Feb 092013

It’s Short Film Friday on a Saturday!  Okay, okay…cut me some slack.  I’ve been busy.

Don’t worry, though.  This week’s installment is a doozy!  It’s probably been floating around for a while and you may have seen it, but it’s new to me.  (See above note re: being busy).  And anyways, even if you have seen it in the past, it’s worth seeing again.

From almost the first short, you can tell it’s a Disney production.  It just has that old-school Disney vibe to it.  The characters look like they belong in 101 Dalmations or something — gorgeous, gorgeous animation.  The choice to present this short film in black and white is interesting, too.  It lends itself to both the setting of the story, but again hearkens back to the Disney films of old.  Online comments make a big deal about the lighting, but come on…it’s animation, not a set.  Commenting on the beautiful animation takes into account the lighting by the very nature of the way it was produced.

At the same time, however, there is a CGI element.  Instead of detracting from the classical animation, it adds to it.  No animator myself, I suspect the CGI makes possible some of the shots that would have been in the past nothing short of nightmarish to produce.

Finally, yes.  Yes, this is a saccharine-sweet story.  I know, I know.  But we’re closing in on Valentine’s Day and although I don’t buy into the Hallmark holiday itself, I wanted to let all of you know just how much I love you.

Paperman is my gift to you.  Enjoy.

Feb 012013

In the past, Short Film Friday has been heavy on the whimsical and light on the emotional.  This short film takes a small step to rectify that situation.  Foxy and the Weight of the World is the story of a small dog sharing her master’s last moments of life.

This short film is but one of the many that debuted at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  Because my rare posts on Absurd Intellectual apparently do not provide me with an all-expenses paid trip to Utah, I was unable to attend this year’s festival.  If you are like me, you too will appreciate the fact that the Sundance Institute has a YouTube channel where many of the short films from this year have been posted.  If you like short films, you’ll want to check it out.

The mechanic’s machete

 Posted by on 23 September 2012  Modern Life
Sep 232012

This is either:

a) the most bad-ass hex wrench ever
b) the most useful machete ever

Or it’s probably both.

According to the folks at ApocalypsEV, it “combines the Zombie fighting power of a machete with the utility of a set of wrenches.”

Can’t argue with that. And they’ve helpfully provided the file you need for cutting your own with either a laser or plasma cutter.

Apocalypse Mechanics Machete.

Aug 212012

We got a box of these delivered to the office today. Awake Chocolate is new, but I can already tell they are going to be successful. I’m jealous that they thought of this before I did.

You can follow them on Twitter and Facebook, if you like, which proves they are social media savvy.

But they also sent a box of them to my small-city newspaper newsroom.

We don’t get as much swag as we used to, in the newspaper business. The cartons of CDs, which hung on for a long time, have dwindled to  trickle. For advertisers with samples looking for coverage, things like mommy blogs are the way to go now.

So why did Awake Chocolate choose the newsroom model?

Well, from their website, it sounds like they blanketed the country — so newspapers are probably  just one of the target markets.

But guess what? Newspaper newsrooms, for all their faults, are still filled with dedicated wordsmiths. And journalists are some of the most dedicated social media types out there. They are addicted to Twitter and have been long-term bloggers. If you’re looking for viral coverage — and have a product you are confident will cut through the chatter — journalists are always on the lookout for the next neat link. And us sensitive journo types love it when someone still appreciates us.

It doesn’t hurt that a chocolate bar with caffeine in it is laser-focused to hit our weak spots: candy and coffee.

The only thing that could possibly top it is my favourite ever newspaper swag — a bottle of Grant’s Whisky, shipped directly to me.

Contact me to arrange for delivery of future swag.

So — how’s the chocolate? Well, in a word: Good.

It’s not the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted, but it’s far from the worst, too. I would rate it a solid A-minus consumer chocolate — maybe a bit better than a Cadbury, but not quite as good as a Lindt. There are some tiny crunchy bits, which I presumed were solid caffeine. The chocolate was not too sweet, and was pretty soft, but maybe because it had been delivered on a 32C day. It had the company’s cool owl logo embossed on it.

