January 16, 2009

Lethal's third day

...was incredible! We launched up to #6 on the Lifestyle Category list and have stayed there (we're now at #5). The posting at TUAW ended up increasing our downloads 16 times over, and now that we're high on the list, people keep downloading it. It's all very exciting.

So exciting that I spent much of the day trying to write but following people's reactions to the app and things like that. I have to finish this script today, people!!!

Now back to writiting.... page 63.

Posted by jason on 01:05 PM | Comments (3)

January 15, 2009

LETHAL gets it's first review

And from a pretty heavy hitter in the Apple world, TUAW.com (or The Unofficial Apple Weblog.

Overall it's very positive, and it explains what the app does very well. This will hopefully be big for us. It's very exciting to get mentions like this, but also very vulnerable, because you run the risk of being skewered.

I love that he says it's fun and educational.

I don't like that he says whether it's worth $1.99 is "up to you." It's less than a cup of coffee, people! :-)
I wish he had mentioned the sleek graphics and awesome chart animations....
But I can't get too greedy, this is a great review and overview and if I read it I would download the app.

Posted by jason on 11:25 AM | Comments (5)

January 13, 2009

LETHAL, the iPhone application

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I'm really excited to tell you that the iPhone application I've been working on with Elany Arts is now for sale on iTunes. It tells you all the dangers that could be around you, anything potentially lethal. Animals, Crimes, Diseases, Disasters. Fun stuff like that.

Here's the site.

Posted by jason on 11:43 AM | Comments (9)

January 10, 2009

Disneyland has Undercover Security Guards!?

Yesterday Drew, Jessica, and Jenna went to Disneyland with us. Drew had forgotten that he had a Leatherman tool in his pocket. While we were in line for security, another security guard approached him. She spotted the top of the Leatherman.

She told him he had to return the Leatherman to the car. Bear in mind that we had just waited 15 minutes for the tram to get to the entrance of Disneyland, so this was not an attractive option.

Instead, we thought Drew could just slyly walk out to Downtown Disney and stow the tool in a potted plant. We'd pick it up on the way out, and everything would be fine.

We executed this brilliant plan to perfection. I took Ollie and we created a distraction by looking at the kettle corn vendor's wares. Drew, with a well-honed subterfuge normally reserved for agents with codes like 007 and "Balloon," hid the Leatherman across from the La Brea Bakery. Now we were ready to enter the Happiest Place on Earth unarmed.

Until this dowdy looking woman wearing a baseball cap and a unamused scowl approached Drew and showed him a badge. A badge with a large Disney Script "D" on it.

"Sir, there are kids here, you cannot put your knife there." Drew got the smack down from Disney's crack security team, and in the following conversation he was treated with all the dignity and trust as would be afforded to unlawful combatants at Gitmo. In the end, the lady took his tool. Both physically and metaphorically.

On our way into the park, ANOTHER security guard sternly asked Drew, "Did you get everything squared away?" Apparently Drew is on some Disney watch list. Drew answered that yes, he did.

Posted by jason on 02:35 PM | Comments (25)

November 30, 2008

Amazing Stories

Lately, Netflix added the television show Amazing Stories to their instant viewing selection. This was a show from 1985, created by Stephen Spielberg, and it's very unusual in that every episode is a brand new, unrelated story. Kind of like The Twilight Zone, but without a common host. They are fanciful stories, and they really are mostly a ton of fun. I loved this show when I was younger, and now it's fun because my kids really enjoy it, too. It reminds me of the days when the whole family would watch a show together, and it could be equally appealing to adults and children alike. Pixar is really one of the only companies that tries to do this anymore.

Does anyone remember this show?

Posted by jason on 07:36 PM | Comments (12)

September 17, 2008

Updates on what I'm working on...

Electric Chainsaw Short
I've gotten a rough cut together, and it's in pretty great shape. It looks incredible. The performances are amazing, and it's got a great rhythm... lots of laughs throughout. What still needs to be done is getting the footage color / light corrected and also getting the sound professionally worked on. The good news is that the people who are watching the rough - pros who don't have to take the job, let alone be nice about it, are really responding well to the short. Pretty exciting.

Here are some screen grabs:
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Romantic Comedy Script
This is the first romantic comedy I've written, and I'm having a pretty good time doing it. I've finished 15 pages so far, and it's surprisingly easy so far... Of course I have been thinking about these characters and this story for about 4 months now, so that makes a good deal of sense. I like these characters, and I think they're fun and funny, so that's showing.

Comedy Pilot
This is a more recent project, but one I have to figure out to audition for a class this upcoming quarter. It's a fun idea, I can't give many specifics for now, but I'm liking it.

iPhone applications
In Hollywood, as with almost anything, you have a lot more power in any given situation if you can walk away from the table. So I'm always trying to figure out ways where, at least financially, I am so secure that money isn't a lead consideration when it comes to determining if a project is right.

Along those lines, myself and a group of my friends have a number of ideas for little program for the iPhone. These can be big moneymakers, once woman who put together a crossword puzzle application is making thousands a week. We have some really strong ideas, but no actually programming skills on the iPhone. So I've been talking to people who do have these skills from all over the world (including India!) to find a developer to hire to make our ideas into reality. It's been fun, and I think in a month or two we'll have some for sale on iTunes. Pretty cool.

Posted by jason on 12:18 PM | Comments (11)

August 26, 2008

Victory!

I have to admit, I had very little faith in the Elany I soccer squad in the playoffs. But my Philadelphia sports fan pessimism was dashed and broken today as we wrangled up a convincing 6-2 victory over a team we lost 5-2 against just two weeks ago. And this was the championship game, no less. This is the first championship I've won since Newark Parks and Rec Basketball in the 6th Grade. And even though it was just the Y league... it felt good.

Oh yeah, and I scored the last goal. The proverbial nail in the coffin. The goal that let the celebrations truly begin and made an opposing player exclaim "oh, I just don't know what we can do!" in disgust. Yes, you let me score on you, and it makes you question your very purpose on the soccer field, apparently.

The goal I scored on was quite nice actually. Kris Copeland really sprints down the sideline after the ball, it's a sight to behold. He did that, and knowing that he can really cross the ball, I gave it my all to get down in front of the net, sprinting from mid field. He perfectly placed it in front of the goal and in one motion a karate kicked it out of the air past the keeper into the net. What a way to end the season!

Special props honestly go to our whole team, our defense played amazingly well against a very potent offense. Nathan Palkovitz played a striker who had scored 8 goals in the last two weeks one on one and held him without one score. The brothers Schneider were an inspiration to the whole team, and their aggressive play and excellent shooting set the tone early. Each defense player deserves special mention, but I'm tired and it's late. And Joe scored two goals too. But he always does that these days.

Posted by jason on 12:59 AM | Comments (7)

August 01, 2008

Garfield Minus Garfield

Jessica made a comment about me drawing Garfield and Odie all the time when I was younger (I really did) and how good the drawings were (they really were) and it reminded me to share something I think is really really cool, clever, and funny.

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It's called Garfield Minus Garfield, and the basic idea is to just erase Garfield the cat and anything he might say out of the comic strip and it becomes this sad, lonely strip about a sad, lonely man. Check it out, it's brilliant.

Posted by jason on 02:39 AM | Comments (1)

July 16, 2008

Passing on the Indiana Jones Legacy

I'm proud to say that I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark with Lyric and Ollie today and they both loved it. (Of course I covered their eyes for the scary parts, what kind of parent do you take me for!?) And watching this movie again only made me more disappointed with the new one. But let us not talk of such things, let's focus on the magic that is this film.

