Goodbye Sherwood

Sherwood Schwartz died yesterday. I felt kind of melancholy when I heard about it. He was responsible for two of my favorite tv shows; Gilligans’s Island and The Brady Bunch.

When I was a kid, I wanted to live on Gilligan’s Island. Daily social situations and interactions appeared a lot easier when there are only 7 people involved.
As a child I always related to Gilligan. He was always getting into trouble and goofing stuff up. So was I.
When I was in high school I came up with the idea that all of the castaways had died in the ship wreck and the island was their Heaven. Eventually, that Rescue From Gilligan’s Island movie came out and wrecked the whole theory.

Interesting trivia
In the opening credits of the first season, you can see a flag flying at half-mast in the background. President Kennedy had just been assassinated not too long before it was filmed.

Schwartz was also responsible for The Brady Bunch. I was 12 when the show premiered in 1969 and most of the kids on the show were in my age group. I was able to relate to most of them. In the beginning, Jan was my favorite. I had a crush on her. Later on she went all wacky and Greg became my favorite. He was the oldest and the boss. So was I.
I always thought it was interesting that there were 12 steps on the Brady stairs. Kind of like the 12 Step Program.
It’s interesting to me that in most of the publicity shots, where the family is standing on the stairs, Jan is usually on the 6th step. In the 12 Step Program no. 6 is Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. It did seem that Jan WAS the most defective Brady. Or at least had the most neuroses.
I have no talent.
I can’t find a boyfriend.
I’m ugly.
I won the essay contest, but OOPS, it was a mistake. I didn’t really win.

I’m so glad I finally stopped relating to her.

Anyway, RIP Sherwood Schwartz. Living to be 94 is pretty damn good.

Rhinestone Ropers

Woohoo! My friend Melody made it to the top 48 on America’s Got Talent. She is one half of the Rhinestone Ropers. They are one of the 10 acts that got to go straight through to Hollywood without having to audition a second time. If you watch the show, make sure that you vote for them (if you vote, that is).

Number 12 Looks Just Like Facebook

This morning MySpace was no. 7 in the trending now on my Yahoo page. MySpace? I haven’t heard from them in forever. So, I went to read some of the articles.

The article from Fortune Magazine was titled MySpace’s doom was in its DNA. I must admit that the reason I got a computer in the first place was because of MySpace. Up until then I was a technophobic quasi-luddite. I had read WAY too many conspiracy theory books and was still in my bar codes are the mark of the beast and the internet is satan phase.

I liked MySpace because of it’s creative aspect. It’s where I learned html and how to make gifs. I got tips and tricks from people that I had friended. Later on, I was one of the people giving out the tips.

In his BusinessWeek article, Felix Gillette argues that MySpace users’ ability to tweak their profile designs was one of the site’s “first breakthroughs.” The developers had accidentally allowed users to insert HTML into their profiles, “allowing them to play around with the background colors and personalize their pages, leading to the site’s kaleidoscopic, techno-junkyard aesthetic, which became its trademark.”

For the site’s users at the time, this was a feature. For users who might otherwise have signed up, it was a bug. MySpace has almost willfully discouraged older people, smarter people, and more mainstream people from joining. Facebook, meanwhile, has kept tight control over its design, which has remained free of blinking graphics and gaudy color schemes. Your elderly aunt could join it if she wanted to. And as time went on, she did.

I was one of those people with the blinking graphics and gaudy color scheme. I would add, update, and alter my page all of the time, and yes, there were times when it looked like a cross between Las Vegas, Oompa Loompa land and a really bad acid trip… but I didn’t care. I was being creative. I was discovering new techniques and increasing my digitally artistic repoirtoire.

Some people didn’t like it. I would get comments about the flashing pictures or about how ‘busy’ my page was. At first I took umbrage. I would respond back with, “It’s called MYSPACE, not YOURSPACE. If you don’t like what’s on my page then unfriend and block me.”

People kept insisting that I ‘tone it down’, and after a while I did. I just got tired of the comments.

