Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Cult of the Amateur

I'm reading Andrew Keen's The Cult of the Amateur right now, and I'll be lucky enough to hear him speak as part on his Internet Start-Up Guest Lecture Tour in a few weeks. The central argument of his book is that with the onset of YouTube, blogs, and pretty much everything else us industry insiders call Web 2.0, the art and culture typically created by experts and genuine artists is being forsaken in favor of amateur videos, rambling blogs by idiots like me, and content that lacks a true understanding of the genre it inhabits.

I don't want to get into a full argument about this book right now, as I haven't finished it yet. I'm already antagonistic to Keen's hypothesis, as I feel that people are able to discern between amateurish nonsense like Charlie The Unicorn and embrace the quality content that is out there on the internet (I'm not saying the videos put out on Funny or Die are Shakespeare or anything, but there does seem an effort to get the professionals into the medium that the amatuers are running to compete.)

Another thing Keen hasn't mentioned yet is the amazing ability of our Web 2.0 services to distribute our knowledge throughout the world. For example, I frequently read Jeff Lauras' music blog I'm Only Sleeping. If I hadn't checked this blog today, I never would have heard the song "I Can Hear The Grass Grow" by The Move. I feel like my evening has been enhanced by this experience, and thus YouTube did me a favor by letting me hear this song I otherwise wouldn't have.

That's the basic point I'm trying to make to counter Keen's argument. But, at any rate, I haven't finished the book, and agree with him or not, he does bring up some interesting ideas.

In order to continue this perpetual spread of knowledge, I'm going to post a video that I think may enhance people's evenings as well. It's The Beatles performing "I Feel Fine":

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mahalo Does The Oscars in 60 Seconds

Missed the 3 hour, 22 minute show? Get all the winners and little funny bits in today's Mahalo Daily:

Congratulations to The Coen Brothers winning Best Director and to Daniel Day-Lewis being rewarded for his incredible performance. Don't worry Shia LeBeouf, 2008 could still be yours!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why is Friday Night Lights so good?

I don't know. It just is. I started watching the show when it first started on NBC (the pilot in particular is phenomenal), but got sidetracked and am not up to speed on Season 2. I've been catching up recently on Hulu, with each episode available online for free. Here's Episode 17, which I just watched.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How to Propose Properly

I'd do a non-Mahalo related post, but Mahalo Daily has just been too good lately. Featuring several of my close friends, here is "How to Propose Properly"

Great job Lelah, Dean, Raj, Nicole, Laura, A.J., Sean, Jenny, Kristen. Oh yeah, and Veronica.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Director's Commentary

For those of you who enjoyed MD055 - Mahalo Du Jour avec Veronique Belmont, check out this exclusive DVD extra. Commentary featuring the director, Jonathan Harris, the talent, Lon Harris, and editor Michael Gallagher.

A Very Special Mahalo Daily

A great collaborative effort with the entire Mahalo Daily crew. I'm very proud of this one. Please give it a view:

Update: If the above video is down, check it out at YouTube.

Monday, February 11, 2008

George Carlin: Don't Sue

And now a series of things that are pissing me off:

1) Went to Disney's California Adventure yesterday. If you're not familiar, it's a theme park built directly across from Disneyland, only less fun. I went to Disneyland a few weeks ago, and since I live in Los Angeles they gave me a pass to get in for free to the other park. So, of course, I went. Most of the experience was actually quite enjoyable, despite it being horribly busy (I attribute this to the unusually warm weather in the middle of February).
At one point, my companions and I wanted to get something to eat, and naturally, we wanted it to be quick and cheap. These are two things that the Disney Corporation has never excelled at or expressed any interest in. We went to this Mexican place called "Rita's" that like every other place had a long line. The problem with this line is that we stood there for 40 minutes and only got halfway to the front! The people at the front would order, then stand to the side, wait 10 minutes, then get their food, and the attendants at Rita's would disappear immediately after taking someone's order! I don't mean to rag on the employees, as it obviously isn't their fault. As someone who worked in retail for 10 years and food service specifically for several of those, I know that it is easy for employees to get overwhelmed and customers take it out on them, when it is almost always a managerial/communication/organizational error. But still, I had finished my margarita and we bailed on the Rita's line to go to some equivalent Burger place and get food there. The whole point of eating at a theme park is to do it as quick as possible so that you can then wait in line for rides. I'm not paying 60 bucks to eat your crappy Rocket Burgers.
I promised a strongly worded blog post on this issue, and there it is. Moving on.

2) Changing Cell Phone Providers. Seriously, WTF? I've had Verizon for years. I switched because I don't get any service in my apartment. Simple as that. If I call someone, I want to be able to hear them and have them hear me. When this criteria is not satisfied, you have failed me as a cell phone provider, and I will switch.
Everyone who's in my apartment always gets great service with AT&T, so I bit the bullet, and bought an iPhone. Yes, of course I have that twinge in my head of "oh jeez this is alot of money will I regret this I don't really need this thing" but it is kind of cool and fun to mess around with, and I expect it will be even more so once I can actually use it as a phone, check my email on it, listen to music, or do any of the stuff you're supposed to be able to do on the damn thing.

Here's the problem: You have to make about 28 phone calls to switch providers, cancel your old phone, set up the new phone, and switch your same number, which still seems to be causing problems. I had to call the Verizon people, get the account number, call the AT&T people, have them switch everything over, then they say "You have to hook your phone up to your computer in order to set up the data plan." So I bring it home, hook it up to my computer and it says "iPhone does not function with your Mac as it requires Mac OS X"
So I hooked the thing up to my roommate's computer, go through the motions, and it says "Congratulations, your new number is 213-XXX-XXXX" (X's were of course replaced with numbers). This caused me to say "WTF, I wanted to keep my old phone number, which is 714-XXX-XXXX" (I actually use X's on my phone, how about that?)
Then they say "Your account will be activated at 3 PM. So now I have to wait several hours, get a text message that says I've been activated, and then have someone call my old number to see if it actually works. If not, I am going to embed all 8GB of this thing directly into Steve Jobs' small intestine.

Can you hear me now?

3) Starbucks Cups. I don't care how you see it! Stop preaching to me. I just want coffee for Christ's sake, not a lesson on how to raise my kids!

Now, I'm going to get in a warm bath, drink some champagne, and softly cry myself to sleep. Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a dancing man wearing a horse mask cooking wild mushrooms.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Comedy is all about...

Ahem---comedy is all about....

it's all about....

Oh for goodness sake, I just wanted to TIMING!

Dammit. Alright getting onto the topic origi--TIMING!


I just--TIMING!

Anyway, here's a very short video with perfect timing:

Sometimes things just work out.

Monday, February 4, 2008

What are we talking about here?

Country Caravan is proud to present guest blogger Allen Iverson:

Good evening, Country Caravan readers. I tell you, I've been meaning to get into the blogosphere for years now. I keep myself so busy though, giving 110, heck, 120 percent on the court every day! And I'm gonna keep playing. For how long? Until I can't be Allen Iverson on the court, until I can't dominate. When you look at the scouting report and my name is not the first name, then it's time to go. I don't want to be an old guy sitting on the bench for a championship team. I'm not coming off nobody's bench.

I'm Allen Iverson, man. Sure, I'm not perfect. I fly off the handle once in awhile. And sure, I miss the occassional practice. But that's what it is, man. Practice.

Anybody tell you that I missed practice, if a coach say I missed practice, and ya'll hear it, then that's that. I mean, I might have missed one practice this year, but if somebody say "he doesn't come to pracice'" it can be one practice out of all the practices this year, that's it. if i can't practice i can't practice, man, if i'm hurt, i'm hurt. It ain't about that. It's not about that at all. You know what I'm saying, i mean. But it's easy to talk about it, it's easy to sum it up, when you just talking about practice. We're sitting here, I'm supposed to be the franchsise player, and we in here talking about practice. I mean, listen. We talkin about practice. Not a game. Not a game. Not a game. We talking about practice. not a game. Not the game that i go out there and die for and play every game like it's my last. not the game. we talkin about practice, man. I mean how silly is that? We talking about practice. i know I'm supposed to be there, I know I'm supposed to lead by example., I know that, and I'm not shoving it aside, you know like it don't mean anything. I know it's' important. I do. I honestly do. But we talkin about practice, man. What are we talking about? Practice? We talking about practice, man. We talk--we talking about practice. We talking about practice. we ain't talking about the game. We talkin about practice, man. When you come into the arena, and you see me play, you see me play don't you? You see me give everything I've got. but we talking about practice right now. We talkin about pra--man I look, I hear you. it's funny to me too. It's strange to me, too. We're talking about practice, man. We not even talking about the game, the actual game, when it matters. We talking about practice.

How the hell can I make my teammates better by practicing?

Well, that's the blog post. I hope y'all were entertained. Thanks for reading. Now you can go back to watching videos with Chinese pandas. I'm off to go practice. What are we talking about here?

Animal Collective - "Taste"

The video for Animal Collective's Taste. A much different version than what appears on Merriweather Post Pavilion, but still brilliant.

I love the way this song builds. Some of their best tracks start with a slow drone and some jungle beats and before you know it you're in a full fledged pop song.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

I See A Negative Fortune Cookie in SalesGenie's Future

So my friends and I are sitting around, enjoying the greatest upset in Super Bowl history, and this SalesGenie Commercialcomes on.

(If for some reason you don't want to use Mahalo or Yahoo! to watch the ad, you have to go here, click the link, then when the WSJ window comes up, click the Super Bowl XLII tab, watch the advertisement, then click on "Sales Genie 'Panda' Super Bowl Commercial". Yeah, they make you watch an ad to view some ads. God bless America.)

Yes, that was a serious commercial, that they paid $2 million to show to 75 million people. There were seven people over at my apartment (including me) watching the Super Bowl. Not one of us had our jaws anywhere near our upper lips while this commercial was airing. It was so obviously, shockingly racist, and none of us could believe it was actually airing.

This makes me wonder: If all seven of us recognized how inappropriate this ad was + everyone on the blogosphere + every comment on all of these blogs I've already read...if it seems this obvious to everyone, how did the commercial make it on television? I'm guessing at least 200 people had to have seen it before it aired. We're talking everyone in upper management at SalesGenie, their ad team, the producers, marketers, and management at FOX, plus the broadcasters themselves (who want to be aware of their sponsers). You mean to tell me that not one of these people saw fit to say "Ya know...maybe people don't really dig the blatant discrimination against Asians anymore. Let's take another look at this."


Friday, February 1, 2008

Richard Belzer and David Cross Being Funny

Next you'll tell me that Sammy Stephens will refuse to sing his Mini Mall Rap!

Ahh, sweet Sammy. You never disappoint.