It's simple, it's engaging, it's got a huge number of incredible sequences (opening in south america with the collapsing temple, the closing stone door, the big stone; the Well of Soulds with the snakes and the fire and the discovery of the ark; the amazing car chase and fight and stunts with Indy going under the car and back around; and of course the final judgement where the Nazis got their just desserts). After seeing Lawrence of Arabia, I realized anew how much of the film was a tribute to that great movie. (Seriously, watch them back to back, Spielberg was just having a great time with it.)

Question: Does Harrison Ford have the greatest slate of films of any actor? Think about it: Star Wars trilogy, Indy movies, Blade Runner... Who's better? Brando? Tom Hanks? Give me some names here, people.

Posted by jason on 02:42 AM | Comments (3)

July 15, 2008

What a soccer game

Collin, Shane, and I are playing on the Elany Arts 1 outdoor soccer team (yes, there are 2 Elany Arts teams.) Today we played a very good team comprised of YMCA employees. They had skills. So much so that they jumped ahead to a very quick 3-0 lead which honestly could have been 5-0 because they hit the top post twice.

In a outdoor soccer game, that's basically the end of the game. No one comes back from 3-0, at least that I've ever seen.

Fortunately, we finally got something going when Joe Kempista, striker extraordinaire, got us on the board. We took that 3-1 score into the half. Early in the 2nd half, Kris Copeland worked his magic by somehow intimidating their keeper into dropping the ball so Kris could get behind him and kick it into the net. 3-2.

Now is probably a good time to mention that outdoor soccer is EXHAUSTING. Seriously, I play basketball a couple times a week for an hour to two hours a pop, and work out on an elliptical for 45 minutes a day, but this is way more tiring. At one point I was playing halfback, which basically means you're responsible for the whole field, and you have no excuse to be doing anything but sprinting around like a madman.

So I was so tired, as you would imagine. But late in game, a halfback kicked the ball towards the offensive end of the field. I was chasing it. I had a Ben Kenobi moment where coach Christian Dunn said to me "Just charge that goal and their fullbacks, good things will happen Jason." So I reached down deep and found the energy inside me to make a total sprint after the ball. Their defender tried to take the ball and clear it, but I met it at just the right moment and directed it right to the waiting foot of striker extraordinaire Joe Kempista, and next thing we knew the ball hit the back of the net, and the score was knotted up at 3-3.

There was still work to be done, and of course another goal needed from Joe Kempista. This time he was tripped up as he let the ball go, but didn't let his impending collision with the ground keep him from thrusting a fist of celebration into the air as the winning goal slipped by the befuddled keeper.

We still had to hold on for another 5 minutes, but at this point we were simply controlling the ball and retaining possession. It was an amazing turnaround, and just a great game all around.

Now I'm tired. But happy.

PS.

Random updates:

* I no longer have a beard, but I will certainly be re-growing one periodically.
* It's really hot here. It would be nice if our convertible VW had AC. I felt like I was getting baked today. (not the drug kind of baked.)
* My kids are awesome at swimming now. It's really cool to watch.
* I left my laptop at home like an idiot, so I had to have a friend bail me out by getting into my place and fedexing it to me. What is my problem sometimes?
* I really have to start writing more pages for my latest screenplay soon!

Posted by jason on 12:28 AM | Comments (5)

May 19, 2008

So proud

Well, it appears that my fascination and fear of aliens is a genetic trait that has been passed on to my son. Look at the drawing he brought home from school last week.

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The way he phrases what his aliens do is actually quite poetic.

And terrifying!

Posted by jason on 01:22 PM | Comments (5)

Jessica's Blog

My sister (and Drew's wife) is now keeping a blog about her life on the road. (Which, fortunately for me, has brought her to LA for 7 weeks starting yesterday.)

Check it out. She PROMISES to update it regularly.

Posted by jason on 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2008

Congrats to my sister, Jessica

She got a good review in Variety (yes, VARIETY)!
You can read it here.

Or here:

Clyde Alves kicks things off with an energetic "I Can Do That"; Emily Fletcher stops the show early with her magnetic take on statuesque Sheila, the over-the-top femme fatale; Kevin Santos breaks our hearts as shy, gay Paul; Jessica Latshaw finds the perfect quirky pitch as tone-deaf Kristine; Natalie Hall turns up the heat in "Dance: Ten; Looks: Three"; and Nikki Snelson bares her soul as Cassie, the out-of-work former lead and onetime girlfriend of the director. And then there's that glorious finish!

Posted by jason on 07:44 PM | Comments (2)

May 12, 2008

Collin in Africa

In the interest of keeping everyone up to date with things bandmembers are doing... check out Collin and Lindsay's weblog about the work they're doing in Africa right now.

Pretty awesome stuff.

Posted by jason on 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2008

the life of lyric

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My daughter is now officially a blogger. She asked for a website today, so we set one up together. It's password protected for her own safety, so if you're interested in reading it, send me an email and I'll get you some access (if I know you're not a creepy predator.)

Posted by jason on 11:25 PM | Comments (4)

February 29, 2008

Grudge Map (part 3)

Yes, they finally posted a write up of the game. I have to say, props to Jade Tree on their coverage of these games. Elany Arts could use this level of coverage!

Posted by jason on 01:10 AM | Comments (1)

February 18, 2008

Check it out

When you click through to the next page, highlight the text for a special surprise.
Update: Nevermind it wasn't working. So just go ahead and try it yourself on the link below.

It's a fancy trick that works in Safari and Firefox and uses a special CSS property.

If you want to try it yourself, go here.

Actually what I was trying to do might work here.

Posted by jason on 02:03 AM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2008

Abandoned Creepiness

Wow, the zoo doesn't compare to an abandoned hospital in east LA. I should check this place out.

Posted by jason on 12:03 AM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2008

Exactly

This sums it up perfectly.

Patriots' Season Perfect for Rest of Nation.

Posted by jason on 02:07 PM | Comments (1)

February 04, 2008

UNBEATABLE

Hmmmm.... for some reason they aren't selling this on Amazon anymore.

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So funny that it says "Unbeatable" and not just "Undefeated." I'm so glad they lost. I like being spared having to hear people talking about the "Best Team Ever."

Posted by jason on 06:18 PM | Comments (3)

January 15, 2008

No Country for Old Men

I'm taking a fantastic class on the structure of memorable films, and we have to watch a specific film every other week and write a paper about it. This past week I had to watch the Coen Brother's No Country for Old Men, and write a paper answering "Whose movie is it?" and "What is it about?"

What is it about is not the plot... it's the message of the story, the overall theme. Anyway, if you haven't seen this film, you probably should (assuming you're old enough to watch a fairly violent film). It's an excellently made film, even though "What it's about" is very much a depressing notion.

If you've seen it and want my take on the film, read on...

No Country for Old Men is Sheriff Bell’s movie, about how relentless evil can eventually wear people down to the point where they just give up. The Coen brothers very carefully work against genre expectations to make this point in a dramatically memorable manner.

The film opens and closes with Bell ruminating about lawmen of old, and how they might be able to handle the evil of today. He sounds tired, and confused, and over- matched. These bookends indicate that while Moss appears to be the protagonist for much of the film, this is indeed Bell’s story. (This deduction is also fairly easy to make once Moss’s death doesn’t even warrant a on camera scene, and he’s barely mentioned the rest of the film.)

So this is Bell’s journey. Or rather, as the Coen Brothers would intend, his lack of one. That they intend to make this point is so obvious because they set the film up for this perfect genre moment. Husband murdered by a terribly evil man, wife crying, good sheriff, noticeably upset... How would 99% of films treat the third act of this film? Well, the doggedly persistent sheriff would promise the wronged bride, “I’m gonna get this sumbitch.” And then he would proceed to, against all odds, get the sumbitch.
What does Bell – who, make no mistake, is a good man – do? He has coffee with another old lawman, where they complain about the loss of manners and decency. He talks to his old wheelchair bound uncle, who says things have aways been bad, and age just wear a man down.

Does he make sure the wife is properly protected against the evil still at large? No. And she’s killed, because evil keeps it promises. Instead he retires to his ranch, haunted by dreams of his father, and expectations he can never live up to.

The antagonist, Chigurh, is the one who overcomes all the obstacles to attain his goals, while the protoganist wears down and gives up. We don’t even get a climax where they confront each other. People looking forward to the violent end where all the blood spilled would finally be avenged instead got a lengthy meditation on dreams and fathers from a man too tired to do anything but meditate on dreams and fathers.

Because this is no longer a country for old men, or good men, or young men for that matter.

Poor Moss showed us he was a good guy! He couldn’t sleep until he brought some water to the dying Mexican. He’s not supposed to die. At least, not without having some kind of redemptive value. Like saving his wife, perhaps. But no, his death only hastens his wife demise. But no, because this is the kind of evil that breaks the rules, it’s so persistent.

Just about the only people who can flourish in this country are those that have bad intentions. Chigurh even escaped the normal Coen Brother comeuppance, surviving the vicious car crash and eluding the police. What are the good people to do in the face of this?

And a scene late in the film, where Bell’s wheelchair bound uncle tells us that it’s not getting worse, things have always been this bad, that’s where it’s clear... despite what the movies will tell you, in the classic struggle of good versus evil, evil will win. Because evil knows that eventually it’ll wear you down.

And the only thing a good man can do is retreat from it, and hope it passes him by.

Posted by jason on 11:27 PM | Comments (6)

January 01, 2008

A worthless essay

Sadly, a perfect storm of random trends has decimated what was once a sweet, emotional society. These trends started back in the day and only grew stronger in this post-9/11 climate where torture is the new national defense, the surge seems to be working, and waterboarding is an acceptable interrogation tactic.

But it's in our everyday life, set against the backdrop of mundane existence, where these changes in our national character really pop. Where we once were concerned with ways to give back to the community, we're now more obsessed with watching the latest Webinar telling us how to find the best deals on organic anything on Black Friday, so we can be consumers through and through while still feeling charitable for being natural and helping the environment.

But I don't mean to throw our culture under the bus. No amount of wordsmithing can really change the fact that it is what it is. And unfortunately, I've authored a lot of these attitudes in my own life.

if this essay seemed tired and cliched, it's because it relied heavily on 2007's List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness.

Posted by jason on 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2007

I'm going to see a Great White Shark

A dream is going to come true. I will come face to face with a Great White Shark. Ever since I saw Jaws (and I was way too young when I saw it!), I've had a love fear adoration relationship with these fantastic beasts. Every time I went to the Baltimore Aquarium I would run to the shark area. I still remember the day I realized... sadly... that none of these sharks I was seeing were much more dangerous than a rainbow trout. I wanted a thrill.

Then I was told that a Great White Shark could never even BE in an aquarium. Oh, no, now this was the worst. So I've always thought about chartering a boat or taking one of those photographic trips where they put you in shark cages.

But now I find out... It was a lie. One aquarium in California DOES, on occassion keep a Great White Shark in captivity! They have one now, in fact. And we're going next week.

Posted by jason on 10:46 PM | Comments (8)

December 04, 2007

Hey There Delilah

I knew the song was catchy... maybe even too catchy.

But I had no idea the inspiration was so creepy

Next time you're singing along, know that you're singing a total stalker song!

Posted by jason on 03:34 PM | Comments (4)

November 28, 2007

Another Masterpiece from my daughter

Posted by jason on 02:07 PM | Comments (2)

October 20, 2007

Radiohead Pioneers "Name your price" sale of record

As everyone knows, Radiohead is a very cool and very influential band. They have just recently released a new album called "In Rainbows" and they are doing something very cool with it.

They have released it EXCLUSIVELY online. Not just online like from itunes etc... As of now it is available only through a site dedicated to the album. The site is called inrainbows.com.

The interesting thing about how they are selling the album is as follows. You pay whatever you want. No joke, no strings attached. You name your price, pay for it, and download it right away. If you want to pay £1.00, you can. If you want to pay £10.00 you can. You pay what you think it is worth. No minimum, no maximum (as far as I know).

It is an interesting experiment. The thinking behind it is that their fans who have known them forever and who would buy the album at a normal store will probably just pay what they would pay for any other album. The no minimum price opens doors to a whole new fan base though. If you think "I don't really know them, but I would pay $1.00 for a new album just to try it out," you can do that. Hopefully you will like it, then you will buy other albums from them, shirts, concert tickets etc... They are basically giving away their music in hopes of winning new fans. It is a pretty innovative way of introducing a new album and gaining new fans.

Kudos to radiohead for their creativity. I hope this works out well for them.

In case you are wondering, the album is a great album. You should buy it. If you have your doubts, just pay what you are willing to pay to explore a new band. Try it!!!

Posted by collin on 02:19 PM | Comments (11)

September 27, 2007

No violence, no lies, and no secrets.

Moving to a place where you don't know anyone is a very difficult experience, even if it's just you.

If you have kids, it's about 100 times more difficult.

Honestly, I can handle not having friends for a time. I know that I have a ton of people who love me. And I'm pretty confident that I can make friends too.

But when your daughter says that the only friends she has are "a lizard and a hummingbird," well, that's hard to hear. And when you have to walk your son and daughter into a brand new school, with brand new kids, and see them warily eye a bunch of little strangers... borderline unbearable.

Lyric does not "go with the flow," she's like Darby in that regard. While Ollie and I both enjoy transition, they dread it. Going to a new schooling situation is traumatic for her. It's unfair, because so far in her life she's 8 and she's had 4 different schooling situations already. That's a lot to deal with. I went to the same school from Kindergarten to graduation, so I can't even relate.

But I am getting a taste of what it's like to hope people like you, to not always have a "default" person you can sit with and be comfortable with. And if it's even a little bit upsetting for me, for a girl with Lyric's temperament, it must be a tragedy.

So Lyric goes to school, and on her first day a little girl says "I'm so glad you're here, I want to be your friend." It was kind of a miracle, and very nice! But then when she comes home, she gets nervous again about the next day, and gets so panicked about it that by the next morning she's dreading going at all. Darby picks up on and perhaps even magnifies this fear in her, so I volunteer to walk her to school.

(By the way, being able to walk to school is so Little House on the Prairie, and really kind of awesome)

I tell Lyric I'll sit in her class with her for a little bit. She's asking for all day. She's teary. This is hard. She just doesn't feel comfortable with anyone yet, she says. Look, I say... these girls really like you... they are your friends. Yes, I'm their friend, she says... but they're not MY friends.

We go to PE. She's working hard not to cry. Crying for Lyric in front of people is a nightmare, she grows so ashamed of it. I don't really know why, but it makes her angry at herself, because she says she's too old to cry. We tell her that you're never too old to cry. She says we're wrong.

And now the tears are there. Poor girl. I give her a hug, tell her she's strong, she'll be alright. This is so difficult.

Her friends are at the front of the assigned position line. She's the last one because she was added to the class last. At the end of her line, trying not to cry, hoping no one sees, just wanting to go home, real home on the east coast. Fly back, be with the people where she's their friend and they're her friends.

Like little angels, her friends see her, get out of the place in line and join her. One of them says, "It's ok Lyric, I was the same way my first days. I cried everyday. It gets better. it really does. Can we help you."

It was kind of amazing. By the time PE is over, Lyric is still not completely comfortable, but she's also not gutted by the thought of me leaving.

Crisis averted? Not quite!

Nobody is perfect, and actually one of the little girls who had befriended her turns out to have some little 2nd grade issues. She's possessive. She tells crazy stories and insists they are true. She scares Lyric, and won't let her play with anyone else. She yells at Lyric for not showing up to play Uno, even though she never said anything about playing Uno at recess. She insists she did.

