the 1950s.

And what happened to freedom of expression? I don't like some people's t-shirts. For example, guys who wear those shirts that say "Tickle THIS Elmo" with an arrow pointing down. I also could stand to never see another pair of Ugg boots ever again. Do I think we should make a law banning this stuff? Hell no!

(Your opinions on whether or not the NBA should have dress codes is one thing. It's an organization, it can make its own rules to some extent. But the government?!?! Go back and read 1984 and Brave New World and then tell me this does not freak you out.)

Come on people. Get some perspective. Don't we have more important things to worry about? The war in Iraq, for instance. Let's fix that debacle instead. Leave the baggy-jeaned kids alone.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Office - recut as a thriller? Awesome.

The Office, recut as an action/thriller in two different "movie" trailers. SO great. Just goes to show the power of music and editing. Video editing always makes me so happy. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.



Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Larry Craig: Mad Shade Cred

"The Larry Craig bust," courtesy of Slate.com.

Slimy senator. Airport bathroom. Ick. Talk about Shade Cred.

Why education is important.

Gotta give the editor of this video the street cred points here. (Also Billy for passing it along to me.)



"Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it."

"Here it Goes Again"

Inspired by Brett's post on low-budget music videos, I have to post my favorite low-budget music video ever: "Here It Goes Again." This is why I love OK Go. These guys have mad street cred, and it's all because of this treadmill video. If I remember correctly, one of their sisters choreographed their first couple music videos, including this. If you haven't seen it, you've got to. It's gonna be a classic. Also, if you like this one, check out their other vids: "Do What You Want" and "A Million Ways."

Monday, August 27, 2007

American Gladiators?!

Yep, you heard right. NBC announced its casting call for the new American Gladiators. Apply here. Or for those who don't have the Gladiator in them, you can read about the revival instead: here. According to Variety, the revival will be more akin to the UK version of the original show, featuring a combination of fights and reality-tv-like fight training segments (where you "get to know the contestants' personalities" - oo boy).

Anyway, I have to give Erik credit for alerting me about this. In his words, "I've never even been TEMPTED to apply for a TV show until today." 'Nuff said.

In case you forget what American Gladiators is (although... really?), I've included a clip to refresh your memory. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Three guys I love.

Michael Chabon. Aaron Sorkin. Joss Whedon.

I can't get enough of them. This is just a brief ode to three keepers of mad street cred.

Michael Chabon.

My favorite author ever. Nobody does things with words like this man does. His prose is intoxicating.

Some of his best: Wonder Boys. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Mysteries of Pittsburgh. The Final Solution. Next up: The Yiddish Policemen's Union, his new book, which is currently sitting on my bookshelf looking very lonely.


Aaron Sorkin.

He might be an intellectual elitist, but he writes smart TV. I love it. You've never realized how the English language can be beautiful until you've listened to his thoughtfully developed characters rattle off his intricate scripts. It's like music. I can't get enough of it. He holds the TV audience to a higher standard, and to me, THAT'S street cred if I ever saw it.

Sorkin's finest: Sports Night. The West Wing. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. A Few Good Men. The American President.


Joss Whedon.

He may not be as respected in Hollywood as some others, but you've gotta give it to this guy - he writes a damn good script, and the man knows how to tell a story. Fake-looking monsters or not. I love his stuff, and I think he's fantastic.

Why Whedon rocks: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Angel. Titan A.E. Toy Story. Also, Firefly, which I haven't seen yet. But I've heard good things.

Anyway, those are the three privileged white men I'm absolutely obsessed with. Also, Jon Stewart, but that goes without saying. Me featuring him here would just be redundant, since everyone knows I'm in love with him.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"Lolita's closet"

I've met Emily Yoffe (that gets ME some street cred), and I think she's amazing. I've been waiting for someone to write this article for a long time now: "Lolita's Closet."

Besides the fact that it's written by Emily and also references one of my favorite books, it's about a topic I think is so blatantly obvious and yet not often discussed that I can't help but pimp it on Street Cred.

When I was in elementary school, kids wore sweatshirts with cats ironed on them, Transformers t-shirts, and... well... nothing that ever matched. And all things fluorescent. Granted, part of this is because I was a child of the '80s. But let's be honest, part of it is because kids' clothes were much less slutty.

Think elementary school is going too far back? In middle school, everyone's favorite awkward years, I wore lots of sweaters and baggy t-shirts, jeans that were less than flattering, and... vests. Need I say more? I also didn't stand out -- everyone dressed like that. We were focused on other things.

Today, teeny boppers look like Christina Aguilera. They wear makeup, they get manicures, they wear halter tops, and their thongs are always showing. Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude. But there's something that freaks me out about a 12-year-old girl who looks like a coed from Girls Gone Wild. Lolita indeed.

I don't know what I'd do if I had a teenage girl in this day and age. Why is Juicy even marketing to kids at all?! I blame all of it on Britney Spears.


Anyway, Emily's article sums it up pretty well. There's gotta be something in between. First of all, buy these kids a book or something. There's more to life than halter tops. And secondly -- marketers, stop selling slutty to tween girls. Please. There's plenty of time to get slutty in college.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Don't kill your TV.

TV gets street cred in India for empowering women. Take that, TV haters.

