Tag Archives: video

Werner Herzog is Everywhere

Herzog as drawn on the Boondocks

The only way Herzog was going to be animated.

Some months ago, a friend sent me a book, Herzog on Herzog. It’s a fine book, Herzog is an interesting man with many interesting stories and thought processes. Having not heard much of him before receiving the book, I did a bit of research. I personally sought out a few of his films (less remarkable than the man, sadly), watched him eat his own shoe and get shot during an interview. And I thought that was that.

But no. Herzog is too persistent. There has definitely been a marked increase in allusions to Herzog’s work (especially Fitzcarraldo and the ship over the mountain story), and strong possibilities of references in a webcomic (gasp). More convincingly, I was referred to this short film about the environment, strongly narrated by Herzog. And now, the season premiere of The Boondocks’s third season is portrayed as a Herzog documentary, featuring the man himself.

So I’m just observing that there’s a Herzog resurgence, which is good, because he’s interesting. He is single-minded in an endearing way and, while his life is a bit of a museum piece for me, I think it’s all very charming.

Hit and Run: Avatar

It’s Fern Gully plus Dances with Wolves plus Halo (for the space marines). Yes, even in 3D, not much monumental other than the cost and the advertising effort. You would think with a multi-hundred-million dollar budget they could afford a custom font, or at least a nicer font than Papyrus (which was dead the day they invented ecards).

Obviously I don’t speak for the masses; 83% on Rotten Tomatoes and a ton of Facebook statuses indicate that people are pretty satisfied. Put simply, I spend too much time with computers to be impressed by this middling, overmarketed effort. What excites my brain and arpeggios on my heartstrings are personal efforts, far ahead of their time, like this one, Vol Libre.

Not the Last Airbender

Vol Libre plus Papyrus = Cooler than Avatar

Made in 1980 by one man, the current Chief Scientist of Pixar, but then just a faceless engineer for Boeing working on a passion in his spare time. Talk about unobtainium.

SILT: Stuff I Learned Today

This is my dad wearing a pair of shades I found.

This is my dad wearing a pair of shades I found.

This is the first in an indefinite series of catch-all blogposts. Now that school is up and my schedule is more regular I think I can make a few more minutes a day to log some findings and post some links. Also, I’m thinking that by presenting a more innocuous task (a short, general post, as opposed to a long, targeted one), I might find myself sowing the seeds of expanded posts.

Also, sometimes I feel silly calling up friends and telling them each individually about cool junk when I know they’re all subscribed to this baby right here. Content will range from factoids to news to mini-rants to Linux and beyond. So:

  • Peep Show Season 6 has started. I might need to cache up the whole season before I start, it’s such dark goodness. 9.5/10 on imdb with 5,200+ votes? Intense.
  • I found out a way for a Linux machine to dynamically get a hostname on a Microsoft Active Directory network that isn’t set up to update hostnames via DHCP. This was ridiculously hard and I strongly suggest you contact me if you ever run into this issue. It involves kerberos and this one-off script.
  • I’m watching Kate Humble’s 4-part series of Middle Eastern travel, The Frankincense Trail. It’s from the BBC and it’s not too bad. It probably is a bit too frankincense-centric to be honest, what with her hauling her own little load of frankincense everywhere and asking everyone whether their people use or used frankincense. The most interesting tidbit I picked up is that apparently some parts if not all of Israel enforce some crazy Shabbat rules. For instance, you can’t use (technically be directly involved in the use of) anything electrical. You can ride an elevator, but you can’t press the buttons (it stops on all floors). You can open a fridge and grab something, but you have to tape the light sensor down beforehand. All this because it’s the ‘day of rest’. I’m wondering how universally this stuff is implemented.
  • Last, but certainly not least, Oyama is back up at the makuro.org address. My $30 Time Warner lets me upload at like 300kb/s so please be courteous and only max out my connection at night or during the workday. Also, I’ll know who my true friends are based on who logs in first (only my true friends use RSS and FTP).

Well, here’s hoping that wasn’t too painful, because I’m planning on learning a lot of stuff and posting about it. And then, this series of blog posts, like its namesake (silt), will provide me and my offspring a fertile farmland on which to raise agricultural goods.

t&e update

Those who know me know that I’m a big fan of Tim and Eric: bigbig fan. Most recently, their Awesome Show Great Job! has delivered three seasons of fantastic shows. However, what are they up to besides the show, and more importantly, what should one watch when the show’s not airing new episodes?

