Archive for the ‘Stuff I Like’ Category

Pomplamoose has done it again

February 22, 2014 Leave a comment

A couple years ago, I used Pomplamoose as an example of how to survive in today’s music industry. I posted a link to their unique “videosong” — a cover of Beyonce’s “Put a Ring On It.” They were innovating through multiple mediums, using a quirky, musically sound take on a popular song and doing something creative with the video. I became a fan of Pomplamoose when I first saw that video. They have made many, many more since. What makes them so notable to me, is that they made me sit up and take notice. And that’s what you need in the music business today.

Most recently, they have released two videos using extremely creative and innovative techniques. Everyone is familiar with the mash-up by now. You take two songs and mash them together. Pomplamoose does that in these two videos, but rather than mixing the original recordings together, they do their own unique arrangements of these songs mashing the elements together. They create a beautiful musical fruit salad of sweet deliciousness. On top of this, they throw on top, a nice cool dollop of cool whip in the form of their video.

In these two videos in particular, they are using a single projector to throw images onto white foam boards and other three-dimensional surfaces. It sounds dull, but you really need to see it to get it. It’s brilliant. Watch both videos. They’re short. They’re worth your time. Share them and buy their tracks on iTunes. This sort of creativity deserves to be rewarded.

Categories: Music, Stuff I Like

The Mighty Hipstamatic

December 28, 2010 Leave a comment

IMG_0389Photography is a bit of hobby I’ve picked up recently. Or again, I suppose. My mother has always been into photography and in my early years she did a good job of teaching me a lot of what she knew about it. I was a photographer for my high school yearbook all four years of school (chief photographer my senior year). It fell off shortly after and the near photo silence continued into recent years. Unfortunately, these were the years in which I traveled the U.S. and Europe extensively, and I therefore don’t have a crazy photographic record of my journeys like I wish I did. Plus photography was expensive.

Now, in the midst of the digital revolution, we don’t need to pay for film, and cameras are everywhere. We have small digital cameras, we have cell phone cameras and iPods have cameras in them these days, too. The digital revolution has also borne the magical Photoshop, which makes all our dreams come true. Furthermore, we have applications for our handheld mobile devices that filter and process our photos on the fly and on the go to make them look killer.

My favorite vintage camera iPhone app, which I am a little obsessed with right now is Hipstamatic. This app simulates the old analog Hipstamatic camera, of which only a few were made. You can switch out different lenses for different effects as well as different types of film and different flashes. It creates some stunningly intriguing images. See the gallery of some of my recent Hipstamatic shots below.

Some say these apps are “cheating.” I do not, and here’s why; I am making creative decisions in lining up the shots. Just like an adjustable camera, you have to make choices. You have to set the ISO, white balance, shutter speed and aperture in an adjustable. In the case of the Hipstamatic app, I am choosing which lens goes well with which film and which flash, or no flash. Plus, it is the shooter’s eye lining up the shot itself. A photographer friend of mine once told me, “It is never the equipment, only the photographer’s eye.”

Well-said. And applicable here.

The Hipstamatic retails for $1.99 at the iTunes App Store and has add-ons available for purchase within the app.

Categories: Stuff I Like


November 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Tasty brains tempt the undead in "28 Days Later"

I have grown partial to zombies in the past few years. I never really got into the earlier, dare I say “campy” classic zombie movies. As a kid they terrified me. I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen Night of the Living Dead. If I did, it was when I was little and I’ve since blocked it out. I did see some other zombie flicks as I got older. The Resident Evil movies were okay, I guess. That’s probably mostly because I’ve had a crush on Milla Jovovich since first seeing her on screen in 1997’s The Fifth Element. The Resident Evil movies were cheesy, but fun, I suppose. The video games were better. At least the one title I played was fun. Furthermore, I encountered some zombies in the original Xbox’s version of the classic 3-D shooter, Wolfenstein. There’s something pretty satisfying about delivering unforgiving head shots to Nazi zombies, I’ve got to say. Not to mention the sound effects. Disgustingly accurate, I assume. The Halloween episode of the NBC comedy Community also featured the cast turning into zombies. Luckily, it was just a brief food-poisoning-type illness that subsided when their fevers broke. There has been a surge of zombies in literature as well. The Zombie Survival Guide has sold well, as well as Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. I haven’t read it yet, but my wife thought it was great. Stephen King tackled zombies as well in his recent novel, Cell, in which everyone using a cell phone at the moment in which a certain “pulse” hits becomes a murderous cannibal, or zombie.

Photo by bowwowmeowmeow, featured in City Pages

Photo by bowwowmeowmeow, featured in City Pages

Zombies are alive and well in popular night life as well. There is a Zombie Prom back in the town I used to live in, and the Twin Cities host an annual pub crawl. People love zombies, it seems. There’s apparently something relatable about mindless, stumbling, undead cannibals.

