a few videos

Saturday 20 September 2008

First, I must make a correction (for the better) about my last blog — one of the things I said I could put up as my status was that I left my spinach at the store, but as life should have it, that ended up not being the case at all!  Thus, my spinach (except for the bit that I’ve already eaten) is now safely stored in the refrigerator.

So let me tell you what happened:
I woke up the next morning (Friday) and was thinking about my cereal choices, thinking how I had also purchased some cereal at the store, though I didn’t see that around either.  Had I left it, too?  I wondered.  Then I thought how I had rearranged my groceries to bike back home, and I recalled putting the cereal box in my plastic bag with a bag of chips, which, too, weren’t to be found.  However, I distinctly remembered having the plastic bag held down in my left hand as I carried my canvas bag on my shoulder.  So I had to have brought it, right?  And then the light bulb went off — so I took out my keys, walked out the back door of basement room, and there I found the plastic bag with the missing cereal, chips, and, thankfully, spinach.

So all’s well with that, and I didn’t lose $1 on misplaced spinach.

But as the title of my post says, this is about videos, not spinach!  I recently found the digital/computer copies of the short video projects I made in a few of my film classes in college, and I decided I’d put them up on YouTube to see what (if any) response I get.  I still need to get up the copy of “Call Me Al,” my favorite of the bunch about the great Al Parcell who was a card swiper at my college dining hall and passed away this past winter at 92, but it’s coming.  For now, enjoy the following!

The Applicant
My group-made video project.  A fun, satirical look at the noir, 60s detective film genre based on a script about a weird job interview.  I did a lot of the editing, which I love.

Killing You Inc.
The second group project, made with the same people.  I wrote the script for this fake commercial, which I’m really proud actually got made.  I did a good portion of the editing, too, and though we all co-did everything, I was the guy who lit the bit where she’s playing video games.

Living in America: International Students Talk about Iraq
My first project for my documentary film class.  I did it all in this project, since it’s all based on sit down interviews, so you can give me credit or blame, depending on your take.

And while I’m sharing videos, I was also part of a video sketch comedy group — NSTV — my last two years of college, helping do camera, lighting, and sound on quite a few sketches.  Here are the ones on the NSTV YouTube page that I was a part of.
Spoons and Puzzles — Offbeat but hilarious (in my mind).  I did the camera work for the montage.
Murder Mystery — I wasn’t scheduled to help out with this one, but I showed up anyway because I knew it was going to be cool and got to do the racking (which means I changed the focus on the camera as it moved between people and parts of the scene).
Mr. Kriegel — Not one of my favorites, but I was a part of it.
(And my favorite NSTV sketch of all time, though it was made before my time): Ben & Jerry’s Socially Conscious Ice Cream

Enjoy!!!


away messages

Thursday 18 September 2008

When I did most of my away message writing, it was pre-facebook (pre-2004), though I also did some away message writing before the “status” thing on facebook that tried to put a semi-long-term spin on the away message theme.  AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) was always the biggest and best way to chat online with people (and from what I can tell it still is, though I’m not very apt in it anymore), and even when you weren’t chatting, you left a little message for people to read while you were gone.

Now the content of those messages fell into a few main categories, at least from memory (again, I’m going off things that happened circa 2006 and prior).  And even though it my still be current practice, I’m going to treat things as historical and write in past tense.  Though from my recent AIM pseudo usage, things haven’t changed too much, except that maybe people use AIM a little less now that facebook is around to help them waste their time.  But I digress…

One way to use away messages was to tell people where you were and/or what you were doing. This might also include the fact they one would “brb” (be right back) or such that you were reading but would take a break if someone wrote you.  I think I did this on occasion, but I almost never used the away message for the purpose it was most likely intended for.  There’s plenty of “maybe it is, maybe it isn’t” cyber stalking happening out there (and the advent of facebook added to that possibility — thank you very much Mark Zuckerberg), and I really didn’t feel like adding to the possibility of people knowing where I was at any given time.  I’m sure no one probably cared and I’m making myself up to be more important than I am, but regardless of the reason, it wasn’t my practice.

Another similar practice was to share with people either something that had already happened or something that was to happen in the future. Sometimes this would be a promotion to attend a certain play or event someone was in, or it might have been some past event with significance that seemed interesting or funny.  I would sometimes advertise an event, but I rarely did this.

One way I used away messages that I suppose would fit in this category is when I would vaguely sharing my emotional state or feelings with some kind of esoteric statement that really I only understood and knew the meaning to.  Not that anyone cared, but this led me to try and read into other people’s away messages, thinking they might be trying secretly expressing some inner feeling, maybe even speaking directly to me (as I was doing at times).  But probably not.

