Showing posts with label Internet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Internet. Show all posts

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Greatest Event In Television History

Jeff Probst, Paul Rudd, Jon Hamm, and Adam Scott team up to do a send up of the "greatest event" specials of the 1980s.  The key to getting this kind of parody correct is to have the parody be a good version of what is being made fun of and this is damn near perfect.

RIP Jon Hamm.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Allie Goertz is Better than Rebecca Black -- D&D Tonight is Better than Friday!

The internet is filled with many wonders and perils.  It is a place where one can find beauty and horror, and one doesn't even have to look to far to find either.  It is also a place where a person can inexplicably go from moderately talented high school student to pop music sensation in nanoseconds.

The most famous case of this phenomenon is Rebecca Black, whose Autotuned voice can be heard singing two songs that are so cliche that they border on being a parody of modern pop music.  One can listen to Rebecca Black's song "Friday" back to back with Katy Perry's pop hit "Firework" and wonder where the real difference is.  Both are products of a pop-industrial machine that produces things that have a pleasant sound, but are almost completely lacking in "heart" -- even when they are attempting to be inspirational.

While Rebecca Black has been successful in promoting herself on the internet, she has also been the target of much scorn.  This is partly due to envy, and partly due to the trivial and formulaic nature of the songs she sings. It is also because there are people of greater talent, but less exposure, who put forth their artistic creations on the internet in the hopes that others will appreciate their efforts.  We aren't talking about people seeking to make a dollar, rather those who wish to share their creations.  It takes a lot of courage to promote yourself on the internet -- this applies to Rebecca as well -- it can be a cruel place.

While I was flying toward that wonderful -- and geeky -- annual celebration of hobby gaming called Gen Con, another young voice was being uploaded to the internet.  It is a wonderful voice.  Where Rebecca Black's song is formulaic with industry-esque production values and Autotuned vocals, this new artist's song is recorded by a microphone attached directly to the computer with a video recorded by a webcam.  Where Rebecca Black's song was written by professionals and sounds as if it were programmed by a "pop song writing machine," the new artist wrote her own song about something she enjoys.

That new artist is Allie Goertz.  Her voice sounds like a combination of Xenia and Dia Frampton of NBC's "The Voice."  Her lyrics combine her own love for Hobby Gaming with a touch of Tom Lehrer.

So give a listen to Allie Goertz's song "Tonight."  She's an artist so humble that she apologizes for sounding too pretentious when she says the word "essentially."  Though I think that's just her being a little "punny" regarding the latest edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Face of "Television" is Changing and Becoming "Internetelevision"

For the past few years, I have been talking about how our television viewing habits are being changed by the internet and how soon most of our viewing choices will be made "on demand."  Providers of digital narrative viewing entertainment will be able to reap great rewards from the system, even as it shatters some of the older models.  The studios, big and small, will likely benefit by the changes and affiliate stations will suffer as people move away from "command" television of the kind that local affiliates provide, and move toward "on demand" television where the viewer is empowered to watch shows directly from the provider.  The content provider and the distributor system will change, but likely not be completely eliminated as trusted "content hubs" will make finding new content easier for viewers.  The overall shift will likely empower creators and viewers and lessen the power of distributors -- though the need for effective marketers will be significant.

I began imagining this future before anyone offered streaming video content, but after reading The Future of the Mass Audience in a political science class as an undergrad.  Since I started talking about the topic -- which was a topic for a couple of early Geekerati podcasts -- we have seen the rise of Hulu, Netflix streaming, television stations streaming their own shows, FunnyorDie!, and many DiY Web Series of varying quality -- some quite excellent.

Now one of the leaders in the field is moving forward toward the purely on demand future.  It is one thing for television networks to provide their content online after it has aired through traditional channels, it is quite another for a streaming provider to purchase and produce a high end show strictly for streaming.  That provider is Netflix and they are looking into the possibility of providing two upcoming on demand televisions shows in the near future.  The first is House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey and the second is an unnamed show by the Kenji Kohan (the creator of "Weeds).

