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My Archives: March 2005

Monday, March 21, 2005

Star Wars Revelations...
Posted by Loren @ 06:33 PM PST
I have a news alert set for PayPal and sometimes I get the damnedest stories. A Star Wars fan, his family, and friends devoted every single day of the last three years to create Star Wars Revelations, a fan film of epic proportions. (It was flagged because part of their funding came from PayPal donations.)

The news story convinced me to take a look at the trailer. The special effects are pretty amazing, a solid testament to what can be done with technology these days. The characters and dialogue do sound a little off -- as if they weren't professionally recorded. I am curious about it though and what other fan films have been developed.

On a different note, perhaps the funniest story I've ever gotten (or entry in my news alert) was this.

Since I was at work, I never did click on that last link.


Monday, March 14, 2005

Status Report
Posted by CKL @ 09:05 PM PST
I've been married for about 52 hours now.
Feels pretty good.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

E-mail subject of the week
Posted by CKL @ 07:25 PM PST
"Subject: Beatboxing & Vocal Percussion at the Jewish Music Festival

"... Ranging from 15th Century Sephardic music to Hip Hop Shabbat, we're covering the range of Jewish music and music by Jewish performers throughout the ages ..."

-- from the ba-acappella mailing list


Friday, March 4, 2005

Returning to Deadwood
Posted by CKL @ 09:21 AM PST
' If you don't like to hear the word "[cock]sucker" some 5,000 times an episode, don't watch... In "Deadwood," they use 20 words when five would be fine. And if those 20 don't get the point across, they say "[cock]sucker." '
-- "'Deadwood' and right-wing blowhards," Tim Goodman, SF Chronicle

In related news, the documentary Gunner Palace, about American soldiers in Iraq, has received a PG-13 rating from the MPAA despite including more than 30, count 'em, 30 utterances of the word "fuck."

It's a brilliant strategy for effecting cultural change: insert minor instances of subversive phenomenon into mainstream propaganda, I mean, entertainment. Like romantic comedies with homosexual supporting characters. Pretty soon, everybody's okay with the gays. Genius, I tell you! Genius!

I need to get more sleep.


Letterman vs. Rather
Posted by Loren @ 12:28 AM PST
Interesting. When talk show hosts interview their guests, they are usually entirely in control of the dynamic. Some talk show hosts will belittle their guests (typically shock jocks who are a waste of airwaves), most won't, but regardless, they're the ones driving the direction of the conversation, making the audience laugh or feel sad, caoxing stories out of their guests or taking over the conversation for a joke. They are the ones that seem more at ease. More than once, I've seen a guest nervous, even movie stars and politicians. Maybe because they feel their promotion of their movie or themselves depends on how Letterman treats them.

Tonight was the first time I saw the opposite. Letterman had Dan Rather on, and Letterman is actually stuttering and having a hard time choosing his words. It's not that Rather is particularly forceful, but I get the clear sense that Letterman has so much respect for Rather that he's the one that feels nervous. It's little things -- not just the stuttering:

* Letterman isn't joking as much as usual. All the dialogue is very serious. Even if one didn't understand English, you could still sense that this dialogue is different than most interviews.

* Letterman's language is different, more sophisticated.

* Rather is garnering the biggest laughs with sparing, short, dry jokes.

* Letterman's questions are less pointed. They are more open-ended such that it allows Rather to guide the conversation however he wishes.

And Rather had some great things to say. In '68, he was covering the Democratic Convention. Control over the Convention was very tight because the Vietnam War had created tumultous times. Delegates were required to stay in their seats. One delegate got up from their seat in violation of the order and security moved in to forcefully take the delegate off the floor. As they were hauling the delegate out, Rather moved towards the action to report on the situation. Security did NOT want the press to investigate so they punched Rather and knocked him down.

Letterman asked if the same thing happened today, would the journalist have litigated. And Rather said he wasn't sure if press these days would even _investigate_ the incident, if they would move toward that action; that there's this fear today that if you don't play ball, your access to those in power will be cut off. It's not something we haven't heard before about the US press these days, but that sentiment typically comes from more fringe elements.

It consequently became a very different interview. I'm not sure it was fun for everyone but it was a great change and interesting to watch.


Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Black Flag
Posted by CKL @ 09:30 AM PST
"[T]he Broadcast Flag isn't really a deterrent against piracy so much as a deterrent against the big consumer electronics companies losing market share to little guys with big ideas. As long as it's illegal for people like [MythTV lead developer Isaac] Richards to tinker around with HD components, nobody will ever invent something better than TiVo or Media Player."
-- Annalee Newitz, "Build your TV!", SF Bay Guardian

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Additional content copyright © 2005 by Loren A. Cheng