Everyone in the class seems to like this girl, and Lyric is afraid if she stands up for herself that she'll be a pariah (not her word, she's precocious but not that much), that everyone will turn against her.

It all comes to a disheartening, too-much-drama-for-second-grade crescendo when Lyric tries to run and play with some of the other girls and her friend grabs her too tight. Her nails draw blood. Darby once fainted donated blood, and nearly faints today if we talk about it. Lyric is definitely her daughter. This is too much.

We talk to Lyric about boundaries, about telling people what they can and can't do, about healthy relationships, and being strong enough to tell people how they should treat you. All the while we wonder why in the world someone in the second grade would have to deal with! I try to suggest that perhaps it will really build character. Oh, me, the optimist.

Darby rallies the troops, and informs Lyric that over 50 people are praying for her. She names them all, one by one. It wasn't an exaggeration. No word on whether the hummingbird and lizards were among the faithful. Lyric likes that over 50 people are praying for her.

We keep trying to tell Lyric what to say to her friend. She doesn't like any of our options, shaking her head at each one, saying no that won't work.

She wants to use her words.

So she goes to school. And we wait. She's in school from 8.15 to 3. That's a long time to wait. It's not like we can check online how things are going. Instead we hope things are going well while fearing they're going badly.

She gets home. Today actually we've invited a non-bullying friend over for a playdate. They have a fantastic time, and Lyric seems to be in good spirits. They dance and sing karaoke on the Wii. They bake cookies. Lots of laughter and smiles.

Because of the friend's presence, Darby and I still can't ask how things went until 6.30!

And Lyric tells us.

"When we were going out to recess, I said. 'Can I tell you something? I need to have a friendship with no violence, no lies, and no secrets. Let's start doing that.'"

And the girl said, ok. And Lyric said from then on things were fine. And she's not scared of her anymore.

Wow.

Posted by jason on 02:26 PM | Comments (9)

July 09, 2007

The Mystery of the Sceeching Wedding-Goer

As many of you know, I film weddings with Elany Arts. I'm going through the footage from one of the recent ones we taped, and I found this completely random, strange moment. The sound hasn't been doctored in ANY way, I swear. It looks like the woman accidentally screeches, then grows embarrassed about it as everyone looks in her direction.

What is going on here? Any ideas?

Click Here for the Video

Posted by jason on 11:24 AM | Comments (11)

June 29, 2007

A couple of awesome things...

Just wanted to comment on a couple of things that have really impressed me lately. I highly recommend both of them.

Ratatouille
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Pixar is so impressive. what other movie studio has yet to make a movie that isn't awesome? And now, this latest clever, brilliant film continues that tradition. I don't want to give much away, but once again they show why they are the kings of animated films. The story, characters, and writing are all top-notch, and their computer artistry has gotten so advanced that it honestly looks... hand-drawn again. This film deserves to outgross Spiderman 3.

Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition
Figure 6 - Resident Evil 4 - monster.jpg

This is a re-release of a 2 year old game, with new and improved Wii controls (not so much motion controlled as using the aiming and targeting functions of the controller). I never played it before. And wow, it's just incredible. Has anyone out there ever played this game? I really want to talk about it with people. There are just so many incredible parts, one breathless battle after another.

Warning. It's terrifying!

Great story, amazing mood. If you have a Wii, it's $30, and that makes it a no-brainer. Best non-Nintendo game I've ever played. (I haven't beaten it yet, I'm on stage 3-2. I can't play for too long because I break out in a cold sweat). No lie.

Posted by jason on 10:56 PM | Comments (7)

June 04, 2007

And now, a commercial for OnStar

You know the scenario. The rain is pouring. You run to your car with your wife and kids, trying to somehow avoid getting soaked.

Only to notice that the doors are locked, and the keys are in the ignition.

What do you do? Shell out the $150 and wait for Pop A Lock?

Well, in my case, all I had to do was call OnStar, a free service with my GM car, and tell them, "Hi, I locked my keys in the car." Within a minute, they somehow magically FROM SPACE unlocked it. And we were on our way.

Pretty awesome, right?

Posted by jason on 09:13 PM | Comments (4)

May 03, 2007

The Robot

This is cool.

Maybe the world would be a better place if robots took over!

Posted by ian on 11:23 PM | Comments (4)

April 16, 2007

Which Hero are you?

Collin and I (at Elany Arts) just launched the redesigned site for the Blood Bank of Delmarva today, which was honestly a pretty huge job that took us a lot of time.

One of the fun things that we're proud of is a quiz which tells you which hero you are. Take it today and let us know who you are.

I was Ghandi. Which I guess is cool. But I would have liked someone a little... tougher or something.

Posted by jason on 05:34 PM | Comments (35)

April 03, 2007

When Animals Attack I can't stop laughing

I know that this shouldn't be so funny, but it really really is. Check out more here.

Posted by jason on 12:09 AM | Comments (4)

March 29, 2007

Young Explorers Society

I want to bring everyone's attention to a cool new site that some of our readers have put together. It's always updated with new art, music, and stories, and I've found it very interesting to check out on a regular basis.

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Posted by jason on 03:11 PM | Comments (5)

March 23, 2007

Home From South America

Lindsay and I recently returned from a very awesome trip. We spent a little over 2 weeks in South America. We visited Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile. We spent most of our time hiking in the mountains of southern Patagonia (Argentina and Chile). It was absolutely gorgeous. Here are a few pictures from the trip. Click on them to enlarge them.

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Mt. Fitz Roy

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Cerro Torre

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Romantic huh?

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Glacier Grey

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Torres Del Paine

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Getting some drinking water

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At the Top

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Sunrise on my birthday

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Boat worker

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Church in Puerto Natales, Chile

Posted by collin on 09:55 AM | Comments (8)

March 21, 2007

Do things ever bode badly?

The other day someone told me that something "didn't bode well." And it made me wonder. Does the word "bode" every get used when it isn't followed by the word "well." Do things bode badly? Can you ask, "How does it bode?"

Are there any other words that are only used in combination with other specific words? It's like "bode" is the "Q always needs a U" of the word world.

Word Nerds of the World Unite and help me out here.

Posted by jason on 01:59 PM | Comments (11)

March 12, 2007

You actually CAN make money. . .

Some of you might remember that Collin had gotten a lot of people's hopes up by telling us that you could get paid for donating blood. Unfortunately, those hopes were dashed as the Blood Bank told us that no one gets paid for anything.

Well, good news! You can make some money donating your plasma. Yes, the rumors are true. Only it's Biomat, USA, not the Blood Bank that will line your pockets with green.

Alas, more research reveals this letter from the FDA to Biomat. I don't know exactly what this letter is saying, but let's just say them mentioning HIV and needles and unsanitary conditions is enough to keep me at home and giving up my potential $200 a month.

Posted by jason on 04:53 PM | Comments (9)

March 01, 2007

Wicked the Musical is Amazing

I had heard good reports of the musical Wicked. But I hadn't really been dying to see it, to be honest. I thought it would be good, and I did want to see it. But my level of interest wasn't as high as it was in seeing Lion King, or Les Mis, or Chicago.

I have to say, it belongs in that same group. It's an incredible show. If you're going to be in NYC, stop by the theatre on 51st Street, because 2.5 hours before every show you can register for a lottery. The prize is front row tickets for $25. I didn't do that, mine were presents, and man were they great presents.

The show features incredible music, such a clever story, and fantastic performances. The show is touring and coming to Philadelphia in July. But honestly the performances of the people in NYC were so excellent, if you can see it there, you should. Especially Elphaba (the "wicked" witch), and Glinda the Good Witch. They were amazing performers.

I can't emphasis just how clever the story is, if you're at all familiar with the Wizard of Oz, you'll find the twists and turns of this "retelling" of the main characters' histories fascinating and fun.

wall-Elphaba-1024x768.jpgThis part was incredible.

