Archive for September, 2007

Sabbatical

// September 24th, 2007 // Comments Off // life

A sabbatical is a period away from your normal routine – a time to immerse yourself in a different environment, a chance to see your life from a different perspective.

I’m stepping away from the intense internet life for a while… I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, but this thing just seems to take over too easy. I’ll be back one day…

Junky Car Club

// September 18th, 2007 // Comments Off // life

It looks like I qualify for this club. Both of my cars are paid off and one is 13 years old and still running. Check out the the Junky Car Club below…

Junky Car Club

Junky Car Club

Hmmm… Suing God?

// September 17th, 2007 // Comments Off // Funny, life

Oh the things we do for attention…

Nebraska State Senator Sues God Over Natural Disasters

Monday , September 17, 2007

FC1



Nebraska Democratic State Senator Ernie Chambers has decided to go straight to the top in an effort to stop natural disasters from befalling the world.

Chambers filed a lawsuit against God in Douglas County Court Friday afternoon, KPTM Fox 42 reported.

Click here for more from KPTM Fox 42 in Omaha.

The suit asks for a “permanent injunction ordering Defendant to cease certain harmful activities and the making of terroristic threats.”

The lawsuit identifies the plaintiff as, “the duly elected and serving State Senator from the 11th Legislative District in Omaha, Nebraska.”

Chambers also cites that the, “defendant directly and proximately has caused, inter alia, fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornados, pestilential plagues…”

Chambers says he isn’t suing God because he has any kind of beef with the deity. He says the suit is to fight possible laws restricting the filing of frivolous lawsuits. Chambers tells KPTM FOX 42 News that his lawsuit is in response to bills brought forth by other state senators to try and stop lawsuits from being filed.

“The Constitution requires that the courthouse doors be open, so you cannot prohibit the filing of suits,” Chambers says. “Anyone can sue anyone they choose, even God.”

Chambers bases his ability to sue God, as, “that defendant, being omnipresent, is personally present in Douglas County.”

Music Business Bets On The "Ringle"?

// September 11th, 2007 // Comments Off // Music & Entertainment, Technology

This is absolutely dumb.  Once again the music business is missing the point.  Consumers like downloading and downloading when they want.  This is a ploy for labels to charge back their artists for printing and packaging again for singles…  sorry, I just find this ridiculous.  Here’s an article with details:

 Music industry betting on ‘ringle’ format
Sun Sep 9, 2007 11:07 PM ET

By Ed Christman

NEW YORK (Billboard) – As the recording industry wakes up from its summer slumber and starts thinking about what will motivate the consumer for the holiday selling season, the major labels are getting ready to launch the “ringle,” which combines the mostly defunct single format with ringtones.

Each ringle is expected to contain three songs — one hit and maybe one remix and an older track — and one ringtone, on a CD with a slip-sleeve cover. The idea is that if consumers in the digital age can download any tracks they want individually, why not let them buy singles in the store as well? It also enables stores to get involved in the ringtone phenomenon.

Sony BMG Music Entertainment, which came up with the ringle idea, and Universal Music Group are going to be the first out of the box with ringles. The former will unleash 50 titles during October and November, while UMG will have anywhere from 10 to 20 titles ready. The Recording Industry Association of America has approved the “ringle” name, and there is an industrywide logo to help brand it. But except for Sony, each major still needs to cut a deal with a digital aggregator to allow consumers to redeem the ringtone.

Meanwhile, label profit margins for the format are considered slim. The majors are gambling that the ringle can instill in consumers the mind-set to connect to the Internet via the CD.

Sources suggest the ringle will carry either a $5.98 or $6.98 list price, while the wholesale cost to retailers will be less than $4. If it’s $5.98, ringles will have a 31 percent gross margin, shy of the 35 percent profit margin that CD albums carry nowadays; if it’s $6.98, that would give retail a 42.7 percent gross margin, similar to the profit margin cassette and vinyl albums enjoyed back in the day.

On the plus side, big retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Amazon have agreed to support the configuration, although all of them may not be ready to do so at launch date, sources say.

Reuters/Billboard

Music Money Drying Up? Fans Go Digital, Videos Go Lo-Fi

// September 7th, 2007 // Comments Off // Music & Entertainment, Technology

Great article about the changing landscape of the music business.  Article is from Globeandmail.com

Music videos go lo-fi as cash dries up

NEW YORK — The music video is shrinking.

With the music industry in crisis from falling sales and file sharing, labels have less cash to subsidize elaborate videos that will mostly be seen in miniature on computers. The result has been a major shift in the art form, as artists increasingly embrace the YouTube esthetic with cheap, stripped-down, low-production videos.

The shrinkage of the video will be obvious Sunday at the MTV Video Music Awards, where grandiose, ambitious videos will seem like an exotic species facing extinction.

“The business is changing radically. It does feel smaller, cheaper,” says veteran music video director Samuel Bayer, whose many clips include Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, Blind Melon’s No Rain and Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams, which won six awards at the 2005 VMAs.

Even Kanye West — one of the most video-conscious artists in music — experimented with a small, quirky clip for his new hit Can’t Tell Me Nothing. Instead of the flamboyant rapper, the video stars the bearded, disheveled, unmistakably white comedian Zach Galifianakis.

Pimping an orange tractor on a country farm, he lip-syncs: “Homey, this is my day.”

When MTV’s award show kicked off 24 years ago, the network was ushering in a new era where the video was king: a branding tool and an art form rolled into one. Today, the channel broadcasts mostly reality shows while YouTube, iTunes, MTV.com and various other online destinations have become the dominant viewing platform for videos.