Change is in the wind, and that change looks very interesting indeed.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Axis of Awesome vs. Greyson97

Which is more remarkable?

Is the Axis of Awesome right in positing all pop songs use the same four chords? 

Does knowledge of a "mere 4 chords" explain Greyson97? 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kung Fu Bunny 3 (Gongfu tu ): Amateur Animation Never Looked So Good

Allen Varney, a fellow University of Nevada graduate, recently tweeted about an amateur animation series called Kung Fu Bunny. In particular, he provided a link to the series creator's YouTube posting of the third episode of the series. This particular video has been online for about a month and the two older episodes were posted in 2007. Near as I can tell, these videos were posted by an animator who identifies himself merely as "Vincent." If I could read Chinese characters, I would be able to provide a translation of his printed name. Alas, this is not the case. You can visit his personal blog at

The animation in the third episode of the series is seemlessly integrated into live action footage with remarkable effect. It's amazing how technological innovations have made it so that an amateur animator can integrated live action and animation in a way that makes Who Framed Roger Rabbit? look primitive in comparison. Certainly, some of Vincent's coloring technique, particularly the shading of the characters, was influenced by the Disney film, but the work here is excellent.

An added bonus to the video is that the narrative is wonderfully entertaining. American audiences will be familiar with the narrative tropes being used in the story as they are the time tested tropes of the Warner Bros. Bugs Bunny cartoons, Tom and Jerry, and Kid vs. Kat. In this case, our narrator wants to catch the mischievous Kung Fu Bunny and sets a trap. When this trap is evaded, and our animator mocked, he sends his trusty animated dog companion after the Bunny. The rest is comic gold.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yet Another Glimpse of the Internet's Purpose

The internet was put upon this Earth to provide us all with entertaining, and mildly disturbing, DIY created content. Famous for this kind of fair are the folks at, who provided us with that internet classic "We Like the Moon."

Below is their more recent video Agamemnon -- catchy and disturbing. One would also like to note that while having an overweight man dance while dressed like the 300, Agamemnon was never king of Sparta his brother Menelaus was. Both lived in Sparta for a time, but Agamemnon returned to his homeland and conquered those who had force him and his brother into exile.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Newspapers and Magazines...Paper or Electron?

In a recent article for the National Journal, William Powers discusses his thoughts on the current state of the "newspaper crisis." Are they here to stay or are they going the way of the dinosaur and the Stanley Steamer automobile. In the article, Powers briefly addresses the concerns of the newspaper fan and the newspaper employee and points out that:

Up-to-date information is the coin of the realm, and it's rare to meet a successful person who doesn't follow the news. They may not get it from the hard-copy newspaper, but most online news originates in traditional newspapers and newspaper-related organs such as the Associated Press. In other words, the basic product the papers produce still helps the fittest to thrive.

It might seem that Powers is waxing Pollyanna on us, but I don't think so. News is a commodity in the "information age" and will be for time to come. Whether that news is about sports, business transactions, or Lindsay Lohan doesn't matter. People want information.

But does that mean that they want to read the news on "paper?"

Eyewitness television news didn't kill paper, what about the internets?

Powers doesn't answer this question in his piece, though I expect he'll be writing about the future of paper as a medium soon, but he does mention that Rupert Murdoch is fighting to purchase the Wall Street Journal (one of the nation's leading bird cage fillers).

Powers seems to be hinting that paper may not be dead as paper, but then what does Powers think about the following?

Premiere magazine, which had a circulation of over 500,000, is now purely digital and has featured our friend David Chute.

Disney will cease publication of its 1,000,000 circulation strong Disney Adventures.

And while the Journal is a leader in print, it also has one of the best web interfaces of any news publication.

Which direction is the news going?

Will Mark Cuban's comments regarding bandwidth capabilities have any effect? In other words, do we need paper because we will lack bandwidth?