Posted by jason on 07:47 PM | Comments (7)

February 17, 2007

Kids' Drawings Redrawn by Artists

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So what if artists took a bunch of kids' drawings and redrew them? Well, take it look, it's pretty awesome.

Posted by jason on 02:37 PM | Comments (5)

February 08, 2007

Threadless: Nude No More

It has been brought to our attention that a few good friends of The Look Machine have entered a tee-shirt design competition on the website threadless.com. This online shirt company accepts designs from anyone willing to submit and then the designs are put up for voting. The higher voted designs are selected and then printed. People can then buy those shirts and the designers win really awesome prizes.

Brett, Justin, and Paul (click their names to see their designs)have submitted designs and they are currently in the running. They would be greatly appreciative of anyone who votes for them. It only takes about 2 min to sign up, then people can vote. Obviously, they are hoping everyone gives them "I'd buy it and 5" because that is the top score.

You should really take the time to do this because threadless is an awesome company. They are supporting original artwork and doing cool stuff with it. They also print almost exclusively on American Apparel shirts which is really cool because this ensures that no sweatshop labor was used in the making of the garment.

Posted by collin on 01:48 PM | Comments (11)

February 06, 2007

Bambi on Ice

Lindsay and I just got back from a 4 day weekend in Disney world and it was really fun. I had never been before and I really enjoyed it. Great rides, great food, great times. I really loved Epcot and the international themes.

This post is actually not about Disney though. My recent trip simply inspired the title. Keep reading to find out what this post is really about. It is a true story.

We got back in from Florida last night and it was 22 degrees below freezing in philadelphia. That is COLD. Apparently it has been cold here in PA for the past several days. On my way to work this morning, everything was frozen. Even the creeks near my house were covered in ice. I love this cold weather and lindsay and I were enjoying all of the wintry views on our way to work.

As we drove across a bridge over the White Clay Creek, I looked to the right to take in the icy scenery and I saw something I have never seen in my life before. There, in the middle of the frozen creek, a deer was laying on the ice. I simply couldn't believe it, so i turned the car around and pulled off the road. I got out of my car and walked through the field for a closer look. Sure enough, a deer was laying sprawled out on the ice.

I was perplexed. As I got nearer, I realized that the deer was not simply enjoying a cool nap, it was stuck out there. One leg was through the ice and it had been unable to stand up on the slippery ice. It was clear that the deer had been there for quite some time.

I climbed down the bank and inched out on the ice to see if I could help the poor animal. It saw me and its eyes were filled with terror. Helplessly, it thrashed around on the ice bleeding and clearly unable to stand. It pulled its foot out of the hole, but was still not able to stand. With every attempt its hooves slipped on the ice and flew in every direction. Panicked, but exhausted, it gave up and laid back down, its sides heaving. It was heartbreaking to see an animal so completely helpless in such fear and pain.

I just didn't know what to do. Every time I tried to approach, it just freaked out. I was afraid that it would hurt itself even more if I stayed there. Even if I was able to get to it without the ice breaking, I didn't know if there was anything I could do.

Lindsay and I talked about what we could do and we came up with a plan. We could call a couple of friends of ours who know a lot about deer and see if we could enlist their help.

Jacob Altimus and Chuck Frishmouth are remodeling a bathroom at Jason's house near Newark (they do truly astounding remodeling work). They both know a lot about deer and they are really cool guys. I called them and told them about it. The 3 of us decided to take an early lunchbreak and go back to see what we could do for the deer.

When we arrived the deer was still lying there, barely moving, but alive. Chuck and Jacob looked at it and determined that, if we could get it off of the ice, it would probably live. It had relatively minor wounds and could heal if it was able to warm up, rest, and eat. Left alone though, it would surely die.

We got a rope from Jacob's truck and to tie it up. It was frightened and struggled at first, but we put a blanket over its head to calm it down (Chuck "the deer whisperer" knew to do this) This quieted it down enough for us to tie the rope around it.

Although the ice was thick enough to walk on, we had to be careful. It cracked loudly under us when Chuck and i got too close together. The thought of falling through the ice into a freezing creek and getting kicked in the head by a frightened deer was not a pleasant one. We slowly and carefully pulled the deer across the slick ice until we could stand on the bank and continued to pull it until we could reach it with our hands. We then picked the deer up, being careful to keep its head covered, and carried it up the steep bank into a field. We untied the rope and took the blanket off of its head.

The deer sprung back to life and tried to run away. At first its legs were not working properly. It fell to the ground shaking. It was probably hypothermic and exhausted from laying on the ice for so long. After a moment, it stood again and was more sure on its feet this time. It carefully made its way over to a hedge row where it could lay down in the sun. It was sheltered from the wind and in an area with grass and plenty of sunshine. With a little bit of time, it should be as good as new. Hopefully it will stay off of the ice from now on.

Posted by collin on 01:40 PM | Comments (19)

December 17, 2006

Another Cool Video


I think this is cool. It's an animated short film from Germany about the passage of time from the perspective of rocks. It's entertaining.

Posted by ian on 01:04 AM | Comments (1)

December 12, 2006

Recipe for (a funny) disaster

As most of you know, I have been going through a rather intensive series of surgeries on my gums, teeth, and jaws. I have been rather heavily medicated to numb the pain for quite a while now. All of my medications are prescription drugs that have been given to me by a doctor, but they are having quite a strange effect on my mind.

Keep in mind that I do not do drugs at all. Foreign substances affecting my consciousness is not something I am used to, and I am not a big fan. That being said, I am usually very confident in my mental abilities and I rarely question the reality of something. The result... when I am under the influence of mind altering substances, I don't stop to wonder if something is real. I just act like everything is normal.

For example, Last night I got a Text message from Drew replying to something I had sent him earlier. At the same time, I got a Text from Justin Williams (the bassist from Gracer). He was asking about a show that I am setting up. I recently gave him all of the details, so his message that said "any luck with that show?" seemed rather odd to me.

Without questioning it, I called him this morning to clear things up. He answered and was like "hey man, what's up?"

We chatted for a few minuets and then I said "hey... about that text you sent me last night, I think that I already sent you all of the details."

He was quiet for a few seconds and then said "Um... text? I don't remember sending you a text."

I said "Yeah last night when you asked me about the show in January."

He was quiet again and then said, "Yeah... I don't think I sent you a text message man. I have all of the details for that show." He then added, "Well, I was drinking a little bit last night, so I guess I could have sent you something without remembering it, but I don't think so."

I didn't really know what to say. I had a very vivid, word-for-word, memory of the message. I just said "yeah I am taking a pretty heavy dose of codine, so maybe I just imagined it" We both had a good laugh and then hung up.

I was thinking to myself "man, he must have been wasted." Just to reassure myself, I checked my text messages from last night. In my inbox... one message from Drew... Nothing else.

Here is another medicinally induced experience I had recently. The day of my surgery (when I spent 2 straight hours on Nitris) I had, of course, taken my maximum dosage of my pain killers. I woke up the next morning and sat straight up in bed. I had a golden revelation. The thought struck me with an astounding clarity and brilliance.

I thought to myself, "we really need to start selling The Look Machine's album in powdered form just like Gatorade!!!" It was such an incredible idea. I mean, if Gatorade can do it, why not us? I had this vision of myself at a show next to somebody drinking a refreshing glass of water. I coolly tore the top off of a single serving paper packet of instant TLM and poured the the powder into the glass of the guy standing next to me. Instantly his drink turned purple, fizzed up, and "As Much" started playing. It was amazing.

Thinking that I literally had the greatest breakthrough in the music industry, I excitedly hurried out to tell Linds. As i was thinking of how to explain it, the realization that I was simply insane and not brilliant seeped in with crushing disappointment.