People might also just say general statements about life or their beliefs. Saturday night be filled with general statements about a football team winning or losing or about something someone had on their mind.  This category is the approach I read a lot of when I’m looking at facebook statuses (though people do write a lot of actual “status” information there, too).

People would share links to websites or online videos.  ‘nough said.

The final general category is pretty much contains any and everything else you could possibly think of. A lot of people would do quotes or song lyrics.  I would sometimes try and write something clever or cute or sarcastic — maybe like (I just thought of this 10 minutes ago), “If the early bird gets the worm, ten just be the worm that shows up late.”  I remember someone from camp telling me one summer they had enjoyed reading my away messages during the school year, even though we hadn’t really known each other during that time.  It was a way to entertain and be entertained and take a short break.

On a side note there, I remember that when my computer crashed after college (but while I was still using AIM), one of the things I was saddest about was the fact that I lost so many of the saved away messages I had loved to use and held dear to me.  I still kind of wonder what they were, but they are gone forever.  Such is life.

Now why did I write all this (which, I must say, is far below par for me and blog posts)?  Well, I thought that instead of a blog post (obviously that part didn’t happen this time), I might share some possible away messages that I thought about during the day — though as I was thinking more about them, I relized that my mind has started thinking about facebook status options instead of in terms of AIM away messages.  And I remember how for so long I never even put a status into my profile.  I guess, just as it happened with the cell phone, technology seems to such me in eventually (and that’s not always a bad thing).

So without further ado (or any more words), here is a part of my day in possible away messages/statuses:

eric left his spinach at the store.

eric is on YouTube!  (See my first upload.)

eric loved riding a bike to work again.

eric really wishes he could get his facebook profile name to be in lowercase letters.

eric will go to bed before midnight!

eric’s couch is also his bed.

eric still needs to unpack (but that’s what the weekend’s for).

eric wrote an extremely long blog but is too lazy to edit or cut any of it.

I’ll be back soon, don’t you worry!


Rock Band

Wednesday 3 September 2008

I was recently in the Baltimore area to visit some family, and while I was there we spent a few nights hanging out at my aunt’s house where I played the new Wii game “Rock Band” with my cousin and brother, and I must tell you that I am completely hooked! Last fall I visited the same cousin and played a song or two on Guitar Hero, which I really enjoyed, and this summer I spent a week in a home with a Playstation and Guitar Hero II, where I joined forces with another counselor to form the great rock band Bandana Bay to conquer the game’s medium level.  And while those encounters had whetted my appetite for the guitar video game, I was unprepared for the feeling of exhilaration I got when playing Rock Band.

If you’re unfamiliar with the game, it takes the concept that is Guitar Hero, where you have a guitar shaped controller and press buttons to correspond to notes and beats shown on the screen, and turns it up a notch by including the possibility of performing on bass guitar, vocals, and drum set, too. Of course, you can’t do all of them at once, but you can play and instrument and sing vocals on your own or create a band with some friends! Now that my visit to Maryland is over, I’m a little disappointed I didn’t try out the vocal part, which somehow registers the note you sing in a way similar to that of an instrument tuner, but I was too enthralled by the drum set.

With no choice of a second guitar, my brother decided our band would consist of him singing lead while my cousin played guitar and I did the drums. I had on occasion played the fight song while in high marching band, and sometimes the Hey Song, too, on bass drum, so in his mind I apparently had the background necessary to take on such a role, even if I’d never really done more than imagine myself jamming out on a drum set. Regardless of my ability on an actual drum set, I pointed the drum’s setting to medium and had at the first song.

And I rocked. After a few songs, I soon coveted the necessary items that would allow me to rock out in similar fashion every night, though once I realized that might cost somewhere close to $500, I decided I could live without.  I did begin to realize, however, how one might become obsessed with such video games to the point of shirking homework and life responsibilities to gain the highest skill level possible. With that in mind, though, it is a disappointment that the skills necessary to gain Guitar Hero stardom aren’t really transferable to anything useful once the power is switched off, aside, of course, from one having learned the importance of persistence and dealing with failure.

For the past 10 or more years, video and computer games have remained a bit of a novelty for me, as I’ve only really played them as a treat when visiting others. However, having experienced these new fangled games they’ve begun to create these days, with controllers too large to be held in one hand, I can see myself in 3-5 years owning one myself, jamming out in a basement somewhere, hopefully not shirking any responsibilities in the process, but you never know.