Month: March 2004

I Feel Great!

I’m not sure how I found this site, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. As far as I can tell, Turnpike Films has done several commercials for major corporations. However, these aren’t your average, boring, or even mildly entertaining commercials. They’re rather bizarre. I recommend them all, but if you only watch one of them, make sure that it is the Nutri-Grain commercial. It’s absolutely hilarious. I don’t know how they thought of it, but I wish more commercials were like these.

Nothing Nice to Say is Back! Again!

Yes, that’s right, everyone’s favorite punk comic is back—well, at least the archives have returned. I’ve written once before about my excitement for Nothing Nice when Mitch came out of semi-retirement and did a few more strips back in August. However, that didn’t last very long; soon, the site was down and even the archives were unavailable.

Today, the Nothing Nice to Say website is back up and running; new strips may or may not happen, but we all know how hard it is to keep up something on a regular basis: please see this here website. In the meantime, check out Mitch’s new project, Barrett’s Lament. I’m sure that it will be just as witty as Nothing Nice.

Department of Photo Opportunities

If you still don’t have any doubts about the effectiveness of the Department of Homeland Security and the shamelessness of the Bush propaganda machine, this may convince you otherwise:

Administration sources tell Time that employees at the Department of Homeland Security have been asked to keep their eyes open for opportunities to pose the President in settings that might highlight the Administration’s efforts to make the nation safer. The goal, they are being told, is to provide Bush with one homeland-security photo-op a month.

God, I hope that we don’t have to put up with the current administration for another four years. It never ceases to amaze me what they’re capable of tampering and/or politicizing.

Quote via Antipixel; originally on Pandagon.

Spring Break Recap

Now that I’m back in Scranton and feeling the warmth of spring—and by warmth, I mean four-degree wind chill this morning—I figured that I’d recapitulate on the unbelievable events that took place over spring break. In actuality, break was a rather subdued affair that mostly consisted of sleeping in, catching up on some reading, and semi-motivated web design work. I did get some antibiotics to take care of a little case of pharyngitis, learned from a podiatrist that I had a “high foot strain,” and finally went for a haircut.

Over the weekend, a trip to Baltimore to visit Annie happened in spite of the snow that we received on Thursday night. By the time I left on Friday, the roads were dry in most areas. On Saturday, we met Michael, Katie, and Chris and some of their friends at the Coliseum, which looked a bit crazy on their website, but turned out to be a nice restaurant with good food. Midget wrestling did not happen while we were there, much to my relief.

Google Is a Funny Company

I noticed that Google introduced another new service that allows you to search for businesses by specifying some search terms and the general location (city and state or zip code). The new Local Search is just as useful as Google’s regular web search, and many times improved over other business directories/searches such as SuperPages or The amusing side of this is their method of advertising the new feature. After searching for something on the web search, a little box appeared near the bottom of the screen that read, “Shameless Self-Promotion.” It’s refreshing to see a company with a good sense of humor and a great product.

Where’s the Exercise?

I just read an amusing little blurb in the March 10, 2004 issue of The Onion about exercise in America:

Study: 58 Percent of U.S. Exercise Televised

WASHINGTON, DC — According to a new Department of Health and Human Services study, 58 percent of all exercise performed in the U.S. is broadcast on television. “Of the 3.5 billion push-ups performed in 2003, 2.03 billion took place on exercise shows on the Lifetime Network and ESPN3 or fitness segments on Good Morning America,” the study read. “The abundance of TV exercise would create the impression that America is a healthy society, if everyone didn’t already know that we’re a bunch of disgusting, near-immobile spectators.” The DHHS study also indicated that 99.3 percent of the nation’s Soloflex workouts are televised.

I’d link to the article, but the Onion’s archives are so screwed up that it is nearly impossible to link to a past issue, let alone a news blurb. Anywho, the point of this whole post was to lament the lack of exercise that I’ve done while home on break. I had every intention of going for a run this week (yesterday was an exception—it was migraine headache day) but the freak snowstorm today will likely limit the spring-like run I craved. Maybe I’ll just go watch the Fitness Channel and nurse a milkshake. Sigh.