You have to admit though, an Econo-Sized tub of instant TLM would be a great gift for the holidays.

Posted by collin on 01:02 PM | Comments (5)

December 11, 2006

Stop Motion Goodness

This is perhaps one of the best pieces of stop motion work I have ever seen. I cannot even imagine the time that went into making this.


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Uploaded by loranger

Ladies, there is a shot of a good looking guy in tighty whities. Consider yourself warned.

Posted by collin on 11:38 AM | Comments (7)

November 21, 2006

Wear your braces kids

When I was a kid, the dentist was always telling me that I should get braces. My parents told me that they would pay for them if i wanted to get them, but for one reason or another, I just never did it. Only now am I realizing the magnitude of that mistake.

I recently went to the dentist for a "routine checkup." I religiously brush my teeth at least 2X per day, so I thought they would look around, clean my teeth, congratulate me on my fine dental hygiene, and send me out the door with a new toothbrush and a sticker that says "Smile your dentist loves you." WRONG!!!

My dentist looked in my mouth and said, "Hmmmmm.... when is the last time you had a bone probe?"

"Excuse me?"

"A bone probe. It is where we measure the depth of your gum pockets and the density of the bone tissue surrounding your teeth. We take 4 measurements per tooth. I am seeing some inflammation of the gum tissue that may be indicative of some bone loss. I think that we should check it out."

Well bone loss sounds pretty scary to me so I agreed. He walked out and came back in with a little metal spike that had millimeter markings on it. He told me to lean back and open my mouth and that there might be a small bit of discomfort. For the next 20 minutes, the devil danced around my teeth reeking havoc with his fiery trident.

I'll spare you the gore, but when the probing was finished, he concluded that there is significant bone loss and i should see a specialist who could fix my teeth and curb further damage.

Yesterday, I visited the specialist. I thought I was going in for a consultation about braces. Wrong again. After another bone probing session, the dentist peeled off his bloody latex gloves and said that I should go see Carol to schedule my procedures. Thinking that Carol was the receptionist, I walked to the room where i was supposed to meet her to schedule my next appointment.

She pulled out several charts and began explaining my condition. Essentially, she said that I have begun to experience bone loss around several of my teeth. This loss is due to the fact that there is crowding in my mouth and i cannot properly reach all of the necessary parts of my teeth with a toothbrush and floss. Because the loss is occurring far beneath my gums, there is nothing I can to to clean it and prevent the situation from worsening.

At that point I began to realize that braces were not on the agenda. But I still had no idea what horrors awaited me.

The next chart she pulled out was a cross sectional representation of a tooth, jaw, and gums. She showed me what bone loss around the tooth looks like and then.... she showed me the surgery that they have to do to treat this. Yes that is right, surgery.

If I don't do the surgeries, my teeth will eventually fall out, I will double my risk of heart attack and triple my risk of stroke.

I have to go back in for a series of 6 surgeries to correct the problem before we even begin to discuss braces. These surgeries start tomorrow and will entail cutting back my gums, grinding down my jawbones, and grafting new tissue back into my mouth. Several of the procedures will involve bandages inside of my mouth for weeks at a time that will have to be cut out.

After explaining this Carol said, "So.... stock up on Jello."

This will take several months, several surgeries, and it will be very expensive. The moral of the story, Listen to your dentist and wear your braces.

Posted by collin on 10:36 AM | Comments (13)

November 16, 2006

More Brett Webber Pictures (Insomnia Film Night)

Here are a few more pictures that Brett took on the night of the Insomnia film fest.

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Posted by collin on 01:42 PM | Comments (3)

October 10, 2006

More on Columbus

I am glad that Jase posted about Columbus day. Thanks Jase, great job. I started writing a comment to add to it, but it grew very long, and I thought that i should make a full post about it. Warning, don't click the link and read the rest of this post if you like to think of Columbus as a nobel explorer or a good christian spreading the word of God.

I am appalled by the fact that this is still celebrated as a holiday. It is very true that Genocide ensued after european contact, but people should recognize that Columbus himself was more that a mere catalyst. He was a tyrant in the truest sense of the word.

Before Christopher Columbus was a "discoverer" he was a slave trader. In his report to the spanish crown, he said that the people would make poor slaves, but that they did possess riches that Spain could capture.

In 1493, columbus returned to the Americas with an invasion force of 17 ships (appointed at his request). His expressed purpose was to set himself up as "viceroy and governor of [the Caribbean islands] and the mainland" and seize the wealth there by whatever means necessary.

He promptly instituted a tribute system where every native citizen over the age of 14 had to pay a certain amount of gold to him every 3 months. Upon payment, they were then given a token to wear around their neck to show that they had fulfilled their duty. If they did not pay, they were punished by having both hands cut off and were left to bleed to death. In his first 4 years as governor, it is estimated that around 10,000 natives died in this manor alone.

Bartolome de Las Casas was the first european historian in the Americas. He oversaw conducted censuses and documented (in exquisite detail) what was happening in that time and place.

He gives accounts of Spanish colonists hanging Tainos (the native people) en masse, roasting them on spits or burning them at the stake (often a dozen or more at a time), hacking their children into pieces to be used as dog feed and so forth, all of it to instill in the natives a "proper attitude of respect" toward their Spanish "superiors."

Here's another description by another historian "The Spaniards made bets as to who would slit a man in two, or cut off his head at one blow; or they opened up his bowels. They tore the babes from their mother's breast by their feet and dashed their heads against the rocks...They spitted the bodies of other babes, together with their mothers and all who were before them, on their swords."

By conservative accounts based on Spanish surveys, the Taino numbered as many as 8 million in 1493. Las Casas estimated that over 5 million people had been exterminated within the first three years of the Columbus rule. By the time of Columbus' departure, only 100,000 Taino were left, and by 1542, only 200 were left. Within the entire Caribbean Islands, about 15 million indigenous people are estimated to have been exterminated within one generation of Columbus' arrival. This is genocide, the wholesale killing of an entire people group.

Hope you enjoyed your day off.

Posted by collin on 10:11 AM | Comments (16)

October 06, 2006

The New Television Season

Guess what I got to watch tonight, finally? The season premiere of Lost.

I was very impressed. That they are able to expand their story and keep it moving forward and compelling at the same time is incredible to me. Wow, I love this show.

The entire band loves this show now. Which stinks because the only night we can practice is, you guessed it, Wednesday.

Now we've almost always practiced on Wednesdays, and at first I was the only one in the band who suffered through missing it because I was the only one watching it Season 1. This was when Collin still didn't watch TV, and insisted that nothing on TV was as good as movies. He's since agreed that some fabulous entertainment can be found on the old television -- namely, The Office and Lost.

Ian and Shane got addicted too, and caught up with DVDs of season 1 and itunes passes of season 2. Drew? iTunes and DVDs too.

So now here we all are, complete junkies who can't watch it. Thank goodness for iTunes downloads. Season 1 I had to hope to remember to tape it, beg friends for tapes of it. It was very stressful. Now I just get to watch it - without commercial interruptions - whenever I like. And rewind and rewatch certain parts (very important with Lost). Seriously, this new technology is so great.

Anyway, I can't add any new television shows to my weekly watching habits. None of the shows I watched last year got cancelled or became lame, and I can't really find time for more (especially considering my netflix queue is up to 311 movies). Plus, you know I have . . . work and family and relationships and video games and all that.

So, just like last year, I will try to watch, 24, Desperate Housewives, the Office, Lost, and Law and Order SVU. Fortunately, they are all on iTunes, because I have conflicts with just about every one of their regularly scheduled times.

What are you watching?

Posted by jason on 10:44 PM | Comments (6)

September 20, 2006

Extreme Pogo Sticking?

I learned to hop on a pogo stick at my grandmother's house. It was always fun, but I never realized it had extreme sport potential.

