Monthly Archives: July 2010

BBC’s Radio 1 Live Lounge – the great music TV show of our time

What is the great music TV show of our time? I was asking myself this after considering older shows like The Midnight Special and Night Music. Certainly there are great shows, like PBS’s Austin City Limits. And of course, there is alot of music video shows (though I don’t consider them great).

What I do think is great and certainly something that captures our time and our popular music is BBC’s Radio 1 Live Lounge. (Strictly it’s a radio show, but YouTube/the Internet makes that distinction somewhat irrelevant.)  It has great performers doing something unique and worth watching / listening to. I blogged about it before, and I recommend you go to the BBC web site or YouTube and look them up. In the meantime, here Lady GaGa doing a great cover — mistakes and all — of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida.

YouTube – Radio 1 Live Lounge – Lady GaGa – Viva La Vida

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Some thoughts on my new Kodak Zi6 camera

What I like about the Zi6 so far is the design of it. It’s a bit think, but it is around the size of an iPhone and fits in your hand nicely. The controls are easy to use and obvious.  I like the fact I can add my own SD cards to it. The screen is nice and big, and the USB interface is simple.

I also liked the videos it takes. It took some videos in HD60 mode and watched them using QT and they looked good. They also looked good on FB. I think it captures the video at 720p at 60 fps in HD 60 mode. Not quite as striking as 1080, but still pretty good and miles better than the videos I was taking with my Blackberry!

You can take stills with it too. So far the quality of those is only fair. I may need to experiment with that.

You need rechargable batteries, but Kodak provided some and a charger. Nice! And they are cheap these days: so much so, it doesn’t make sense to buy anything other than rechargeable.

You can mount it on a tripod, which is nice.

I picked up one of these today at a discount electronic store for a great price ($69) and so far I really like it. My first digital camera that I bought in 2003 was a Kodak, and even at 2 MP I used it for along time because it took great pictures and it was easy to use.

I have a JVC camcorder, but it still uses tape and it is clunky, and as a result I have not been using it at all. That’s a shame, because I felt lots of moments in life were not being recorded because my old cameras were not up to snuff. I hope to get alot more saved with the Zi6.

You can see more about it here at Kodak Online  or you can try Amazon too.

What do you get when you combine Gary Numan and Diehard Batteries?

One pretty cool commercial:

YouTube – DieHard Battery vs. Gary Numan via BoingBoing.

Amy Winehouse – He Can Only Hold Her – Doo Wop (That Thing)

I wrote about this before, but the quality of the video was poor. This version of on YouTube of Amy Winehouse performing He Can Only Hold Her – Doo Wop (That Thing) is Live HD and looks great. Sounds great too. A fantastic version of these two songs:

Sad to say it seems not long ago I was commenting on the new sound of people like Amy Winehouse, and now she already seems like so long ago.

Some thoughts on watching “Minority Report” again

In discussions of Science Fiction (SF) films, Blade Runner stands out. (As does Alien, another SF film by Ripley Scott.) I think Minority Report stands up well next to Blade Runner, and in some ways pays homage to it. Many aspects ofMinority Report reflect Blade Runner. First off, both are based on the work of Philip K Dick. Both have a police officer as the main protagonist, a police officer with alot of personal issues he is dealing with. Both protagonist also have an odd relationship with the main female protagonist. If the male protagonist is an outsider, the female protagonist is also an outsider, but more a freak than a loner. Both works feature what can mildly be described as a mad scientist who provides the police officer with insight into what is happening with the female protagonist. From a storyline, there are alot of similarities, and i haven’t read the story the film is based upon, but i am guessing that Spielberg and company emphasized that. Because visually the film echoes aspects of Blade Runner as well. The congested run down nature of the Sprawl in MR reminded me of Los Angeles in BR. The advanced transportation is similar. The run down buildings seem similar. Even the last scene in the first BR (with the voice over, not the Director’s’Cut) reminded me of the cottage scenes in MR. In BR, the Voight-Kampf machine highlights the eye and uses response time of the eye to separate humans from androids. In MR eyescanners are used to identify who you are. In BR there is an eyemaker and when the androids/replicants go to visit him, they play with the spare eyeballs. In MR spare eyeballs also play a signifigant roll. Lastly, both protagonists look like each other. Oh, and they spend alot of time looking at images for clues.

MR is a great film in it’s’own right, though, and it is visually stunning. In BR, Scott went back 40 years into the past to restore fashions and looks he wanted to project 40 years into the future. Spielberg/Kaminsky (cinematographer) resort to creating an almost black and white future with a washed out palatte that supports CGI better but also gives the film a retro look. The film is flooded with complex lighting. It is worthwhile watching it with the sound off just to see the interplay with light on the characters as they move through the film. The palate might be stark, but the tones and complexity of the lighting is tremendous, right down to the juxtaposition of rainy night, sunny day scenes at the end.

Submersion/drowning is a critical theme of the film. Major and minor characters are submerged or drowning, either literally or figuratively. Indeed the main character is drowning in grief. Even the wife of the protagonist is revealing images by dipping them in pools of liquid (not unlike the precogs and their visions themselves, who reveal images by floating in liquid).

Images are also a major element of the film, but really it comes down to vision: what you can see and what you can’t. The film is about images, sight, blindness, the eye. It is ostensibility a blend of film noir/SF genres, but if Blade Runner was a meditation of what the future of the city is, Minority Report is a meditation on what does it mean to see. The precog Agatha asks the protagonist this, but really, it is what the filmmakers are asking us.

Where to go this weekend

Any place that makes you “Le Happy”

From the always great Oliveloaf Design blog

Torrid awesomeness: Martha and the Vandellas doing “Heatwave”

This is from the 60s, but I saw them in the 80s and they were still great. And decades later, this song is still great. And the perfect summer song.