I still can't believe that people complained about my glowing Thomas Edison. I took me 5 days to figure out how to do that.

One day I signed up for Facebook. I had heard about it and decided to investigate. One I had signed up I spent hours trying to figure out how to change the page. I wanted to add my own flair. I tried to upload gifs and much to my chagrin the pictures just would not move.
What? Facebook doesn’t support gifs? What kind of crap is that?
No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get my Facebook page to be anything other that a big white page with nothing but text. How boring!

Once I finally admitted ‘I can’t figure out how to tweak this thing’ defeat, I quit going on Facebook. It wasn’t until I started getting friend requests from family members and old schoolmates that I started back up with it. It was still boring. I didn’t want to talk about what I did today or ask people how they were doing. I wanted to create.

The differences between MySpace and Facebook reminded me of that episode of the Twilight Zone called Number 12 Looks Just Like You.

Synopsis (from wikipedia):

Which one? You only have 2 choices. You can look like no. 8 or no.12.

In a future society, all young adults go through a process known as “the Transformation,” in which each person’s body and face are changed to mimic a physically attractive design chosen from a small selection of numbered models. The process gives everyone a beautiful appearance, slows deterioration due to age and extends a person’s lifespan, and makes the recipient immune to any kind of disease.

The motive of the Transformation is social harmony. According to Professor Sig, a psychologist with the Transformation service, “Years before, wiser men than I . . . saw that physical unattractiveness was one of the factors that made men hate, so they charged the finest scientific minds with the task of eliminating ugliness in mankind.”

"And the nicest part of all, Val, is that I look just like you"!

18-year-old Marilyn Cuberle decides not to undergo the Transformation, seeing nothing wrong with her unaltered appearance. Nobody else can understand Marilyn’s decision, and those around her are confused by her displeasure with the conformity and shallowness of contemporary life. Her “radical” beliefs were fostered by her now-deceased father, who gave Marilyn banned books and came to regret his own Transformation years earlier (we learn that he committed suicide upon the loss of his identity).

Despite continued urging from family, doctors, and her best friend, Marilyn is still adamant about refusing the operation. She insists that the leaders of society don’t care whether people are beautiful or not, they just want everyone to be the same. Her pleas about the “dignity of the individual human spirit” and how “when everyone is beautiful, no one will be” have no impact. After being driven to tears by the inability of anyone to understand how she feels, she is put through the procedure and (like all the others) is enchanted with the beautiful result.

Dr. Rex, who operated on Marilyn, comments about how some people have problems with the idea of the Transformation but that “improvements” to the procedure now guarantee a positive result, thus indicating that there may be modifications made to the mind as well. Marilyn reappears, looking and thinking exactly like her best friend Valerie. “And the nicest part of all, Val,” she gushes, “I look just like you!” The last shots are of her, admiring herself in the mirror and smiling.

I saw the episode for the first time when I was about 11 or 12. I totally related to Marilyn. I hadn’t read 1984 yet, so it was my introduction to the idea of totalitarianism and conformity.

I had experienced the comformity issue somewhat. As a kid, I had been pressured into Little League. I was no good at baseball. I was placed in right field and never caught a ball that came my way. I struck out every single time I got up to bat. I would walk up to the plate and the other players and parents in the bleachers would groan.
Why was I being made to play a game that I obviously wasn’t any good at or had no interest in?

Then there was the issue of my clothes. I wanted to wear the brightest colors. I wanted to wear the bell bottoms with the biggest flair, the hip huggers with the hippest hug, the shirt with the most psychedelic and trippy design and the widest belt available. I was told by my parents that people would think I was weird. I was also told the same thing when I acted certain ways.

When I wanted to practice twirling my sister’s baton I was confined to the basement. I had learned very quickly that doing so in the front yard would result in admonishment, strange looks and the occasional ‘sissy’ comment.