Would buy again! (For the first time.) In fact, I pocketed an additional two bars from the box of 12 that the company sent. Hey — newsroom culture is cutthroat. Elbows out, journos!

(Cross-posted to my actual newspaper blog, because it’s appropriate.)

Somebodies That I Used to Know

 Posted by on 13 August 2012  Modern Life, Music
Aug 132012

If you’ve been on the Internet, or listened to the radio in the last several months, you have certainly heard (and seen) Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” It was probably the biggest song in recent memory. If you haven’t heard it you live under a rock.

I would argue that the song didn’t really get popular until it was covered by the band Walk the Earth and singer Sarah Blackwood — all playing one guitar. That video went viral, and it catapulted the song into popularity. In fact, the radio station I listen to at work only played the cover for a long time.

Fast forward a couple of months, and the song is everywhere. Everyone and their dog has done a cover. It’s been so saturated, that a song I used to love (hah) has grown tiresome.

Now, we have the cover to end all covers. Gotye himself compiled covers of his song found on Youtube, and made the ultimate remix:

He said this in the Youtube description:

Reluctant as I am to add to the mountain of interpretations of Somebody That I Used To Know seemingly taking over their own area of the internet, I couldn’t resist the massive remixability that such a large, varied yet connected bundle of source material offered.

And what he created is beautiful and fascinating. I also love an artist with a healthy dose of self awareness.

(via: everywhere on the Internet)

Aug 062012

The Olympics are generally pretty exciting and fun to watch, but if all commentary was this entertaining, I may watch it even more. Plus, it would help make the drier sports (I’m looking at you Equestrian) a little more enjoyable.

Update: The video has been removed because the IOC are a bag of dicks!


Death Wish coffee

 Posted by on 2 August 2012  Modern Life
Aug 022012

I’m intrigued (and salivating) after reading this review of Death Wish coffee, which advertises “200% more caffeine”:

My expectations for Death Wish Coffee were low. I figured the strongest coffee in the world would also be the most bitter and harsh coffee in the world. I assumed it would taste like over-cooked, stale coffee and I was expecting a repulsive after taste. Well, my expectations couldn’t have been more wrong….

The fullness of the liquid was the first thing to hit my tongue. It was deep, rich and seemed to have layers of intensity …. complex notes (almost nutty tasting) smoothly slid down my throat, waking me up instantly. The consistency seemed to be creamy even though it was completely unadulterated.

Two cups of Death Wish Coffee got me through the whole day.

Review: Death Wish Coffee Company | the Dropp.

Now, doesn’t that sound great? At $20 a pound, it’s mildly pricey, but not way out of the realm of, say, Starbucks roasts.

Here’s their official website. Sadly, they say that they don’t ship outside the U.S. But PayPal appears to let you order to Canada (although the $20 shipping doubles the cost of the coffee).

(Oh, a pet peeve: They advertise “200% more caffeine”. But they also say “200% the amount of caffeine.” Those are two different things: Do they mean double the caffeine? Or triple?)

Aug 012012

I propose that this “song” (maybe better stated as “this autotune project”) by John D. Boswell and featuring Mr. Rogers would make an ideal theme song for Absurd Intellectual.

Seriously.  It works on so many levels.

Aug 012012

Since I work for a newspaper that’s conveniently positioned right near the centre of the Trans-Canada Highway, every summer we are swamped with people passing through on a coast-to-coast journey, looking for a little publicity as the ride, glide, run, walk or bounce a few thousand kilometres for charity or some other cause.

It was big news when Terry Fox attempted it. And the hundreds (thousands?) of emulators since all seem to expect the same level of media attention. Sadly, when there is a new cross-country marathoner passing through each and every weekday, though, it’s no longer news.

(BREAKING! Sun to rise again this morning!)

So, you get people trying to capture attention by doing wacky things — they’ll dress as a medieval knight, for example.

Or, as one recent passer-through did, don a Guy Fawkes mask and a VERY revealing blue skin-suit — go here to see a picture of his balls-to-the-wall outfit.

That same guy posted this video to his website — a cautionary tale: