Friday, October 26, 2007

Brush/Paste 2.0

My dentist said if I had to choose between brushing my teeth and flossing, I should go with the latter. Evidently, brushing is more of a broad, easy gesture towards clean teeth while flossing is the surgical strike that demonstrates true enamel commitment. I've even heard that regular flossing adds an average of 3 years to your life (googling that fact yields little results) but whether or not this is true, it does keep the post-cleaning spaces between your teeth wide open.

Whatever. Fuck flossing. I'm doing it. I'm not enjoying it.

Tooth-brushing? Another story. That, I'm enjoying immensely. It turns out there is a trick to immensely enjoying your tooth-brushing experience:

Buy more toothpaste!

Lest you think I am a plant for the toothpaste companies of America, I do not recommend any one brand. Also, if you can steal it, I think you should steal it. I'm merely suggesting, by whatever means, having more toothpaste on hand.

When I moved into my new apartment, I went out to the neighborhood Rite-Aid and bought a healthy-looking toothpaste. The baking soda component was fine for a week or two but then it started to taste like baking soda. Brushing became a chore. I don't like it when something I have to do in the morning and revisit later in the evening is a drag. Sadly, I was raised with the mindset that you buy one tube of toothpaste at a time and use it all the way up until it's done. So week after week, I would use this crappy, pasty toothpaste and silently bemoan the fact that it wasn't even halfway done. It felt like months went by before I started rolling up the bottom.

Around this time, I realized something I tend to realize from time to time but then promptly forget: I am a grown-up. And as a card-carrying member in the grown-up social club, I am allowed to do whatever the eff I want. Like... buy lots of different flavors of toothpaste (healthy and non-healthy) and stack them in an artistically pleasing manner between my two black sinks (I have a funny apartment).
Not only will you appreciate the bevy of possibilities awaiting you every morning and every night, you will spend no more money than you would have anyway. You're merely front-loading your toothpaste budget.

If you can haggle, maybe you're even in a position to ask for a wholesale price.

Anyway, I threw out that original Baking soda toothpaste and visited my neighborhood deli to buy 4 new tubes of toothpaste. One Aquafresh. One Crest. And two Colgates - whitening and mint. Since then I've accumulated three more tubes and have them all in heavy rotation. My favorite is the Pepsodent which has always been a very pleasant flavor. But I most appreciate the bright pink/purple color of the candy-flavored toothpaste my girlfriend bought me. It is not tubed shaped and is almost definitely as bad for my teeth as rinsing with Dr. Pepper might be - despite its micro-whitening strips.

Achieve a more fulfilling brushing experience by allowing yourself constant choice. Exert control over the mundane.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How Blood Looks in HD

Do these vampires know that their apartment was once a synagogue? It's true.


I haven't ever cheated at Battleship. But I am proud to say that I've turned over a letter in Scrabble to provide an extra blank square. I got caught but it was worth it for the madness I caused a self-described "unbeatable" Scrabble champion.


These are the first movies we made in which Matt Elkind employed his P2 HD camera. While youtube doesn't do the quality justice, you are indeed looking at HD (compressed four times over to arrive at the pixelated version you see before you), a form of shooting I was initially skeptical would be practical for our uses. For an embracer and sometimes craver of new technologies, I am sometimes short-sighted. I think my fear was that HD could only be watched on HD televisions with HD DVD players and how would we even produce an HDCAM version of the final product to dub to DVD.

In fact, HD just really means you're dealing with bigger, higher quality quicktimes. Even everything being 16:9 didn't end up being a stopping point. You can just reformat in Final Cut to make it letterboxed and any aspect ratio you want. The lesson here is that with simple editing software and some form of compression (I like quicktime pro though at work we use sorenson squeeze), you can make something as awe-inspiring as HD any size and shape you want. I was thinking in film to video terms when really, you just have to expand your video mindset. It is no longer about the transfer of media, it is about the export. There are different HDs if you want to make it complicated for yourself (720p, 1080i, 1080p, etc) but they're just describing different sizes/presentations of HD video.

My question is: which presentation is the best for shooting? Which one is the best for watching? A lot of people have different opinions. Is the world better for having different options or should we have a standard by now? Maybe the deal is just that we DO have options. Nothing to do but choose what's more convenient until one format asserts itself.

Meanwhile, I'm just happy to see HD accurately capture a vampire hunter's bloody tampon in a martini glass.

Episodes 3 and 4 coming VERY SOON.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

You gotta fight for your (copy)right to party!

There are a lot of copyright puns to be made when it comes to addressing the subject of intellectual property vs. the internet.

- It's time to (copy)right the ship!
- (copy)Right on!
- They'll read you the (copy)riot (pronounced without the uh) act!

I could go on and the puns could get worse but I think you might be better served by checking out a very thoughtful post written by Internet Celebrity Rafi Kam over at where he brings up a lot of current issues regarding copywritten material, ownership and "stealing" information (and makes a good copyright pun himself).

How does copyright and free information affect you? Well, I will tell you how it affects me. Two days ago, The Internets Celebrities posted a video to youtube we shot at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors show of a Tribe Called Quest tribute performance. The video was pulled by Youtube who cited Viacom as the concerned entity being infringed upon.

That same day, I downloaded Radiohead's new album for free.

Then, I watched a podcast of the Brian Lehrer show at CUNY TV where he and a small panel spent 10 minutes dissecting and talking about the Internets Celebrities movie, Bodega - which his TV show had lifted from youtube without telling us. I found out Brian Lehrer was going to be looking at our video when my dad, listening to his show on NPR, heard him say he'd be looking at "a funny movie about Bronx Bodegas" on his CUNY show that evening.

So information is getting exchanged all over the place. What do we owe each other to take that information and use/read/enjoy/comment on/watch it? I'm not sure but I think the first step is chastising Viacom for just trying to shut down the conversation.

Meanwhile, the (copy)right move is reading Rafi's post.

He also wrote an excellent post about editing.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Thomas Nozkowski on a hike

My parents and I often go hiking in the Catskills. My mom sat this one out I think because she was working on her own artwork. So while she was working on it, my dad and I got to talking about it.

As my dad says midway through the video, this isn't a set-up. This is an actual rustic junkyard with a lot of old farm/construction equipment. When you go hiking as much as my dad does, you stumble across strange outposts where people either once lived or once worked. It's not always clear why they abandoned their equipment so far from a road but a lot of the time, what I think of as a path in the woods was once a busy thoroughfare. This particular junkyard which I find much more pleasant if not a bit spookier than most junkyards, is on the way to Hidden Pond, a swimmable lake through yonder upstate New York woods.