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Author Archive

‘Away We Go’ Is A Great Example of Insightful Indie Film

June 15, 2009

I have to admit that after seeing the trailer for Away We Go before a couple of recent movies, I wasn’t entirely sold. While the trailer wasn’t awful, it certainly didn’t seem like anything more than a here-we-go-again indie movie featuring a pregnant chick and cartoon inspired graphics. Checking out the Full Cast and Crew page on IMDb revealed much more: top notch director Sam Mendes and a couple of other Michel Gondry film alums worth noting (i.e. cinematographer Ellen Kuras). After seeing the movie on a delightfully pleasant Sunday afternoon, I have to say I think the trailer sells the film short.

That’s why you never trust the trailer. ‘Year One’ anyone? Keep reading!

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Your Name… or Your Life!

June 12, 2009
These 2 are not be related at all, but I tried to make an analogy.

These 2 are not be related at all, but I tried to make an analogy.

Which is it going to be, sir? I know I’ve been watching a lot of HBO’s Deadwood lately and I know I must seem like I’m on some sort of digital persona kick, but on the eve of tonight’s online gold rush I just can’t help but post about this. Tonight is the dawn of a new era. In case you were living under a rock or you didn’t have the Internet, tonight is the night (at 12:01 AM EST) that Facebook will offer personalized addresses for individual profiles. Tired of just being a number on Facebook? Now’s your chance to differentiate yourself from the masses with a personal domain, i.e. facebook.com/DJSteve. (If you try to take this one, I will find you. And kill you.) However, if you surf in at a casual 12:03 AM you may find yourself on the short end of the stick. Don’t be surprised how many Richard Richardsons there are in the world. You may have thought you were the only Paul Clandestino in the universe but in fact there are 3, and both PClandestino and PaulC are already taken!

Sorry, Paul! Keep reading to ease the pain…

Thoughts on Digital Identity in an Increasingly Transparent Future

June 5, 2009
An example of an individual who has mapped out his digital identity

An example of an individual who has mapped out his digital identity

How many tweets have you deleted so far in your life? How many photos have you de-tagged since you joined Facebook? If you’re like me, over the years you’ve determined that all Facebook photos and ill-timed tweets are not created equal and are not all fit to print. As I’m sure many people have realized, social networking sites thrive on the evaporation of a wall of privacy that didn’t even exist 10 years ago. Contact information, personal photographs, and self expression have exploded on the internet, all under the guise of “privacy” in the form of marking a check box to disallow certain people access to your digital life. Ten years ago (or about that time) I remember having my grandfather over for dinner. It was the night we decided to show him the Internet. We determined the best way to simultaneously blow his mind and sufficiently freak him out was to show him that his personal information was available without much searching. When we hit up whatever yellow pages site was popular at the time, we quickly located him and showed him that his address was available for anyone to see. We took it a step further by showing him how we could get directions to his house using that address. He wasn’t angry. He wasn’t terrified. The best way I could describe his reaction would be to call him mystified. I’ll never forget what he said after his jaw finally un-dropped: “If I didn’t put that stuff on there, then how did it get there?” We all had a good laugh about the whole thing, but part of me always ruminated on what he said. Much like a child can often see through something and arrive at a very simple explanation for something immensely complicated, my grandfather had showed me something increasingly alarming about the Internet. (more…)

“Up” Tackles Issues of Life, Death, and Fufillment With Animated Majesty

June 2, 2009

The definition of majesty (according to my Mac dictionary) is this: 1. impressive stateliness, dignity, or beauty. Without knowing the specific definition of the word, my use of “majesty” to describe Pixar’s latest installment Up couldn’t have been a better choice (besides scrumtrulescent). My enjoyment of the film should be fairly self-evident, but what may not be is the lengths to which Up displayed supreme artistry and storytelling throughout. Helmed by first time director, but former Pixar writer, Pete Docter, Up may not serve as a typical example of Pixar’s silver screen magic formula. Going into the movie, I had little knowledge of the story and its characters beyond the few scenes I had seen in the trailers/teasers. Walking out of the movie, I was surprised to discover how little actually transpired over the hour and a half adventure epic. However, so much occurred on an emotional level, that it’s hard to say that it wasn’t as big of an adventure as Finding Nemo or Wall-e.

Hold onto your balloons and keep reading!