Do the Evolution

I have been slightly obsessed with Pearl Jam‘s Do the Evolution video for the past week or so. Since I’ve never really been into the whole MTV thing since they stopped focusing on music, I missed the video when it first came out in 1998. Unlike most music videos, Do the Evolution is just as relevant as when it was released, or perhaps even more timely today.

While the song itself is good, it can’t compare with the video. The real strength of the video lies in its animation; it would be impossible to create the video using real actors and the animated style is able to capture much more detail than would be possible with film. It makes perfect sense that the video was created by both Eddie Vedder and Todd McFarlane, the creator of the comic Spawn. The video matches the song so perfectly that you wonder if the video actually came first.

In addition to the fact that the song sounds great and the video looks amazing, the work covers an astronomical number of events. Do the Evolution was intended to represent the entire history of humanity, but it does more than that ambitious goal. It doesn’t just present us with a sad history of mankind’s past, it foretells the future of the planet as well. I know it sounds pretentious, but give it a view. Unfortunately, the video is only available in Real or Windows streaming media; and Real Player is real obnoxious. If anyone knows a place where I can download or buy the Do the Evolution video, let me know.

See Do the Evolution for 56K, ISDN, or T1. Read the lyrics too.

University of Scranton’s 24-Hour Musical

No, it wasn’t a musical that lasted 24 hours. This past weekend, I took part in a stage production that spanned 24 hours from production to performance. On Friday, auditions were held for a play unknown to anyone except the directors and heads of production at 5:00 PM. At 7:00 PM, the actors were cast and the name of the show was announced. When the actors, crew, and directors returned to the Royal Theatre at 8:00 PM, we began working on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; it was only 24-hours before show time.

When I first heard about the 24-Hour Musical, the first thing that popped into my head was, “Who would want to watch a day-long musical, let alone perform in it?” After finding out the true nature of the show, I was impressed and excited. This is theatre designed for me: no preparation, no long-term time contracts, and all the anticipation of opening night packed into an almost impossibly short time period. How could I not take the bait?

There was an air of excitement—the kind that is always felt the day of a show—and a refreshing spirit to the cast and crew that lasted well into the night and the next morning. About 5:00 AM on Saturday, the cast was dragging and the crew was bored… it was time for a short nap. I cheated a bit and ran home for a short rest and shower, but when I returned, we were in much the same situation. I worked on the costume crew (my first time ever) with Rachael, LeighAnna, and Liana; it was a light workload for all of us, seeing as how (almost) everyone was to wear bed-sheets fashioned into togas with safety pins.

Despite the fact that the show was still looking rather rough at the dress rehearsal, the actual performance went off without any major problems. Many leads in the show held their scripts while on stage and referred to them periodically, but it was barely noticeable next to the superb acting and singing of the entire cast. Most likely, the 24-Hour Musical will translate into an annual event, considering the great success of this year’s production.

Yeah, I know this is a sketchy account of an action-packed weekend, but I’m way behind on my work right now… which is probably the only reason why I’m writing this entry. The blogosphere is a delicious way to waste the day away.

What Book Are You?

The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman

You’re The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman! Though you’re interested in war, what you really want to know is what causes war. You’re out to expose imperialism, militarism, and nationalism for what they really are. Nevertheless, you’re always living in the past and have a hard time dealing with what’s going on today. You’re also far more focused on Europe than anywhere else in the world. A fitting motto for you might be “Guns do kill, but so can diplomats.”

Take the Book Quiz.

Nice Weather for Annie’s Birthday!

The weather has been slowly warming up the past few days, but today was just wonderful. It was sunny with a slight breeze and the temperature was around 60 degrees. Baltimore was warmer, much to Annie’s delight; I happened to order a big helping of warm weather to celebrate her birthday today. Sorry, I don’t take requests from just anyone.

My day wasn’t so great, seeing as how it was more hectic than I expected. I had some lucky breaks throughout the course of the day—the greatest was getting out of my night class almost two hours early (it’s usually 6:30 — 9:10 PM). In the end, all the craziness of the day averaged itself out to something just past normal.