Something I am a bit of a hater of, however, is Wikipedia. Good for a quick check, not for valid info. In case you haven't read the most recent news about why it's bogus, read it here. Exxon. Psh. Also, check out the wikiscanner, most recently featured on the Colbert Report. Street cred indeed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

News from the Future.

Back to the Future and elements thereof have been in the news recently. Not surprising, since lately there's been a bit of an '80s retro push. (Transformers. TMNT. Need I say more? - P.S., to read more retro, see Brett's post on arcades or Ben and Jerzy's post on TMNT.)

So because I love BTF, I feel compelled to post these items so you can all share in my geekdom and revel in the McFly legacy. "You're my... density."

1) The DeLorean is back! I guess it was an unsuccessful car before BTF came out, go figure - but now DeLorean Motor Co. is giving it a second go, hoping fans in the mood for a retro throw-back will place orders for a time machine of their own. The cars will cost $57,500, and the company can make two a month - so get your orders in today! (Flux Capacitor not included.)

2) Speaking of time machines, scientists think they figured out how to build them. In the future, of course. The technology doesn't exist yet. Apparently the "machine" is the space-time continuum itself. Doc was on to something. Downside: you wouldn't be able to travel to any time before the machine was created. Another downside: is it me or does this sound like it involves running? Another downside: I think it would kill you. Read the article and see what you think.

3) Back in the day, Nike actually filed patents to make the sneakers featured in Back to the Future II. Sadly, the patents expired in 1996. Guess you'll have to get your crazy futuristic high-tops elsewhere.

4) Last, but certainly not least, and definitely my favorite, here is Biff from BTF. I guess he does stand-up now (yikes), and this video is his song called "Questions," about being in BTF. It's so funny. I leave you with this. Enjoy:

Monday, August 20, 2007

No Reservations. Whatsoever.

Anthony Bourdain. Coolest. Guy. Ever.

Don't believe me? Watch No Reservations tonight at 10 on the Travel Channel. He's hilarious, he's a famous chef and a food connoisseur, he eats lots of testicles (yeah, I know, gross... but you gotta admit, the man's got balls... haha), he travels all over the world, he's a New Yorker, and he's just a generally cool guy. Plus, he has pretty hair. Oh! And his restaurant Les Halles on Park Ave in NYC is right across the street from where I work! One of these days I hope he comes there just so I can catch a glimpse.

Anyway, watch it. It's great.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"I invented dice when I was a kid."

Earlier I jokingly told Brett that I was going to post about Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in an attempt to get it some much deserved street cred. Then I said that maybe someone with a more popular blog should be the one posting about it to actually spread the word about this fantastic movie. But hey, you gotta start somewhere. So even though I was just joking earlier, I'm gonna mention it anyway.

Ok, seriously, if you're reading my blog and you haven't seen Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, you must go out and get it right now. Go. Now. Or at least put it on your Netflix list. Good. Now move it to the top of your queue.

Still not convinced? It's hilarious, full of sarcasm, has wonderfully developed characters, a fantastic script, great direction, and all the elements you want in a movie. Including a few chase scenes for all you action flick fans out there, some good old fashioned lovin for the romantics in the hizzouse, and lots and lots of mystery. (Can you figure it out before they do? I bet you won't. Yes, that's a challenge.) Oh, and did I mention that it's hilarious?

I love it.

You will love it too.

(A caveat: Please don't be turned off when you see that Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer are in it. You'd be shocked how great they are in this. And SO funny. Seriously, just go watch it. You'll thank me later.)

Yeah, that's where I live.

I read this today on Overheard in New York.com:

NYU professor: So, you don't know who Robin Hood is, or who the three little piggies are? Really? Where did you grow up?

Student: The Bronx.

"The whitest kids u know"

These are three short sketches from The Whitest Kids U Know. My friend said they're "the new Ask the Ninja"... I don't know about that, but some of their stuff is pretty funny. (And some of it isn't. It's hit or miss for me. But that's just how sketch comedy is.) The Whitest Kids U Know is a sketch comedy troupe in New York City (according to Wikipedia, they still perform at Pianos on Sunday nights at 8 for free). Then they got their own show, which used to air on Fuse, but whose second season will now air on IFC. The first video below is called "Burglar," the second is "The New Thing," and the third is "What really happened to Abe Lincoln." Enjoy.







The Whitest Kids U Know - website
The Whitest Kids U Know - youtube

Hello Kitty Hell

Haha so great. I was reading stuff on GeekSugar.com earlier and there was a post about this site... it's called "Hello Kitty Hell: One Man's Life with Cute Overload." I was someone who loved Hello Kitty as a small child, back when she always had a red dress on and her products had Japanese letters on them -- before HK became wildly popular with the screaming tween set. I don't hate her now as much as most people, not the least of which is the guy who keeps the Hello Kitty Hell blog, and I'll admit to owning some Hello Kitty stuff. She's cute. BUT. Here are my beefs with HK:

1) Everyone obviously copied me when they decided to create this fad. I don't like thieves. I also don't appreciate it when nobody gives me credit for things I started.

2) She's only cute to a certain extent. Just look at that HKHell site for a few minutes and you'll start vomiting pinkness, and hearts, and flowers... big, white-headed, beady-eyed flowers with bows in their hair.