I eventually gave up the baton and turned to juggling. It was considered more appropriate and masculine. When I practiced juggling, I didn’t have to hide in the basement and people didn’t laugh or look at me funny. I remember thinking that they were both skills that involved manual dexterity and coordination, so “why should it matter which one I choose to do”?

Reading that article about MySpace this morning left me feeling sad. MySpace used to be fun. I lost interest somewhat after they changed it to be more like Facebook. Some of the HTML features were disabled. I could no longer be as creative as before.
I don’t know how much longer MySpace will last. I guess it doesn’t really matter since it is no longer the way that it was when I joined.

For me MySpace was about originality. Facebook has the look and feel of conformity. Maybe that’s why it’s so popular. Maybe everybody wants to look like Number 12.

 

Update:
When I went to the blogging section of freshly pressed, this was the title of the blog post that came right after this one.

Google Launches Google+, a Facebook Look-Alike.

It Speaks, Yet Says Nothing

Sometimes, when I go back and read some of the other posts that I’ve written I think, “Dude, you sound like a crackhead”! Such as with the post from yesterday. I guess that’s what happens when the write a post around the pictures instead of the other way around. IDK.

Today is the day that I call to see if I have jury duty tomorrow. It’s almost been two months and so far nothing. My sister’s friend, Mike, is coming in tomorrow, so more that likely when I call this morning the recording will say, “There WILL be a trial tomorrow. Please report to room blah blah at 8 am.”
In addition to calling the JD hotline, I’m also going to have to call the Bailiff afterwards and leave my new phone number.

Every Tuesday I get an email with trivia from Ken Jennings. There are 7 questions and I usually suck at them. The last question is always a list and you have to find out what the items have in common. This is the list from today:

7. What unusual distinction is shared by these historical figures? Julius Caesar, Thomas Chatterton, Cleopatra, James Cook, Lady Jane Grey, Leonardo da Vinci, Jean-Paul Marat, Montezuma, Horatio Nelson, Socrates.

I have no clue. I know that Caesar got stabbed, Cleopatra got bitten by an asp, and Marat was stabbed in the bathtub. I thing that Lady Jane Grey got her head chopped off. I’m thinking that the answer has something to do with the way that they died.
If you figure it out, let me know.

This was the final question from last week:

7. What unusual (and fairly specific) distinction is shared by all these movies? The Barefoot Contessa, The Brothers McMullen, Frankenstein (1931), Great Expectations (1946), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Night of the Living Dead, Plan 9 from Outer Space, Saving Private Ryan, Under the Volcano, Volver.

The answer is that they are all movies that begin in a cemetery. I didn’t get that one either. I had to wait until the answer came out today.

I just called and there is not a trial tomorrow.

In addition to being the smallest state west of the Mississippi, Arkansas is also the most boring. I guess nobody ever commits a crime. Either that or they all plead guilty.

Here’s a gif that someone posted on Tumblr. I thought it was cool. I think it’s Timothy Leary.

Timothy Leary was famous for this saying:

I never did any of that. I think the closest I ever came was watching a trippy Marshall McLuhan film in 9th grade Civics class. 

Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian who is known for coining the expressions The medium is the message and The global village. He also predicted the World Wide Web almost 30 years before it was invented.
His most widely known work is the book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.
My favorite of his media and their messages quotes is the one about television.

“It speaks, and yet says nothing”

I can agree with that. Even when I was a kid I remember thinking that television was the world’s greatest propaganda tool. People believe just about everything that they see and hear on television.

The Not-So-Amazing World of 3D

I read an article the other day about how moviegoers are losing interest in 3D movies. The article cited various reasons as to why. For me, the reason is simple. It’s such an obnoxious chore to watch them.

I suppose that if you had 20/20 vision, it wouldn’t be so bad. But, since I don’t have that 20/20 vision, I don’t know what the experience is really like.

Here is what people with good vision see:

Without my glasses, this is what I see:

3D is a movie gimmick. Bwana Devil, released in 1952, is considered the first feature length 3D movie. Apparently, movie sales were dropping off because of the culprit known as television. So, to get people back into the movie theaters they needed a gimmick. 3D was it.