Grandma and I have something new to work on together.

Posted by ian on 12:25 AM | Comments (1)

September 18, 2006

Congratulations Isaiah and Johanna

This past saturday, Isaiah Hilferty (the first bass player of The Look Machine) married Johanna Slye. Congratulations and best of luck!!!

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All of the current band members had their picture taken together at the reception. It is not often that we are all dressed up.

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Posted by collin on 04:01 PM | Comments (23)

September 07, 2006

One Win Choice has a new site

Hey everyone. Our friends from One Win Choice have launched a new website. It is a pretty cool site. Take a few moments to check it out. Make sure you look through the "links" section. You can find links to some very interesting and worth while causes, non-profits, and news sources. They also link to us which is very nice of them. Thanks guys and congrats on the cool new site.

Posted by collin on 03:49 PM | Comments (1)

August 29, 2006

Do I drive a large magnet?

So, I have a car which I really like. It's a black 94 volkswagen jetta. When I bought it a little over two years ago, it looked something like this:8028.jpg

But, hey, things change, entropy takes over, and I get hit... all the time.

Every day my car seems to look a little more like this:
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Just yesterday somebody backed into my front, driverside door and crumpled it up pretty well. The good news is he was a decent guy and even though I wasn't there he was sure to leave his info.

What is it about my car? In the past two years I have been hit five times and shot once! Did you hear me? five times!!! And shot with a pellet gun.

The crazy thing about all of this: I have only even been in the car 1 of those times. That particular instance I was stopped at a stop sign and was rear ended. Every other time was either in my driveway or another parking spot.

Posted by ian on 11:22 PM | Comments (6)

June 23, 2006

The Saga of Oliver the Humanzee gets even stranger

More then a year ago, I made the fateful decision to post about Oliver the Humanzee. Since then, we've accidentally become one of the web's Headquarters for this controversial subject. Seriously, type "Humanzee" into Google and we're one of the first hits. We get LOTS of traffic this way, and in fact at least 2 fans say they heard of us because they were searching for information about. . . Oliver the Humanzee.

But now, the latest 2 comments on that page make me think the ante is being upped here. We've gone from mere curiousity to truly revolutionary disclosures, history itself being made on the pages of the Look Machine weblog. I will reprint them in this post, but you can also go back to the original post to read all the comments.

Dr. Shen Xia Yen said... Unusual baby with human and simian features was born to a Mongolian prostitute woman in special Beijing hospital in 2003. SARS story was government cover up to close down all hospitals to prevent story from getting out. This baby was kept a big secret by the Central Committee. Some doctors and nurse disappear. Rumor among physicians in Beijing is that father of baby is the chimp/man named Oliver. I saw this baby for only a few minutes, it looked like human with facial structure hints of a chimp. Baby had much hair and large hand/foot structure. Appeared very odd, but intelligent. The mother is good-for-nothing street whore claiming that she was paid big money by Russian man to have sex with special chimp. She says the chimp was like man in many ways and drinking much Beijinger whiskey. Who knows, maybe true? Anyway, baby is now in the Chinese Space Agency headquarters building located at #2, Jiang Tai Lu, Chao Yang District in Beijing not far from the Lido. This building is top security and very difficult to enter, but you can see windows from street where sometimes chimp like figure is seen inside reading newspaper and smoking cigar. Some CP big shots talk quietly about this chimp/man going to moon on Chinese rocket because too dangerous for human. This is possible because China always take safe approach to risky operations so not to loose face if failure.

Dr. Shen Xia Yen

6/17/2006 2:17 PM
Joe Shea said...
The notes above do capture much of Oliver’s public life, but only those elements specifically created by the government to gather open attention. There is much more to the story.

Hello. I am an older gentlemen now and while I prefer to stay in the shadows, my failing health and age continue to reduce the potential for reprecussions.

In the middle 70s, I ran an elite aviation/aerospace group in southern California for a little known agency. Located in the town of Upland, my team was quartered at a small private airfield called Cable. Our public front was that of a civilian aviation patrol club, ostensibly formed to conduct pilot training and air search, etc.

In the spring of 76, I was contacted through my channels and instructed to perform support assistance for what was then termed Operation BAKER BREAD. In short course, my team Squadron Two Five received ample funding, and received a liaison visit from the Op Controller who was known to me only as Richard. I meet with him in a small place on the Foothill Blvd., the Upper Crust, where I received my general tasking: design and test flight control and operating modules that could be understood and used by a chimp. According to Richard, the protocol was established as a Hot Sheet item, the desire being to preclude any further incident such as that which had befallen Gary Powers.

Over the months, my team commenced design and prototyping in a private hangar at Cable (N 2-4). We installed the controls and surrogate lifting surfaces onto a sled of sorts in order to permit a controlled examination of the operations without flight risk. In the fall of the year, I first met Oliver.

One our introduction, he merely strolled into our quonset hut, touched two fingers to his right brow without breaking gait, and helped himself to my package of Camel cigarettes. I was simply astonished. I had been working on a personal device, a machine designed to clean and polish Golf balls, that I intended to market to luxory hotels. Within several hours, Oliver had become familiar enough with the machine to safely operate it - he even adjusted a troublesome switch for the ejection/removal.

Over the winter months, we began testing our monkey piloted rocket sled. These tests occured far out in the desert; you may still visit the area now by driving 90 or so miles east of a small town called Halloran Springs. While the mechanical testing went well, I began to see the ugly side of Oliver - a side that perplexed and frightened me. A chronic smoker, he would slip into despondant periods during which he would drink alcohol heavily and show aggressive behavior. Several instances nearly shut down the project; one involved his brandishing an empty bottle and striking an assistant (it was poor old man Miller) over the head, apparently to take possession of his felt hat. As Miller lie in the sand, unconcious, I observed Oliver to exhault in the moment, wavering both limbs wildly and flashing his teeth while hooting. He wore the hat for several days, then filled it with his own urine and left it.

Still more troubling was his untoward sexual conduct. In another incident, a young support staff worker, Patty, fled the camp in a rush and did not return the following week. Months later I was to learn that Oliver had attacked her sexually, and that their union had in fact resulted in pregnancy. Richard arrived to discuss the matter and here revealed that Oliver was, indeed, a hybrid simian. Attempts to breed him to human females had taken place, with those results being termed horrible “pirates and ringmasters”. I learned only later that Patty had been spirited off from the area in order to deliver the offspring of Oliver. I was only to glad when testing was complete. I never heard another word regarding the Op or of Oliver until recently. The recent spate of news makes me wonder if it is all timed to coincide with the progeny of Oliver.

6/17/2006 2:19 PM

Posted by jason on 10:51 AM | Comments (5)

April 21, 2006

Out Of Gas

All of the gas stations in this area are out of gas. I don't mean like they don't have regular or something. I mean they are pumped dry!!!

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There is a road in Newark with about 8 or 9 gas stations on it. Every single one is COMPLETELY empty. Lindsay just took our car to try to get gas at another gas station just north of town. OUT OF GAS. She called me to see what she should do. I told her to keep going. She went to the sunoco that is about 8 miles out of town. NOTHING. She continued on to the next place. STILL NOTHING. On and on she went.

Finally, in a small town about 15 miles north of Newark, she found one place with a little bit of ultra high octane gas left. She was able to fill up, so she didn't run out, but what on earth is going on? Is this a new trend we will see continue?

Posted by collin on 04:44 PM | Comments (14)

April 16, 2006

Twins

This is really amazing! And it's really true.
twins2.jpgTwin girls with their parents.

To parents, both of mixed race, worked together to have some fraternal twins. One baby is white, the other is black. This is a genetic rarity, but it does occasionally happen.

Check it on Snopes

Posted by ian on 11:32 PM | Comments (7)

February 02, 2006

I will personally award. . .