3) It's become too much of a fad now. To me, she was cool to like when nobody else liked her. Now she's cool to like, so I'm bored with it.

4) Hello Kitty waffle makers. 'Nuff said.

5) Did I mention about how everyone copied me?

Anyway, enjoy "Hello Kitty Hell."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

"Y'all lucky I like that kinda shit"

Despite posting about it a while ago, I missed the official launch date of the new chapters of Trapped in the Closet on IFC.com. But don't worry, it's not finished yet. IFC.com releases a new chapter each day. 13-18 are currently up on the site (watch them here), and I have to say, I'm a little disappointed. Here's my rundown as I watch each chapter. Feel free to follow along:

13: Not a strong come-back for Kels. I was expecting this to be the "best" chapter yet, since he's had so much time to work on it. I like the IFC guy interviewing Kels in the commentary sections. He's cute. I'm wondering if Kels feels like he has something to prove after being mocked about the first 12 chapters. His attitude is much different than in his commentary about the first 12 on the DVD.

14: Much better. That old element of mystery is back, as is the expository dialogue-singing. My favorite part is when Twon folds up his jacket at the end in preparation for a fight. Oh, and the skillet. That was great. As I watch this chapter, I wonder if R. Kelly purposely tried to make these a little fancier and/or serious, since they're premiering on IFC. (And what's with the occasional periods of silence?)

15: Helicopter graphic. Sweet. That aside, I still don't like that these are more serious than the other ones. I do, however, like the addition of Roxanne to this mix. She's badass.

16: IFC guy says it all: "The eye blinking is good." Haha the "acting" in these never ceases to amaze me. That aside, the best part is when Sylvester inexplicably whips out his gun. Then there's a lesbian kiss cliffhanger. Which is really what the viewer expects from Kels. Well done.

17: "Y'all lucky I like that kinda shit." Need I say more?

18: How do we go from Pimp Lucius (well done, Kels) to someone in the hospital all in the same chapter? The end was too serious. Although then it cuts to Kels and IFC guy, where Kels reveals his favorite part of this chapter. Hahaha. That part was great.

Okay, so overall, here are my thoughts:

Glad Kels is back to amuse us all with these ridiculous videos. NOT glad that he's taking himself more seriously and so they're not quite as ridiculous as they used to be. (Watch the first 12 chapters here. Also check out Weird Al's parody video, "Trapped in the Drive-Thru.")

However, I'll now be watching chapters 19-22 daily as they're released one by one on IFC.com. And don't forget, Kels still has more of these waiting to go. The storyline could feasibly carry on forever, which means the vids could too. And wouldn't that be sweet.

Addendum

Briefly, an addendum to the previous post, in case you write me off as the geek that I am...

I read in the NYTBR today that Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road in three weeks, on a single roll of paper, without using any paragraphs at all, and barely using any punctuation. He later rewrote it for publishing, replacing the names of real people with fictional character names (damn good ones, too... Dean Moriarty!), breaking his prose into paragraphs, and proceeding to punctuate it.

See, Kerouac is way cooler than I'll ever be, and he proofreads too. I can't be THAT lame. :-)

Why spell-check is dangerous.

Just as I was starting to get a little weighed-down by the tales of widespread bloodshed, natural disasters, human tragedy and political hypocrisy in today's Times, I stumbled on this little pick-me-up.

A typo in an Arkansas law passed this year makes it legal for Arkansas children to get married, provided they have parental consent and are not pregnant.

The law was supposed to maintain 18 as the minimum age for marriage but allow an exception for younger Arkansas citizens who are pregnant. But here's how the law reads instead:

"In order for a person who is younger than 18 years of age and who is not pregnant to obtain a marriage license, the person must provide the county clerk with evidence of parental consent to the marriage."

Arkansas needs a copyeditor. That rogue "not" managed to sneak in to the law (in my imagination, it was an intentional insertion by a bitter law school student working late hours as an intern and hopped up on too much Jolt), and now non-consenting babies could technically be married off in their cribs by controlling parents.

I appreciate the limitations of spell-check, as someone who has gritted my teeth through grading many a freshman paper on television adds, war and piece, a story's brave heroin, a character's ability to mints words, their favorite thing to do when the sun shins, that one time in the passed when they past a test, or - most egregious to a grammar nerd like me - they're own life experiences, why your the way you are, or how a dog knows it's owner. ::Wince:: I think this Arkansas snafu is hilarious, and it's an important lesson for anyone who thinks spell-checking something is the same as proofreading it. Yes, it will catch some errors. But it also makes you lazy. And it doesn't pick up half of your typos. Or any of your meaning. (See Arkansas law above.)

Lawmakers are abuzz, expressing concern that pedophiles will flock to Arkansas to get parental consent to marry a small child. (What parent in their right mind would consent to that?) I, on the other hand, am laughing my ass off. In the grand scheme of things, I don't really think this typo will have serious consequences. But the consequence I hope it DOES have? Stop relying on your goddamn spell-check.

I leave you with one of my favorite poems, "Ode to my spell checker." I'm sure you've read it somewhere before. But just for S&G's, paste it in to a new post edit field on blogger, which uses a spell-check function. According to blogger, the poem contains no errors. If you're a Microsoft Word nut and rely on the grammar checker there, try pasting it in. You'll see it contains no spelling errors and only 4 grammar errors, all toward the end of the poem, and that's it. I rest my case.