3D enhances the illusion of depth perception. It’s like a giant Viewmaster, only the pictures move.

I have never seen a 3D movie, where afterwards, I didn’t leave the theater feeling completely frustrated.

First of all, you have to wear those glasses. I already wear glasses, so I have to put the 3D glasses over them.

Second, I have astigmatism and horrible depth perception. Astigmatism is a defect in the eye or in a lens caused by a deviation from spherical curvature, which results in distorted images, as light rays are prevented from meeting at a common focus. Add the 3d effect to that and things get really confusing.

The very first 3D movie I saw was House of Wax with Vincent Price. Even though I was only 14, and my head probably wasn’t as big as it is now, I still got paper cuts behind my ears because the stems on the cardboard glasses weren’t long enough.

Whenever I watch a 3D movie, and stuff goes all freaky, I can’t tell if it’s because of me or the movie. I’ve tried all kinds of techniques to try to keep the movie in focus. I’ve tried;

  • Watching without the 3D glasses
  • Putting my regular glasses OVER the 3D glasses
  • Watching with one eye closed
  • Continually re-adjusting the 3D glasses (therefore causing paper cuts behind my ears)
  • Wearing the 3D glasses upside down

The only thing that seems to work is watching the movie with the 3D glasses on and one eye covered. I don’t get to see the 3D effect, but at least the movie stays somewhat in focus.

Apparently, since its inception, there have been all kinds of advances made in 3D technology. Yeah, whatever. For someone like me, who has Mr. Magoo vision, that technology will always be in its inchoate stage.

Now they have 3D television. About 6 months ago, when I was a Best Buy to get a new TV, the salesman tried every trick in the book to get me to buy one.
I was like, “Look dude, I’ve been around 3D a lot longer than you. I don’t care how many advances that the experts say have been made in the technology, it still sucks”.

“Oh no, he said, “It’s so much better than it used to be”.

I was thinking, “How in the crap do you know? You’re like 12.”

He tried to get me to put on those new and improved big ass ‘I just had my pupils dilated old person glasses’  and watch the demo 3D TV. Pass! Just put the new TV in the car and let me be on my merry way.

Illusion-O glasses

As far as movie gimmicks go (yes, 3D is a gimmick), I much prefer vibrating seats, hypnovista (which TOTALLY does not work), illusion-o, blood dripping from the ceiling, sensurround and smell-o-rama. At least those gimmicks involve senses in which I have full capacity.

Hey, let me put on these groovy glasses and watch a movie all screwed up and out of focus. YAY!

All the Cool Stuff

I love Perry Mason. It’s my favorite TV show of all time.  Park Avenue Beat, which is the name on the Perry Mason theme song, is the ring tone on my phone.

I like all of that noir, detective, crime, pulp and courtroom drama stuff. I think that I’ve read just about every Perry Mason novel there is. Erle Stanley Gardner is my favorite author.

I have all of the Perry Mason DVDs that have come out so far. But, I want them all…NOW! I hate when they take forever to come out with TV shows on DVD. Especially the ones that I like.

Dear Classic TV DVD People,
Please release everything at once. Spreading it out over months, and even years drives me crazy. I might die before the last season is released.

Sincerely Yours,
A disgruntled classic tv DVD watcher person who impatiently wants everything NOW

That was Bob. He wanted to know where the rest of the frickin Perry Mason DVDs were.

 I also like all of that old music that is associated with the crime and courtroom genre. I found a site a while back where you can listen to all that type of music. One of my favorite composers who did that kind of stuff was Syd Dale. He was an absolute musical genius. One of his best is The Hellraisers. If you click on the link below, it should take you to the KPM site, where you can listen to some of his tunes. Hellraisers is the second song. All you have to do is click on the music note (If you click on it and it says that your session has timed out or asks you to sign in, just back click, and try it again. It should work).

 
Syd Dale Music

Here are some other links that will take you to some of the various genres on the KPM site. All you have to do is click on the music notes to hear the songs.