A free debut full length Look Machine CD to the person who can make a shiny mud ball. (I've even been nice enough to include directions for you).

PS. I get to keep the shiny mud ball. Because they are cool. Really cool.

PPS. Almost as cool as my Narnia figurines.

PPPS. The only thing cooler than my Narnia figurines are these Narnia figurines. When our debut goes multi-platinum, I shall purchase the Peter on a Unicorn, the White Witch, and the Girls and Aslan. On the fench about Tumnas. Oh I like that Centaur too. Thoughts?

Posted by jason on 12:53 AM | Comments (2)

January 31, 2006

The first time I've watched American Idol this season

It's not an obsession for me, but I do enjoy an episode of American Idol here and there. For me, the most watchable episodes are early on, when multiple clueless people bumble their way through their auditions.

I can't help but wonder though. . . how do these people think they are good enough?

Actually, I have a friend, Erin, who recently had someone she knows make it to the LA round of American Idol. She has some inside scoop on the way the show runs.

Basically, Simon and the other judges don't see everyone. People first have to make it through producers, who then pass them onto the television judges. Of course, to get to the "second round," you either have to be really good. . . or really bad. So they understand that the early rounds are really about entertainment, not yet about talent.

Sometimes when I watch this show, I wonder how I would do. But I really have no desire to do it, regardless of how I would do. . . I'd rather just play in a band and try to make music the old fashioned, non-produced way.

Posted by jason on 08:47 PM | Comments (7)

January 28, 2006

Ha Ha Ha America

Wow, who knew that China could talk so much trash?

Get ready to get PWNed by Red China. It's funny. Yet scary. Really really scary. Because I hope it's not true. This is a short film from the Sundance Film Festival.

Posted by jason on 02:32 PM | Comments (5)

December 26, 2005

Thailand Rocks out to the Look Machine

We get some great comments on our myspace site. Here is one from a fan in Thailand.

YO! U know what? I opened your songs in our party at my school! My friends were danced and I was jumped with your songs! I like them so much!!! YEH!!! I"M TLM"S FAN! :D

Wow, maybe we need to book a show at a school in Thailand. Pronto. That way we can make sure that many many more people get jumped with our songs. How's that for awesome?

Posted by jason on 11:52 PM | Comments (10)

December 16, 2005

The Look Machine PWNs the internet

We have been having trouble recently with something called bandwidth leaching. Basically, that is when people do an image search, steal pictures from our site, and put them on their site. The problem with this is that people leave the pictures on our server so all of their traffic and all of the bandwidth they use counts against us! The worst part is that when you view one of these leach sites, you would never the difference. It just looks like a normal picture on a web site, so all of that traffic was doing NOTHING good for us. We have been getting thousands and thousands of these kinds of hits per day and that was beginning to adversely affect our site. It was time to put the smack down. The smack came in the form of the pretty little picture below.

thelookmachine_pwn.jpg

With the help of our friend Joe (the code master) from Elany Arts, and the kind people at Ask Meta Filter we wrote a little piece of HTML code called an image redirect for our site. Basically, what this does is redirect every one of those leaching links to the "official fanclub member" picture above. The result was that we instantaneously had thousands of sites hosting our banner and claiming to be a part of our fanclub. It is hilarious. It is so seamlessly incorporated into these sites, it looks intentional.

Here are a few examples of the beauty in action:

1. Remember the "Happy Birthday" post I wrote back in the summer for Poncho? Well people have been linking to that birthday cake by the thousands. it seems that every time somebody wants to wish their cyber-pal a happy b-day on their myspace site or on their blog, they just take advantage of our server space and use that picture. Well, thanks to our fancy redirect, there are now thousands of people giving out "Official Look Machine Fanclub Member" birthday cards. I especially love the one below. It looks like the author just loves us so much that they thought they would wish their mom a happy birthday with a picture of... yours truly.
tlm_pwn_bday.jpg


2. Remember when Shane posted that picture of the squirrel with the machine gun? Well people keep finding that in the search engines and then linking to it and leaching our bandwidth. This guy below posted it as his "pic of the week" but now it just looks like he is a HUGE Look Machine fan and he is so proud of it that he posts it as his picture of the week.
Picture_of_week.jpg

3. I have no idea what this guy was saying, but now we are his new favorite American band!
tlm_german.jpg

There are thousands of these online now and it has been bringing us tremendous joy. I think it is only a matter of time, however, until some hapless person who doesn't know what they did gets extremely mad and writes us a nasty letter accusing us of hacking their site. If that happens, I will take great joy in reminding them that they brought it on their own head. That's what you get for being a thief. You really can turn any situation into something good... like free advertising.

Posted by collin on 02:28 PM | Comments (10)

December 15, 2005

Peter Jackson's King Kong

King_Kong_2735_medium.jpg

As part of our work at Elany Arts, we had to do a number of projects including King Kong, the upcoming feature film from Peter Jackson. We had a good time with those jobs, so we decided to take a company field trip to see it yesterday during the day.

I have to say, Kong is one sensitive buttkicking king, and I loved it. But beware, this movie will cause you to cry, unless you're a heartless beast.

This is one great film with a miracle of special effects work in Kong. He's just such an accomplishment, this digital creature with such a soul and better acting than 95% of other movies. The humans around him - especailly Naomi Watts' Ann Darrow, do a fine job too. You never for one moment doubt that the beast and the woman are sharing the same space.

There are so many excellent moments in this film. When Kong first defends Ann against a huge number of deadly predators, it's probably one of the best action sequences I've ever seen. Just amazing. The moment when Ann realizes that Kong is not a killer to run from but a protector to run towards is just perfect. The time when Ann manages to melt Kong's heart for the first time is also priceless, as are the sunset and frozen pond scenes.

Hey, and who doesn't love some giant deadly insect scenes too? I know I like them.

The emotional connection between Kong and Ann is so real, it hurts. It's not a romantic love, more like the love of a father and a daughter mixed with the love between of a dog and it's master. Strange, I know. The way the film causes you to love Kong makes the last 3rd of the film so darn hard to watch, but it is beautiful and sad. It's almost like a funeral. Some executives at Universal told Collin that this would not be your standard monster movie, that the goal was to make you empasize with Kong. Well, they certainly did that.

There are some minor quibbles (NOT the 3 hour running time though, I love long movies!).

For instance, there is probably a little too much time before you meet the King, especially on the boat with the crew. I think they are trying to make you care about the crew, but from some reason you just don't (and that's ok, you spend most of your emotion on Kong and Ann).

They spend a lot of time especially on a deckhand boy and his mentor, and that could be cut from the film if you ask me, it just never pays off at all.

And there is a cool dinasaur stampede that probably causes you to suspend too much disbelief (and I think the effects on this particular scene are the most noticeable CGI).

And there are some Jackson film tricks that kind of took me out of the movie and made me think, "Hey this is alot like Lord of the Rings!" Like blurry action sequences, slow motion with high ethereal female vocals, and orc-looking set design. Now I like these things actually, and if Jackson wants a trademark that's cool, so I think I'd leave them in. But they did take me out of the experience for a moment and made me think, "Yep, I'm watching a movie."

But all those things become so minor once Kong starts rampaging around the screen that they are like complaining about the color of the doorknob to your honeymoon suite. That is to say. . . you should be able to quickly forget such things once the good stuff starts. And if you can't, you have serious problems.

All told though, you have to see this movie on the big screen. It's really excellent. And I never understood what was so special about King Kong before. Like, he's just a big monkey. But no, he's much more. He is truly the 8th Wonder of the World.

Posted by jason on 01:47 PM | Comments (10)

November 26, 2005

Don't let. . .

the bedbugs bite.

For those who thought they were just a silly nursery rhyme, be prepared to be skieved out.

Posted by jason on 09:35 PM | Comments (3)