Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Japanese Office

This is just to make my wife laugh, she is more a fan of the show than me, but I also enjoy it...

Other people can look at the clip too I guess. : )

By the way, allow me to whip out my crystal ball regarding the office...

Don't read this if you don't want to hear my prediction of how the office series will/should end.

A few nights ago I told Katy that I had come up with the perfect way to do a series finale of the office. I think when it has all run its course, and maybe as a central plot point Jim and Pam have still not gotten engaged because of several missed opportunities and misunderstandings. Pam should have a bit of a breakdown in an interview, just talk about how she thought things were supposed to be "different" (Jim could have also had an emotive interview as well) and the "camera" will start to move like its trying to decide what to do.

Then suddenly, not able to hold his tongue any longer Ricky Gervais steps out from behind the camera revealing himself to have been the director of the documentary the whole time. He consoles her and once he lets slip a bit of confidential information that he thinks will make her feel better... he starts to lose all objectivity and starts spill the beans about lots of things to everyone because he can't stand to see them hurting.

The "director" could then take on a role of the great and powerful OZ, showing them how much they really care for each other by running the tapes that they have never seen. Like explaining to Pam that Jim intended to propose to her on the night of Toby's party and showing her all the lengths that he went through to make it perfect. I can even see a perfect comedic moment were he could be scrubbing the tape back and fourth at the point he is almost certain Jim was about to ask.

We could also start seeing more of the camera crew in a more loose style as a "character itself" bringing quite a bit of comic relief about how they have been doing this over the years and why... it might be funny to hear Ricky Gervais mention off handedly that he used to manage an office before getting into doing these documentaries.

If I am in anyway right... please give me a dollar for being psychic. : )

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Clearly Bowie is Evil

I have a friend (who shall remain nameless) who has never seen the venture Brothers, so I collected a few of the clips involving fun music references for him. The show is full of stuff like this and I highly recommend it for anyone who is of a certain age and likes having their pop culture served a bit blacken and on a skewer.

It's clear to me that these guys that created the show are big fans of Johnny Quest, David Bowie, comics and cartoons and everything that gets parodied on the show in general... but like a lot of us, they just can't help being smart asses... I like that.


The new season begins in June if I am not mistaken.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Selectively Utopian (Or... Small Content Creators Are The Redshirts Of The 21st Century)

I finally figured it out... People that share files and have this moral attitude that they are doing nothing wrong are not just misguided or using the technology to justify a arguably questionable act, They are just Star Trek fans!

They are trying to force the first steps of a Roddenberrien vision of the future where there is no money, there is no work other than what you do to better yourself and here is the good part... Technology has advanced to the point were all basic human needs are met at zero cost. 

Relevant Utopian Points of a Star Trek future:
  1. Energy is essentially free
  2. Food can be "replicated" using the free energy
  3. Living space and shelter is free (somehow)
  4. People create art because they can, not out of a need to earn a living from their talent
  5. All human knowledge, entertainment and information, is freely accessible to anyone
So, we have the beginnings of point 5... without any of the other points to support it! What I think people who share files are basically doing is putting the IDEA of intangible media having no monetary value before the needs of the real people that still depend on the income from that content!

The file Sharing community is fond of repeating mantra like "Information wants to be free" well I think I have coined the perfect response by saying that what they are are proposing is a "Selective Utopia"!

They want certain obtainable elements of a futuristic utopia without other supporting elements that make it all plausible to a working society, and they are willing to sacrifice the well being and rights of other human beings in order to get those first elements.

They want the parts of the "perfect future" that they can have now even if that will cause hardship and difficulty to the very people trying to create interesting, unique, or simply new content for them because the other parts of the "perfect human utopia" are impossible with our current technology. I honestly think some of them understand this but instead of being sympathetic or trying to find a interim solution, it is simpler to blame large media companies and and ignore the very existence of small, independent content creators because that causes a moral dilemma for them.

In other words, they see us as expendable, much like a poor guy who made the poor choice to wear red on the day he got picked to beam down with the lading party. Problem is, I don't think this will be a reversible trend and I don't think these attitudes will be "undone" once the war with "big media" is over. How will new art be supported in the future? Good question. Its one that doesn't seem to be getting asked... let alone answered.

I have never had a problem with file sharing really,  I do have a problem with the growing lack of respect for the talent of the people that create content. It seems to get worse as time goes by. I am fearful that recorded music, photography, programing and other inherently digital skills will just be seen as valueless in the future, and thats sickening if you understand how much effort can go into becoming good at those things. I don't want file sharing to end... I just want it to grow with a healthy respect for the content being shared and to find ways to support new and unique artist... I realize this is likely a pipe dream at this point but I keep trying.

