Archive for July, 2008

Three Degrees of Youtube Separation

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2008 by dvcmann

The magic of youtube is that by following the “related videos” links you are never more than 3 clicks away from greatness. Check out this piece of awesome.

For some reason the embedding feature is off with this one, so you’ll have to go there.


The Dark Knight

Posted in Cinema on July 22, 2008 by dvcmann

Okay, let me be up front and say that I haven’t even seen this film yet, but the hype surrounding this thing is reaching a fevered pitch and is worth taking a look at in its own right.

First off, let’s acknowledge the fact that Heath Ledger’s death seems to have catapulted him into jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain status as an untouchable saint of pop culture and thus diminishing any true talent by relegating his image forever to the realm of wall posters and the obsessive daydreams of overly dramatic teenage girls. And trust me, there are few things more powerful in this world. Just look at what 12 year old girls did for Titanic, or the much less benevolent wielding of those energies as Britney Spears. The fact that people were mentioning Oscar for the young Australian actor before the movie even came out seemed like evidence to the fact that Ledger was becoming legend.

But none of this explains the first wave of buzz since the movie’s release that says it is brilliant almost in its entirety. (Don’t even get me started on the second wave that has parents whining about how they brought their 7 yr olds to see it and they cried. I don’t care what toy stores are selling. Be a parent.)

TDK co-star Michael Caine, the man who has made more movies than any other actor besides John Wayne, said in a pre-release interview that Ledger’s Joker was the scariest psychopath in movie history – in movie history. Just stop for a minute and consider who that claim has to measure up to:

* How about fellow English Knight Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter? Seriously?

* Robert de Niro in Cape Fear (or Robert Michum’s original for that matter)

* Kevin Spacey in Se7en – HELLO! Dude put Gweneth’s head in a box (where it belongs)

* Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange

* Tom Noonan in Manhunter. Tell me, do you see?

* Jack Nicholson in the Shining?

* Gary Oldman

* Is Anthony Perkins’ Psycho too obvious? Mother what do you think?

* Not to mention Christian Bale’s performance in American Psycho

* Lindsay Lohan in Freaky Friday? I mean c’mon!

Sir Micklewhite had left himself wide open if you would have asked me. He does, however, have some pretty impressive stats to back up his claims about Ledger and the Batmovie now. IMDB’s top 250, voted on by users, currently has TDK ranked as the #1 movie of all time. Yes, you read that right. To put that in perspective you should know some of the top 10 contenders include The Godfather(s) 1 & 2, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Casablanca. Citizen Kane and the Wizard of Oz are buried somewhere in the 30’s. The movie review site Rotten Tomatoes has the Dark Knight clocking in at a 94% ranking, making it one of the highest rated movies in their site’s 10 year history.

Granted, these rankings have a lot to do with the power of modern marketing, the influence of the internet, and the fact that the celebrity culture Tom Wolfe wrote about in Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamlined Baby in the 1960’s has since staged a full blown Coup d’etat on American society and now rules us with an iron fist. Long live Mary Hart’s legs! Only time will tell where the newest Batman will land on less proletariat lists like the American Film Institute’s Top 100 though.

Like I said, I haven’t seen it yet but if you noticed at the beginning of this nasty mess I called The Dark Knight a “film”. The implication, from my perspective, is art. So I guess I want to believe in what this movie could be just like everybody else, and I hope Michael Caine is right.


The Moonlight Towers

Posted in Keep Austin Weird on July 11, 2008 by dvcmann

In 1894 Austin purchased 31 iron light towers from the city of Detroit. Often referred to as the Moonlight Towers, these 165ft tall structures have been helping to light up the city for over 100 years and many people who live here don’t know anything about them, even though they are probably very familiar with at least one of these giant spires – the Zilker Park Christmas tree.

The Zilker “tree” is one of 17 towers left of the original 31. They have been in almost continuous use for over a century. Only briefly being shut off during a city dispute in 1905 and during the nation’s energy crisis of the 1970’s.

Since then, they have received historical status, and full, individual restoration in 1995.

Some odd facts about the towers include protests from farmers and ranchers of late 19th century Austin because they believed the extra evening light would wreak havoc on their crops and livestock. Also, Ripley’s Believe it or Not did a story about an 11 year old boy, Jimmy Fowler, who climbed and fell from one of the 16 story structures and survived by bouncing through a tree on the way down. That’ll teach him!

Sounds like a great way to spend a day – a map, some gps coordinates and a sharp eye to see if you can spot all 17 remaining monuments to Austin’s weird history.

Guerrilla Gardening

Posted in Organics & Sustainability on July 6, 2008 by dvcmann

I don’t know how guerrilla you can be once you’ve made Drudge, or how anonymous you can be when major newspapers from around the globe are running AP stories about you, but they contribute to the awesomeness that’s for sure. They are Guerrilla Gardeners. The website was started by Richard Reynolds in England, and began as a grass roots movement. (yeah, I said it.) It has since gone global in places like L.A. and Toronto. Sort of a friendly Project Mayhem.

Usually working at night, guerrilla gardeners take it upon themselves to improve barren or overgrown patches of city-scape using shovels, rakes and a keen sense of green. That easily, they make their urban environment just a bit better. Some guerrilla gardeners plant trees, some weed or water, and others use techniques like “seed bombing” where seeds are sown in a specific area to grow new plants.

You would think with words like “guerrilla” and “seed bombing” being thrown around that the authorities would do their usual thing and shut it down, but as of yet, most local community leaders seem to be either supportive or at least uninterested. It’s hip to be green right now and no politician is going to jump in front of that train. You know the local P.D. couldn’t care less. They have enough on their plate at 2:00AM with the domestic disputes and gang shootings. At least until somebody accidentally steps into traffic and there’s paperwork.

It’s something you can do, so check the site and see how you can like rage against the machine in a positive way man!