Eye halve a spelling checker
It came with my pea sea.
It plainly marks four my revue miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a quay and type a word and weight for it to say
Weather eye yam wrong oar write.
It shows me strait a weigh as soon as a mist ache is maid.
It nose bee fore two long and eye can put the error rite.
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it,
I am shore your pleased to no.
Its letter perfect awl the way.
My checker told me sew.

And they all fall down.

Tony Snow stepped down today. One by one they fall. Dennis Hastert. Karl Rove. Tony Snow. Again, I say... Cheney?

This is interesting: "How to Hack Starbucks."

In the spirit of that, here's one of my fav Curb quotes:

Cheryl: I'll have a mocha.
Larry: I'll have a vanilla... bullshit thing. Whatever they're called, latte, cappa, whatever. One of those bullshit things.

(Curb Your Enthusiasm)

Gripe of the night: Only PC users can use the Netflix online viewing features. What is this, 1995? Hmm, also, if a PC user gets free access to videos online with their standard plan and I don't, shouldn't I get a refund of some sort? Or at least an apology from Netflix's programmers? Man up, Netflix.

Last but not least, Sabra won SYTYCD!! Way to go, girl.

Real post coming tomorrow. No, seriously this time.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Where did you learn all of this?" "Internet."

Hi everyone. Sorry I haven't posted much this week. I've been working some crazy hours. But until I write a real post tomorrow, here's something I couldn't resist sharing. It's hilarious. I know this probably belongs on my TV blog instead, but as long as my TV shows are on summer hiatus, that blog kind of is too. Regardless, the clip below is so great. Enjoy.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Rove-be-gone

ROVE RESIGNED!!!
Letwin told me not to get so excited, because Rove has already done his damage. But I can't help it.

Cheney, your turn next.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Right on.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead



Cred-It: An Introduction

Earlier today I read something terrifying. It was the front page article of the New York Times, called "How a 'good war' in Afghanistan went bad." The article took me a while to read, since it spanned 3 pages -- which you know in the New York Times means a hell of a lot of complicated words. Regardless, I really wanted to read it, because I'm interested in the news, because I have friends in the military who have been stationed in or are going to the Middle East, because I'm genuinely curious about the world, and because I've never understood what the hell happened in Afghanistan.

As I was reading the article, I started thinking about how much I don't understand. I like to pretend I "get" all this stuff. I watch The Daily Show almost every night. I read several different news sources every day. I have two journalism degrees. I even made up Current Events quizzes for my students when I was a TA at Syracuse. I'm relatively smart, I pay close attention, I kept a pretty-damn-close-to-4.0 GPA throughout my entire academic career, including classes in history, current events and journalism.

And yet I don't understand so much of what's going on globally. Maybe I didn't have the greatest history teachers, maybe I was too concerned with getting A's and not concerned enough with absorbing information, maybe I have some kind of mental block where I can't understand anything that can't be easily spelled. But whichever of those it is, I know it can't just be me.

There's got to be a lot of people out there who don't fully "get" this stuff. Who maybe know what NATO stands for but don't really get what it does or how it relates to the wars in the Middle East. Who don't know Sunni from Shiite. Who've heard of Fatah but aren't quite sure if that's a couple people or a lot of people and whether they're on our side, on someone else's side, or somewhere in between. Who don't really know what Kurdish means exactly, or if there's a difference between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. (And that's just relating to the Middle East. Nevermind stuff right here at home.)

Newspapers simply don't have time or space to explain that kind of stuff. And nobody really has time to go look it up. A lot of people probably think it doesn't matter since it's not going on here. Other people probably just think it's over their heads and they don't want to ask for explanations because they might sound stupid.

I've decided to add a new feature to "Street Cred." I like when blogs do recurring segments, like Ben and Jerzy's The Weekly Dick and Jay Barnes Has a Website's My Various Neuroses. Inspired by the Explainer feature on Slate.com, I'd like to introduce "Cred-It," where I'll help readers (and myself) get more street cred by giving brief explanations of things you might have always wondered. To start it off, it will probably mainly feature explanations of what you need to know to understand the news. And the article from today's Times mentioned above just proves that we all need to start understanding the news a lot better so we actually know what's going on. Eventually I'll also include explanations for other things you might have always wondered about.

Yes I know you could go look up all this stuff on Wikipedia if you really wanted to know. And if you really don't care, then skip all the "Cred-It" entries. I won't be offended. But I do make one promise - I'll try to keep the explanations as short and reader-friendly as possible. Although these are complicated issues, an explanation that's just as complicated doesn't do you any good.

In business we talk about the "elevator speech" - you have to be able to give your main points in the time it takes to ride up in an elevator. Or there's always the old quote that Denny used to have on the margin of his syllabus: "If your idea can't fit on the back of my business card, it's not a good idea." Obviously something as deep and complex as the Israeli-Palestine conflict can't fit on the back of a business card. I won't even try it. But an explanation of NATO could.

So stay tuned, readers. You'll start seeing "Cred-It" entries scattered throughout the blog. Hopefully this will make it easier for you to keep up with the news. And keeping up with the news is so important right now. In case you don't really see why, I'll link to this article again. "How a 'good war' in Afghanistan went bad."