There is apparently a movement going on to grow file sharing, to legitimize it. The idea being that if enough people do it then it become the legal standard. That makes sense, I am betting it will happen in some form, but I am afraid the people pushing for this haven't really thought it out, at least from the viewpoint of a small independent content creator.

If enough people buy into the idea that they should not have to pay for intangible media, many people stand to loose their livelihood. This goes for photographers, musicians, illustrators, programers, writers, filmmakers, painters, anyone whose work starts out or can eventually be converted into ones and zeroes. 

Sometimes its only a portion of their livelihood, but it could be the difference between being able to continue to create art or not being able to continue to afford the costs associated with it. In any case, taking income away from hard working people that may need it to survive or to continue making the art that others enjoy.

We are not just talking about huge record labels and movie studios here... The same technology that has given rise to file sharing has also empowered artist and programers worldwide to take charge of their own destiny.

The concept of "Pro" and "amateur" is as outdated as the CD and SoundWarehouse. If a person can make $1000 a year off their photography then by god they should $1000 a year off if and don't let ANYONE call them a hobbyist. When was the last time any of us had a job for more than 2-5 years? If Someone can make music for the rest of their life and sell a few thousand downloads a year then its likely that music may end up being the single highest grossing job they will ever have regardless if they never have a "HIT".

That is of course if people continue to apply any value to recorded music...

We may all just end up living in a selectively utopian world and such a person just ends up working extra shifts at the Sack-N-Save because they can't yet heat their house with free power or replicate free food to feed their kids.

Art takes time and effort, it has value. If it is eventually delivered in a digital form... that dosen't mater! If you make a copy you still are receiving the VALUE when you enjoy the work that was done. If the Content creator offers a digital file for free. GREAT! I do, and I will continue to. But if you are asked to support the art by paying a licence... well, until the time that we have invented dilithium reactors, food replicators, and transporters, you have an obligation, especially to independent content creators.

You could say that the way the file sharing community is currently implementing the progression of the march towards their Selective Utopia, Will end up possibly  permanently denying any hope of a Artists Utopia in the foreseeable future.

(Note about the art: The image of The Mona Lisa in a red Star Trek uniform that you see at the top of this post was created especially for this article. I then uploaded it in its basic form to see if it would spread across the internet and to see for myself how often I was credited, linked to, or to see how often the watermark was removed. "Red Shirt Mona Lisa" or "Star Trek Mona Lisa" has traveled far and wide, so far, I haven't come across anyone selling T-shirts made from the art or anything like that, and mostly I have been happy that people leave the watermark. Every once and a while someone will link back to the original or even spends a few moments to find me and ask before using it... So it has been interesting. And, trust me the fact that it is a modest manipulation of one of the worlds most famous paintings is not lost on me. I don't usually do mash-ups, I strive to be as original as I can. So, I find the fact that it has caught on amusing, hopefully others do also).

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Yeah, People Are Awesome

Sorry to invoke Judge Judy but the "star" of this clip is just to good to pass up regardless of the pop culture setting...

I came across this remarkable bit of daytime television justice because I was reading about how useless Ebay has become and how overrun it is with scammers. The article told a story about a man that had listed his laptop 5 times. The first time it didn't sell because he didn't pay the $20 extra dollars to get a "featured" listing and it was always so deeply buried that it was never higher than 6 pages deep in searches for identical items.

After that he posted it 3 more times and had people bid outrageous sums for it but insist he ship it to Nigeria, he would get spoofed emails from "PayPal" saying that due to Nigerian law he had to send them a shipping receipt before they could release the funds.

On the 5th atempt to sell the laptop he stated in his listing that he would not ship to Nigeria and this caused his account to be shut down presumably by an automated system looking for keywords.

This entire time he tried several time to contact Ebay and only got automated email responses that had nothing to do with the problems he was having. Even after his account was shut down he could not talk to a person on the phone or by email. The online "Live chat" proved to be a bot.

So the asylum is unmanned and the inmates are running amok... use Ebay at your own peril.

The Light Coming From The Window

I can see this light, shining through this glass bowl sitting on my countertop. The light is coming into the window, streaming down the hall, shining through the glass bowl and eventually finding its way to my eye.

That’s what light does. It shines through, it penetrates. We don’t always see the light penetrating the things around us, they seem opaque, they seem to obscure the light. But that’s only because the light is so slow and methodical and operating on different scale of time, it’s always shining always penetrating always flowing through even the darkest and most heavy of objects. Given enough time light would erode through everything like an explosion, an instant flash of destruction that takes forever. Light is an eruption, a ripping corruption of the solid.

The light coming through the window, streaming down the hall, shining through the glass bowl and eventually finding its way to my eye is killing me.

Silly Light, you are too slow...