My current interest in zombies came first from the film 28 Days Later and its sequel 28 Weeks Later. In this British film, a twenty-something dude wakes up in a deserted hospital and emerges into a completely deserted London. He wanders around London aimlessly, wearing a hospital gown, looking for water and food and picking up money he finds in the street in the financial district. Oh, but then he’s set upon by zombies. Long story short, he meets up with a small band of survivors that are fighting against the undead. In this universe, being a zombie is a result of a viral illness referred to as “The Rage.” The zombies aren’t sluggish and slow. They can run pretty damn fast, but their coordination is horrible. And they are hungry. If they bite you, it’s all over. If you get their blood in your mouth, or in your eye, you’re infected. It’s scary stuff. But this concept of the zombie-ism being viral is very intriguing to me. It makes sense, it makes it relatable, and it makes it scary. You think that this could conceivably happen to you if such a horrible disease came into existence.

The zombie genre was greatly enriched recently with the premiere of the new AMC television series, The Walking Dead, based on the graphic novel series of the same name. I don’t know if this is actually the first ever zombie television series, but it’s the first one I’m aware of. And it is awesome. If you like zombies, you must see this show. The writing is solid, the directing and cinematography are crazy good, and the makeup design and application is phenomenal. A small-town Georgia sheriff awakes from a coma to find his hometown in shambles and zombies walking about. He sets out to find his wife and son and ends up in Atlanta, which is overrun by the walking dead. It’s incredible. Watch the sneak peek of the season below.

What do you think? What are your favorite zombie flicks? What is it about the modern zombie that you do or don’t like? Will you be following the adventures of our hero on The Walking Dead?

Categories: Stuff I Like

Time Travel

October 29, 2010 Leave a comment

I have always been a big geek when it comes to the concept of time travel. What wouldn’t I give, you know? I was so obsessed with the idea of actually seeing the past that I couldn’t get enough history books — preferably ones with old photographs, or descriptive of everyday life. I went so far as to actually earn a bachelor’s degree in history, but it’s obviously still no substitute for actually walking among the unsuspecting people of a different era.

This past Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of the release of the first Back to the Future film. At one time in my life I had the entire trilogy memorized. I was the source of stupid party games in which people would say one line and I could accurately repeat the entire scene. (This was especially fun when someone gave me the line, “Hey, McFly!” as it appears numerous times throughout the series… I would perform all of them.) The time travel genre is one that I cannot get enough of. Bill & Ted, The Butterfly Effect, The Terminator, The Time Traveler’s Wife (the book, not the movie). The list goes on and on.

This guy Håkan Nordkvist, claims to have traveled through time by crawling under his sink. He supposedly emerged into a sunny afternoon where he met his seventy-year-old self waiting for him. Luckily, he had his mobile phone with him that he could use to capture some quick video of himself with himself. Stunning to say the say least. Video evidence of younger self and older self standing side by side. Most significant, however, is that the two (one?) men show their identical tattoo. Proof, right? Maybe not. It’s fun, but I have a hard time believing that this man has a trans-dimensional wormhole located in the cupboard beneath his leaky sink. Whenever I see claims like this, as much as I love them, I immediately try to debunk them.

The sun flares off the camera in such a way that you cannot clearly see the faces. The men’s noses are strikingly similar, but their heads are different shapes and slightly different sizes. Furthermore, tattoos fade over forty years, yet both seem to be equally bold. Some quick research online suggests that this may have been a sneaky ad campaign by a Swedish insurance company. It is suggested by forum posters that there are other similar television commercials out there that say their pensions are so good that they lived long enough to meet their younger selves through time travel and tell them how great their insurance plans are. That seems more likely to me than Mr. Nordkvist actually finding a park of the future in his plumbing.

This guy claims that he discovered a time traveler in a piece of footage on a remastered Charlie Chaplin bonus feature. He talks way too much, repeating himself too many times, making sure to tell us over and over that he screen this to a room of one hundred people and that NOBODY could come up with an explanation for what is being seen. An older woman enters the frame (the man in the film above claims that could be a man in drag…) and she is seen talking on a mobile phone. Of course, this footage was shot in 1928, before mobile phones were even a glimmer in the old man’s eye. The man in this video insists that she is carrying a thin, black device and she is talking into it. Nobody that he has shown it to has come up with a decent explanation.

As much as I would love this to be true, I can’t believe it. The thin, black device that he thinks he sees is obviously (to me) a shadow. You can see the direction the sun is shining and she’s got her hand up, which is casting a shadow. Well, what is she doing then? Hearing aids were a new thing back then and this woman is elderly. I see it as supremely probably that she is adjusting a hearing device. Alternately, she could just be cupping her ear to hear something better. A bird song perhaps. No one wants proof of time travel more than me. This guy seemed a little eager to believe this one. People see what they want to see. I wonder what a room of 100 people forty years ago would have seen.

Finally, this video is pretty fun. I wouldn’t look too deep into it, but it’s cool.

P.S. If you’re interested in time travel hoaxes (?), look up the postings of John Titor on these here internets.

Categories: Stuff I Like