"Put Your Manners Back In"

I thought this Tom Cruise interview had been lost in the great abyss, but my sister sent me the link to the transcript tonight. The interview took place in Australia. I saw it on TV here. It was so funny. Granted, during some of this he makes a valid point. But in the course of the interview, Peter came off as so calm and level-headed, and Tom came off as crazy, saying things that didn't relate to each other, snapping back at Peter, and making little to no sense. I wish I could find the video.

Anyway, here are my two fav parts:

PETER OVERTON: Do you feel discriminated against when people say this is what Scientology is, that you're a bunch of lunatic fringe or whatever?
TOM CRUISE: Peter?
PETER OVERTON: Tom?
TOM CRUISE: No one's ever said that to me.
PETER OVERTON: No, I mean that perception out there.
TOM CRUISE: But that's not the perception out there. That is absolutely — maybe from your perspective.
PETER OVERTON: This isn't my personal opinion, I'm just saying, how do you feel about that when people...
TOM CRUISE: Well, how would you feel?
PETER OVERTON: If it was my faith, I'd feel really...
TOM CRUISE: Not even your own faith — I find that appalling when people who don't know what they're talking about say things like that. I think it's ... I think it's appalling. I think it's appalling that they're still burning synagogues in France. I think it's appalling how certain Muslims are being treated. I think it's absolutely appalling when we talk about freedom of speech and human rights. I think it's appalling that they electric shock people. I think it's appalling that they drug children. I think it's appalling that they say that there are no solutions for those things. I think it's appalling that people have to live a life of drug addiction when I have personally — personally — helped people get off drugs.

--- and ---

PETER OVERTON: And do you have a relationship [with Nicole] where you talk — a parenting relationship — and talk professionally about each other's...
TOM CRUISE: Listen, here's the thing, Peter. You're stepping over a line now. You're stepping over a line, you know you are.

PETER OVERTON: I suppose they're questions that people want to know.

TOM CRUISE: Peter, YOU want to know. Take responsibility for what you want to know. Don't say what other people… This is a conversation that I'm having with you right now. So I'm just telling you right now, okay, just... put your manners back in.



Also, the end is pretty good. But you just have to go and read it all the way through. It's relatively short. Oh Tom.

Californication indeed...


Did I mention how much I love David Duchovny? I was a geeky adolescent when I first started watching The X-Files, which I credit for instilling in me my highly developed sense of paranoia. Now I'm a geeky adult, and I long for the days of televised theories of paranormal activity and government conspiracy. Not to mention some steamy Mulder-Scully sexual tension. (Read David Wilcox's rundown of season one of The X-Files here.)

You won't be shocked, then, that reading good reviews of DD's newest TV series, Californication, makes me wish I had a Showtime subscription so I could watch it. I will not, however, make the same impulsive purchase that I did earlier this year (HBO) on Entourage's behalf.

Ah David Duchovny. Welcome back from the world of oblivion.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Soulja Boy

I posted a couple days ago about the Soulja Boy phenomenon, and more specifically, "Crank Dat Spiderman." Today Erik sent me "Crank Dat Lion King." I'm a huge fan of the Lion King, so that's one of my favorites.

When I was watching Crank Dat Lion King, I noticed the video below. It's the instructional video for the original "Crank Dat (Soulja Boy)." In case you're wondering what the hell's the deal with the Soulja Boy craze, you can watch the Behind-the-Scenes video. Wanna see the Soulja Boy music video? Watch it here.

Hogwarts doppelgangers, the Saturday Times' tragic flaw, and some f-ing cool links.

First of all, it's been a Saturday full of reading the New York Times Book Review (see its less tangible online version here), now that I invested in a subscription to the Weekend Times.

As I turned the last page of the NYTBR with satisfaction, I remembered the rest of the Times, carelessly tossed on my air conditioner. The poor Saturday Times. Right from the start, it's overshadowed by the best insert of the week being sycophantly housed inside its folds. Yep. The Book Review.

I don't know about you, but for me the Saturday Times is like wrapping paper. So carefully pieced together - and yet I have no time for it. The real prize is inside. Like the cute, Santa-clad paper ensnaring the presents on Christmas morning, the Saturday Times gets carelessly strewn around my apartment as I tear it open to get to what's inside. It's a shame really.

The other thing about the NYTBR is that it's just not as great to read online. There's something about its layout, size and color, or maybe it's the pages that don't leave newsprint on your fingers, that makes it irresistible. (Or who knows - maybe it's partly the act of sifting through the Saturday Times to find it that makes it so wonderful. That lack of instant gratification as you wait for something that makes the wait worthwhile.) This week, for example. Who could resist reading the front-page review of the final Harry Potter book? I'm not a Harry Potter connoisseur and I couldn't resist it. It helps that the entire left half of the page displays a simplistic yet hypnotizing picture of a bunch of scarf-donning, nearly-identical-looking, black-and-white Hogwarts dwellers emblazoned on a bright pink background. Brilliant. The Review is just so much better when you're holding it in your hands.