Well, lately there have been a few videos for the watching. Eric has apparently been working on a few music videos, so let me get you some links:

T&E aren’t in all of them, in fact I think they’re only in the Ben Folds one. And I think that one might even have the real Ben Folds. Regardless, the style is priceless and very recognizable (Phantom Planet has a uke and a tiny cat [vs hat]). There are even some parts that could be claimed as overly similar, but you be the judge.  Also, the Polite Dance Song one has been out for ages, but it had to be included.

And if you haven’t caught the Vodka Movie miniseries featuring Zach Galifianakis, here’s another compilation for youyouyouyou

Enjoy, but hide your chubs!

Update: I couldn’t get enough of this either, but it doesn’t really fit anywhere.

On authority; documentaries

Between the last post and this one, I realized why I disdain my blog. Personally, I generally only happen upon blogs that are

  1. Not blogs at all.
  2. Webcomic-driven
  3. Authorities on a subject

Because this blog is 1) most certainly a blog, 2) presently lacking in humour and artistic skill and 3) written by someone who has no delusions of claims to authority, I realized that I probably wouldn’t find much merit in my own blog. That said, I’m going to strive to produce information on what I know/do best. At the end of winter break, I can comfortably say that my command over media (motion pictures and the like), is about as authoritative as I can afford to make it.

So now, without further ado, a brief review of some highly excellent and engaging documentaries. (with imdb links and ratings)

  1. Checkpoint (2003) – 8.1 – A must-watch documentary. No narration, just footage of the interactions between Palestinians and Israeli border police. There is very little violence, no deaths or serious injury, just a very sharp and clear image of a dynamic not seen anywhere else in the world. It humanizes not just the Palestinian plight, but also the Israeli soldiers, many of them younger than I.
  2. White Light, Black Rain (2007) – 8.4 – The film gives a very balanced and human-centered view of the 1945 Hiroshima/Nagasaki nuclear bombings. It steers clear of making too many assertions about modern-day implications, which makes it a very independent source, and it’s about time; this is likely the last generation that will have access to the human side that the film documents so well. All that said, if you’re not particularly interested in the subject, you may find some parts a bit tedious.
  3. Ralph Nader – An Unreasonable Man (2006) – 7.9  – I love me some Ralph Nader; I hate me some status quo. I found the film extremely informative and at times, even fun. It covers Nader biographically, with a particular focus on his role in the 2000 elections, where many claim he robbed Gore and stuck us with Bush.
  4. BBC Horizon – Allergy Planet – Not actually a feature-length documentary, it was probably the best BBC Horizon I’ve seen yet. Traditional, familiar style, but very engaging and interesting. Short and sweet.
  5. Walmart – The High Cost of Low Price (2005) – 6.9 – Another interesting one, but it lagged at times. The conclusion is predictable, but it might give you some perspective as to the degree. Also, it did go the extra mile by going to China and Bangladesh, which I appreciated.
  6. Who Killed the Electric Car? (2006) – 7.7 – Very nice presentation, and despite the seemingly small scope, pretty engaging. Most of the United States was and probably still is unaware of just how advanced the electric car had gotten by 1996. We probably still think it impractical, I mean, otherwise why would we only have hybrids? California had sweet electric cars because they had some interesting laws, then the car companies got the laws repealed, and then the car companies recalled the perfectly fine cars and destroyed them. If you’re into the environment and haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend.
  7. Maxed Out: Our Credit (2006) – 7.4 – This film will probably disgust you, exactly the reason why you have to see it. For anyone curious as to how banks actually make money, prepare for the enlightenment. It’s not from you and me, payin’ our bills, reading the fine print, no, but rather the people who do it all wrong. The higher the risk the better. Note the date, note the financial crisis, note that you can get a better bead on what’s going on by simply watching a movie. (Short version: the less chance someone has of paying back a loan, the higher the risk for the lender. The higher the risk, the higher the rate. Rate = return. These high-rate loans were sold on markets for beaucoup bucks and never got paid back, duh.) I surmise that the low rating was because it had a couple draggy parts and because the whole issue had very few manifestations in the economy at the time.
  8. Confessions of a Superhero (2007) – 7.3 – Semi-interesting portraits of some people who dress up and act like superheroes (with whom tourists may take pictures) in Hollywood. Not tremendously informative, but you’ll see some characters for sure.

I watched some documentaries this last semester that were pretty good and the ones I would recommend there are Breaking the Silence – Truth and Lies in the War On Terror, The War on Democracy, and Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden. I’ve only got one documentary left to watch, and that’s Taxi to the Dark Side. I’ve heard great things.