Directors are gradually adapting to the smaller-sized medium.

Chris Applebaum’s video for Rihanna’s Umbrella is nominated for five VMAs, including video of the year and best director. It’s a sleek, beautiful creation, and Applebaum was conscious of where it would be most watched.

“I had a lunch with Rihanna and Jay [label head Jay-Z] and we talked about the fact that most people are going to watch things on their laptop,” said Applebaum. “It’s important to be bold and simple and to find the elegance in simplicity.”

Bayer’s video for Justin Timberlake’s What Goes Around … Comes Around is nominated for numerous VMAs, including best video and best director. Starring Timberlake and Scarlett Johansson, the video has a distinctively cinematic feel, complete with a car chase and end credits.

In this way, What Goes Around feels old-school — like a rebellion against the new aesthetic. Instead, Bayer aimed for an experience more like Michael Jackson’s landmark 1983 Thriller video, directed by John Landis.

“I said, ‘We gotta go big,’” says Bayer. “‘If I’m going up against an OK Go video with four guys on a treadmill that plays-millions of times on YouTube, how can I do something that is the opposite of that?’”

In the late 1980s and through the 1990s, budgets and ambition ran high. Mark Romanek’s 1995 video for Michael and Janet Jackson’s Scream is considered the most expensive ever, at an estimated $7-million. There have been many videos in the $2-million range, including Brett Ratner’s Heartbreaker for Mariah Carey, Hype Williams’ clip for Busta Rhymes’ What’s It Gonna Be?! and David Fincher’s Express Yourself for Madonna.

What Goes Around cost approximately $1-million, but Bayer thinks it could be one of the last big-budget videos.

“A comet hit the earth and the dinosaurs are dying,” says Bayer. “There’s a new age coming. I think those days are over with.”

Stavros Merjos, founder of HSI Productions and a long-time producer of videos for acts ranging from Britney Spears to Will Smith, doesn’t expect to ever see another $2-million video: “The record industry as a whole has shrunk. There’s not as much money to throw around.”

Merjos sees the effect particularly in hip-hop, where sales declines have been the steepest and extravagant videos by the likes of Notorious B.I.G., Dr. Dre, Diddy and Jay-Z used to be commonplace.

“You were expected to have a big video if you were a top-flight or a serious up-and-coming hip-hop artist,” says Merjos. “They’re not doing the size that they were doing in the heyday.”

Many artists and directors are now creating videos knowing they’ll have to compete for eyeballs on YouTube. OK Go’s famous treadmill-choreographed video for Here It Goes Again was perfectly suited for viral distribution, but the power pop band is far from alone in its reconsidered methods.

The Decemberists and Modest Mouse both asked fans to fill in the background to a video shot in front of a green screen. Jessica Simpson did a version of A Public Affair composed entirely of fans dancing and lip-syncing to the pop song.

Last year, Death Cab for Cutie sponsored professional videos for each of the 11 songs on their album Plans. For his album The Information, Beck personally created a video for every track. The silly, lo-fi videos — which ranged from puppet versions of the band to someone dancing in a bear mask and poncho — were posted on YouTube and many copies of the album included a bonus DVD.

And perhaps no one has taken more advantage of the freedom of the Internet than R. Kelly, whose absurd and expansive Trapped in the Closet series is ideal for the Web (though it has also run on cable TV).

None of the aforementioned videos will wow you with special effects or giant yacht parties, but they are all refreshingly unconventional.

“The new aesthetic is that it’s very low-budget, lo-fi, very do-it-yourself, not at all dedicated to the old style of music video which was always bigger and louder and more explosions and more money,” says Saul Austerlitz, author of Money for Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes.

“This is more a punk-rock esthetic,” he adds. “It’s very exciting.”

Applebaum wouldn’t disclose the budget for Umbrella, but said he voluntarily did the video for free. Like many music video directors, he’s increasingly making most of his income through commercial work.

With budgets slashed, being a music director doesn’t pay like it once did — which could threaten music videos’ status as a breeding ground for directing talent. Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Romanek and Fincher are just a handful of video directors who have gone on to become acclaimed filmmakers.

And for a languishing industry, turning the page on one of its most successful promotional tools would be a mistake, says producer Merjos.

“In the end, even if you spend a lot on it, a video is a cheap way to get a band out there,” says Merjos. “There have been groups that have built their whole record sales on videos, not touring.

“You’ve got to put a face on an act.”

Apple's Special Event Today : New Ipod Touch!

// September 5th, 2007 // Comments Off // Technology

Well, as rumored Apple has overhauled all their ipods. The funniest one was nick-named “Fatty” because of the width and how it fits in your hand… Engadget has been covering the event in detail so check them out for pics and coverage.

Here’s a quick peak at the new ipod touch.. this is the big announcement for today. Especially for those of us who refuse to go to cingular/at&t for a phone.

The ipod touch is 8mm thick, a bit thinner than the iphone but looks just like an iphone… It has Wi-Fi built in, a safari browser and the youtube viewer. Basically an iphone without the phone… The battery life is “supposed” to have 22 hours of audio play and 5 hours of video. The price point is $299 for 8 gigs and $399 for 16 gigs. Shipping this month.

Ipod Touch

ipod touch 2

ipod touch 3

ipod touch4

 

Photos and info from Engadget

Football Season Has Officially Begun

// September 3rd, 2007 // Comments Off // life

Football season is here! It’s been a long 8 months, but it’s time….

Clemson Tiger Football

Go Tigers.