Everything, however, is not better on paper than online. Thinking about the great writing in the NYTBR led me back to my blog. I decided, in the spirit of street cred, to reorganize my side links and add a bunch of new ones. I added some links to sites that I think deserve a little street cred, and I added other links to writers who have way more street cred than any of us.

Some notable additions:

- David Wilcox, who I went to grad school with at Syracuse and whose writing I've always admired, recently won an Associated Press award for his column in Auburn's newspaper, The Citizen. Among the new links I've added to some friends' blogs (Art, Jamie, Lauren, Stephon - all also fantastic writers), you'll find Wilcox Vox., David's blog - mostly about video games and other cool David-ish stuff. (Also, don't forget to check out Ben and Jerzy's blog, which I've had linked here for a while.)

- My old journalism professors. They're great writers. They taught me how to be a good writer. They all have blogs. I've had two of Denny's blogs posted for a while, but today I added blogs kept by media law guru Carole McNall, PR genius Chris Mackowski, and everyone's favorite cynic Sam Smith.

- I've separated out Sweet Reads from Sweet Sites. Sweet Reads includes bloggers and writers who I don't know but whose writing I admire or whose blogs are a great read. Notable favs include Mark Morford, Virginia Heffernan, Anthony Lane (the link takes you to his archive at the New Yorker), the Freakonomics Blog, and Livejournal Shmivejournal. The rest of the links are super cool too, so check them out.

- Sweet Sites includes sites that aren't necessarily blogs, but that I like for one reason or another. Notable favs include Found, Homestar Runner (although the best part of that site is arguably StrongBad's Emails), Geek Sugar, and Jay Barnes Has a Website.

So anyway, my links are updated, and you should check out the sites. If you're my friend and reside in the Blogosphere, send me a link to your space so I can add you to mine. And my final message to all - start reading the New York Times Book Review. You'll thank me.

Friday, August 10, 2007

LaserMonks!

Say what you will about these guys, but LaserMonks is one of the sweetest names for a business, ever. Great handle. That's all I really care about.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Crank DAT!

First I must admit that I got the idea to name my blog "Street Cred" from the frequent use of the phrase among my college friends. Erik is the king of street cred, and he publicly doles out "street cred" or "shade cred" for awesome/shady things we do. (By publicly, I mean on an email list serv that only my friends and I read. I still consider that public. Listen well, Caroline Giuliani.)

Therefore, as Erik is the official arbiter of street cred, I have to take his feedback into consideration. He left a comment on my hydrogen video post basically telling me that I'm lame sauce for posting something so nerdy. He said if I really want my blog to deserve its title, I should be posting much cooler and street-cred-worthy vids, like his latest find "Crank Dat Spiderman."

I did take a look at Crank Dat Spiderman back when Erik emailed about it on the list serv, but the original version is hard to watch because the guy doing the dance has a big fake blood stain painted on the front of his t-shirt. That's so distracting to me, and it's really hard to watch and appreciate his sweet Spidey moves while I'm looking at a little blood. My mind wanders. I start thinking... I know that's not really blood. Why does he have blood on his shirt? Is he a Blood (as opposed to a Crip)? What's the impetus behind choosing a bloody shirt for your You Tube debut? You get the picture.

Anyway, here is a different version of Crank Dat Spiderman... this guy is pretty cool. And no blood on his shirt, so that's good. It's a little backlit, which is my only complaint. But this kid sure can dance the Spidey!

Anyway, seriously, this is a bit of a cultural phenomenon that should be on your radar. You'll notice that, not unlike Lazy Sunday, there have been a number of versions and spoofs, including Crank Dat Batman. (Speaking of Lazy Sunday, you've gotta see the British version. "Tea, motherf*ckers!")

So here's Crank Dat Spiderman. Enjoy. And remember... with great power comes great responsibility.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Privacy parts

You've probably read about Giuliani's daughter Caroline joining a Barack Obama group on Facebook. You've probably also read about the privacy debate that has followed. Here's a blog article that Ben links to in his latest post. What I'll say refers to this article, so you might want to read a few paragraphs of it.

I agree that reporters are vultures and usually overstep bounds. But when your father's the former mayor of NYC and decides to run for president, you should know that someone's gonna see the information you choose to post publicly on Facebook. Yeah, Facebook used to be just open to people from your school, but now it's open to the public. Get with it, teenagers! Facebook is public. Anyone can say they're from your city and join your network. Is this what it takes for everyone to learn a lesson? Nevermind if your father's a public figure. If Caroline Giuliani needs a point of reference, she only need ask the Bush girls.

Also, regarding the author of that article... anyone who makes such huge sweeping generalizations and unintelligent value judgments ("trust me, this is the stereotypical blonde," just as one of many examples) makes it really difficult for me to get on board with anything he or she is saying. Okay, so Caldwell doesn't come across that great in her interview with CNN. (Ben has the video posted here.) How about blaming CNN for interviewing Caldwell -- and even worse, for conducting the interview the way they did? Yikes. But that shouldn't have anything to do with the argument about privacy. There are plenty of substantial, convincing points whoever wrote that article could have made.

Article aside, this entire debate bothers me for a few reasons. So here are my condensed thoughts. 1) Yes, reporters suck. 2) Be glad your family members aren't politicians. 3) If your parents DO become politicians, that means you all fall under the rules for public figures, which are different than the rules for other citizens (yes, seriously, public figures and regular citizens have different legal protection under libel and slander laws). Should people be respectful? Yes. Does she deserve some privacy? Okay, but that's not really the issue.