 
Crime Scene
Close to the Edge
Conspiracy and Crime
The Action Machine

Another absolutely awesome site is the Prelinger Archives. They have old movies, tv shows, ephemera. classic radio shows, commercials, documents, music, etc. It’s all free to download, or you can just watch or listen from the site. It might take a few minutes to find certain things, but it’s well worth it.

They even have those old Coronet Instructional Films from the 40s and 50s. Here is one of my favorites.
Dating: Do’s and Don’ts (1949)

If you like vintage and retro advertising, like I do, then Plan59 is a cool site. They have colorful and high quality retro ads that are quite amusing. The old ads section is my favorite.

If you like vintage historical pics, then Shorpys is the site to go to.

Another site with old pictures of historical events and famous people is Old Pictures.

Here is some other cool stuff to do and sites to go to.

U.S. States Quiz

MyFonts

Illustrators

Soma FM

Project Gutenberg

An Old Persons Review of the MTV Movie Awards 2011

So, I watched the MTV Movie Awards last night. I wanted to scream. What is wrong with those people? Are they on crack? Did they drink too much alcohol?
Seriously, just about everyone was acting like some kind of moronic idiot. I wanted to scream! Of wait, I already said that. That’s okay, it deserves reiteration.

Emcee, Jason Sudeikis told crappy jokes about Arnold Schwarzenegger and his mistress/girlfriend/baby mama. Dude, that was so 2 weeks ago. Plus, the jokes were just stupid.

At one point in the show, the picture and sound became out of sync. It was at the part where Sudeikis and Emma Stone were singing a 4 measure duet. Toward the end of their song the picture stuttered for about a half a second and it was all back in sync again. They should have left it out of sync. Not too long after that, Robert Pattinson, said the F word, and it slipped past the censors and didn’t get bleeped. Who is in charge of this show’s production? A fifteen year old?

The F word was used several more times during the show. All of them were bleeped. Do these people not realize that there are kids in the audience? Sure, kids hear and say that word all the time, but at least try to act like a responsible adult when you are presenting yourself to millions of viewers. Saying the F word to try to be funny does not automatically turn you into a comedian. I just makes you look like your not smart enough to amuse people any other way.

Seriously Reese, what are you even saying?

Reese Witherspoon won some kind of special award. Her speech was so pretentious I wanted to vomit. She talked about how you don’t have to take off your clothes or act stupid in a reality show to make it in Hollywood. You can do it the way she did it…by acting.

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis presented Robert Pattinson with the popcorn trophy for ‘best male performance’. They also groped each other. He grabbed her boobs and she grabbed his crotch. Really? I mean, REALLY? Talk about a cheap way to get laughs. Again, millions of people are watching the show. Is this lascivious behavior how you really want to get laughs? Obviously, it is.

There were a few ‘normal’ and legitimately entertaining moments during the show. The Foo Fighters performance was very good. It was a welcome respite. For a few minutes I actually felt like I hadn’t stumbled into a crackhead convention.
Also showing some decorum was Taylor Lautner. He gave the speech when The Twilight Saga: Eclipse won for best picture. He was gracious, coherent and it was one of the saner moments of the show.

Justin Bieber was the Best Jawdropping Moment winner. He was smart enough to come from off-stage to receive the award, say thanks, wave to his fans, and then exit – all without making himself look like an idiot. I knew I liked that kid for some reason.

Best Line From a Movie winner was child actor Alexys Nycole Sanchez for her line “I want to get chocolate wasted” from the movie Grown Ups. I just hope that she wasn’t in the audience during all of the F bomb utterances or the Timberlake/Kunis groping. How awkward!

I guess I could say that the show was entertaining, but only in a ‘train wreck/OMG, what is wrong with these people’ sort of way.
It seems that the only reason that they have the show in the first place is to promote upcoming movies.

Normally, I wouldn’t have watched the show, but, I was not in charge of the remote. Unlucky me.