The real privacy issue here is that whatever anyone posts on Facebook isn't private in the first place. That's the lesson we all should learn from this media circus.

"Break a Leg"

I posted about the indie web sitcom "Break a Leg" the other day (read the post here), but today Yuri Baranovsky (the guy who plays David Penn and is also the show's writer and director) read my post and left a comment with some more information, so I'd like to mention it again and give you some updates.

First of all, "Break a Leg" just launched a new website! You can view it here, at BreakaLeg.TV. The site's pretty sweet, and it contains all the episodes produced so far (6 episodes, 1 minisode and 3 weblogs).

There's something new every week, be it a minisode, a weblog, etc., and the newest full episode will be released October 1. Seriously, go watch it. The writers are big fans of Arrested Development, The Office, and Scrubs, and you can see traces of all those shows in this one. And come on, those are basically the three best shows on TV. (Well, ok, Arrested Development isn't on TV anymore, but it should be.)

Anyway, it's really worth checking out. Plus, the episodes are divided into three parts, seven minutes each. You've got seven minutes to spare, right? Reading this blog probably takes you almost that long.

Also, you can find a link to the show's store on the site. As we all know, indie projects are indie because they're not financially supported by a big company. So any little bit helps. I know I'll be ordering a Swamblers shirt to help support these guys. Come on, blog readers! Let's get them on TV.

Really, I mean it. Wouldn't you like to see another show like Arrested Development, The Office and Scrubs on TV instead of yet another America's Got Crazy Pets, Kids and Flamethrowers?

Right, that's what I thought.

In case you forget what I'm talking about and are too lazy to go back to my old post, here's Part One of the pilot again, as well as a minisode -- for your viewing pleasure.



Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Advertised.

These two vids are great. The first is called "Truth in Advertising." SO funny. The sarcasm is unmatchable. The second is a Monster.com commercial where kids talk about working in advertising. It's funny cuz it's true. (PS when you watch the Monster ad, wait for the description of "Account Executive." That's me.)



Rock Your Soul

Just a couple of my favs from SYTYCD... they're very short. And amazing. The first is Shane Ryan's hip-hop. The second is Mia Michaels' contemporary (and SMOKING HOT... seriously it's like really really sexy...). It's done to a song by Elisa. Also, if you like Elisa (she's amazing), you can also listen to my favorite Elisa song below the videos. It's called "Rock Your Soul."


("Tambourine" by Eve)


("Dancing" by Elisa)

Quantcast

Hydrogen is less dense than air.

^ it's true. Which makes something cool like this "invisible water trick" possible:

Monday, August 6, 2007

Birthday wishes in Pop Art



Happy birthday, Andy Warhol. You were a pretty cool guy. Also, a man of few words. (See below.) Today Andy would have been 79. See his collections at The Warhol here. Also check out Andy's photo booth self-portraits at The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Indie sitcom. Now we're talkin!



I found a link to this independent web sitcom earlier tonight when I was reading an article on slate.com about You Tube.

The show, "Break a Leg," isn't on TV, it's just on the web. See what you think. (P.S., to get rid of that annoying ad bar at the bottom of the video frame, just click the "x.")

I love the dry humor. I'm a big fan of that in general. I also really like David's character, and the editing they do is really clever. If you like the first part of the pilot posted here, see the rest of the pilot here at blip.tv.

(Also, something else I read in the slate article: the first independent feature film to be uploaded to You Tube. I've only watched the intro, but it's pretty cool. It's 70 mins long.)

(P.S. This also serves as a correction to my post last night about Chasing Amy and starry skies. Don't get me wrong, I still love indie films. These two vidoes, plus an indie film in my mailbox from Netflix today ("Lovely and Amazing"), plus the many indies scattered throughout my video collection, plus my encouragement of others to watch indies, should serve as proof. See? I love indie. :-) Just not indie endings for my love life. That's all.)

Schadenfraude

Schadenfradue (n): happiness at the misfortune of others.



I know it's mean, but I can't help it.

starry skies

It's past my bedtime. But I can't really fall asleep. So here goes.

I was talking with Ben earlier tonight about why I particularly appreciate one of Kevin Smith's several cult films, Chasing Amy. Without going into too much detail, Chasing Amy is real, and it's honest, and the characters are so well developed that they almost step off the screen and sit on your couch with you. But in the context of our conversation, Ben and I were talking about movie endings. So here's my comparison. In brief.

Chick flicks are fun, but they're kind of disappointing for the cynical moviegoer. I watch and enjoy them, don't get me wrong. But here's the problem. I watch these chick flicks and I think, hey! Wait a second! This kind of stuff never happens to me! This is bullshit. ("Bull-SHIT, mama!" - sorry other readers, if there even are any, that's a little shout-out to my favorite doctor.) Then I start thinking, maybe if it doesn't happen like this, then it doesn't happen at all. I vacillate between holding out hope for some sort of fairy tale ending in my own life, feeling depressed about how my own life has worked out so far, and discounting the entire movie as fictional bullshit created to maintain socialized gender roles.

Then there's one of my personal favorites, the indie film. Seriously, I LOVE indie movies. But in this genre, usually nobody ends up happy at the end. They're gritty, they're real, they're raw, they're fantastic. But there are rarely happy endings, not much works out quite right, and the endings are often either artsy and hard to understand, or cliffhanger-type endings with just enough closure to figure out that there's no hope for anything working out, ever. I said earlier tonight to Ben that I think I'm doomed to be one of the pitiful girls in an indie film. Let's hope that's not the case.

Here's what I hate: the chick flick with the indie film ending. Case in point: My Best Friend's Wedding. They set you up with the chick flick premise. A classic, "girl and boy have known each other their whole lives and might be with the wrong people now but will end up together because they're perfect for each other" story... with a terrible ending. You're all set up for some classic fluff, and the first two hours of the movie are fluff, as expected. All systems are go. Then at the end... wham! Or, whammy. Julia Roberts' character ends up dancing with a gay guy at her dream lover's wedding to someone else. Yikes. I hate that kind of movie. Don't pretend to be an indie film when you're not. That kind of disappointment is only acceptable in true gritty honest emotional indie films, not any film headlined by Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, or any of their younger chick-flick-famous counterparts.

Which brings me to movies like Chasing Amy. These movies don't quite end how you'd like them to, because let's admit it, what in life does? They're honest and real throughout the film; they chillingly smack of real life; you know people in real life who remind you of those characters. And yet, they're heartwarming in some way. The honesty isn't pessimistic or cynical, it's just real. And most importantly, although the endings aren't wrapped up in tight, neat little Spielberg packages or spoon-fed like sickeningly saccharin chick-flick fare... they still contain a little hope.

And hope is what I'm talking about here. Life isn't always depressing, painful and artsy, as indie films would lead you to believe. Life isn't always hearts and bubbles either, like Meg Ryan's cute little pixy face taunts from the screen. Nor is life merely one big huge two-hour set up for massive disappointment, like My Best Friend's Wedding. Nope. And before you say anything, stop and think about it a little. Don't just spit back a programmed cynical response. (I know how that works. I've been a huge cynic these last few years.) Seriously, though. Think about it.

Usually, things in life fall into kind of a gray area. You get a dream job. It's not quite what you expected it to be. But you either find a way to make it work and be happy, or you make a big life decision to start doing something else so that you can be happier. You move to a new city. You love it there, or you hate it there. Or you're somewhere in between. You gather up your experiences and you either move back to where you came from, or you make it work out where you are. These are the gray areas we wade through every day.

And that's just regular old life decisions. Nevermind love. The article Ben mentions in this post starts to delve into the realms of grayness wherein love resides. My favorite quote from that article is this: "See, at a certain point, all the variants become so astounding, so dizzying, so universal, that you finally realize (yes, for the 1,000th time) there is no rule. There is no pattern. The exceptions are the rule. There is no approach that, overall, seems to work for most people most of the time. There's not even a hint of a possibility of a whisper of a rule and anyone who deigns to tell you differently, be it a church or a parent or a relationship guru, is, to put it gently, astoundingly full of crap."

But a lot of that article's a little too cynical for a hopeless romantic like me, and there's something about it that has bothered me ever since I read it, I just didn't know what. But I was talking to my friend Brian tonight, giving him a little hypocritical advice on his latest romantic foray, while he gave me a little hypocritical advice back, and I started thinking about it all again in the context of these movie genres.

(Caveat: As I sit here and think about this, the less tired I get, so I'm going to finish this up instead of going to sleep. Looks like tomorrow's going to be a hair-in-ponytail, roll out of bed type of day. Please send coffee in the AM. I'm going to need it.)

When it comes to love, I think all these gray areas get a whole lot more confusing. But confusing doesn't have to mean hopeless. Although I'm kind of pessimistic, I am always holding out some kind of hope. Not hope that I'm going to magically turn into Meg Ryan and some kind of upbeat-yet-mellow soundtrack is going to play behind the picture-perfect, amber-tinted events of my life or anything like that. I've been watching those movies since I was like 8 years old and have had lots and lots of heartbreak between then and now. I know that's not how it goes.

But I do think some hope is called for, no matter how big of a cynic you are. Isn't that part of why you're a cynic? Because deep deep down you're holding out the greatest hope of all? I hadn't thought of it before tonight, but I think there might be something to that.

There's a lot I think I want to say about this, but it's getting late now and I'm starting to lose focus.

I'll just venture one last metaphor here for good measure. If an indie film's ending is a big night sky, vast and expansive and deep but pitch black as far as the eye can see, then I think movies like Chasing Amy are like a star-filled night sky. It's not a bright screeching blinding white daylight like chick flicks, and it's not... I don't know, an eclipse (ok maybe I'm taking this too far) like crappy My Best Friend's Wedding movies.

Instead, it's a star-filled night sky. It's big, vast, expansive and deep, but when you look up into it you can see little specks of hope. The ending might be unclear; it's not bathed in a bottle-blonde, clarity-endowing sunlight that leaves no question unanswered. But it's meaningful, it's honest, it's real, and it leaves some hope in your heart. Little stars in the darkness.

And if we don't have hope, we don't have much. Indie endings be damned. I'll take my night sky star-filled, thank you very much. And I'll take my life star-filled, too.