MovieStinger Will Save You Minutes of Embarrassment From Your Geek Friends

May 28, 2009

Picture 3If you’re like me, all your friends are geeks. But like most things today, the range of the geek spectrum is so wide that the whole insult can be broken down into hundreds of niche (is it neech or nish?) categories. You’ve got your classic stand-by, the comic book geek who can tell you the backstories of all the characters (extras included) you see in the Xavier Mansion in X2. There’s the sci-fi geek who’s read every Robert Heinlein book, can summarize the plotlines of both new and old series of Battlestar Galactica, and can give you a rundown of the military classes of the Galactic Empire from the Emperor’s Royal Guard (red guys) down to the camouflaged peons patrolling the forest moon of Endor. Then you’ve got your techno-geeks; the kind of people that hang on every loaded word uttered by Michael Arrington, have 3 cell phones all with different service providers, and who jail-broke their iPhones on the 1.1.2 software release. These people thrive on a superiority complex. They are who my friends are of course, certainly not me in any capacity.

But regardless of your class of geek, there is one all encompassing tell that will always reveal a geek’s true colors: intricate knowledge about the movie scenes (aptly called Stingers) that take place after the credits have rolled. For your consideration, one of the classic Stingers from last summer:

Until recently these scenes were only made apparent by word of mouth and internet forum arguments. A great new site called MovieStinger, introduced to me by one of my geek friends Kyle, does all the work for you, giving you a list of every movie (past and present) that features some kind of post-credits Easter egg and letting you rate how important the scene actually is.

More MovieStinger goodness after the jump!

Passion Pit’s ‘Manners’ Delivers Fun For The Whole Family

May 26, 2009

The only reason a review of Passion Pit’s first and new LP is acceptable this late in May is because the Fog has never purported to be a music blog. It’s true that the official May 18th release of the Boston based synth-pop group has been greatly overshadowed by weeks of anticipation on music blogs around the web, but the tangible release of this album is still a call for celebration as the album is a celebration in itself. Not the kind of party your girlfriend promises will be more fun than the guys-night-out you just turned down… or the party  where you were the only one who dressed in business-casual instead of just business. Nope, this album is a celebration of the most primal and raw kind. It won’t take long upon listening to understand what I’m talking about. The challenge of not dancing is something few albums present these days. Even fewer albums present the challenge of not dancing upon listen after listen after listen. Manners will give you every reason to dance, sing, shout, and gyrate in a way that will make you stop and say, “Wait… who are these guys?” as you put “Little Secrets” on repeat wherever you are at the moment.

Try to stop moving your body and keep reading!

Hulu Isn’t As Good As It Should Be, Right?

May 21, 2009
Who were the ad wizards that came up with this one?

Who were the ad wizards that came up with this one?

As soon as any new tech wave breaks from the vast, endless sea of start-ups, gadgets, and Twitter trends, I am always the first one to ride. For whatever reason, I was late to the Hulu party but now I’m not quite sure why I bothered RSVPing, let alone attending. Here’s the theory: offer easy-to-use online streaming of popular television shows and movies and support the typical advertising backend with embedded short, socially conscientious promotional material. Man, I have to say, that sounds AWESOME! And now the reality: HULUFAIL. Last night I wanted to watch some quality network television dramatic programming on the internet. To my horror, Kings has yet to post another episode beyond Ep 5: Judgment Day. The wheels in my head began turning: what is a new show I was mildly interested in watching  but missed the premiere of? Joss Whedon’s next attempt at Buffy success, Dollhouse was the first thing that came to mind. And what episodes of the show was Hulu featuring? Episodes 8 – 12. I’m sure I can figure out what’s going on by starting with Episode 8 of a highly complex, sci-fi geek-out show about people who exist in multiple worlds at the same time… oh wait… I can’t, because my IQ isn’t 300.

(It’s closer to 176, but still.) Keep reading!

Origins May or May Not Contain Any Elements of X-Men Lure From Your Childhood

May 1, 2009

First and foremost, I want to start off this post by defending myself. Never a good place to start, I know, but I want it to be made clear that I am in no way an expert on a) films or b) the X-Men canon. That being said, I went to the midnight screening of X-Men Origins: Wolverine tonight like a good geek and walked away looking for a drink. A drink to forget, not remember, Logan (fanboys are with me on this one, right?). Despite the film having been widely released on the internet 3 weeks ago via BitTorrent sans completed VFX shots and proper score, there was still a large, rowdy crowd, pumped to get the first taste of a nerd stacked summer movie roster being rolled out by the 5 families. It’s been a long time since I was last disappointed by an X-Men film; the perfect amount of time for most filmgoers to ponder, “Wait, was X-Men: The Last Stand awesome or terrible, I can’t remember.” I’m pretty sure it was terrible, but after leaving the theater tonight, I’m also pretty sure that Origins made The Last Stand look like Godfather II. Frank language and straight talking from here on out. (more…)

‘Why They Hate Us,’ Possible Answer #2: Gourmet Pet Bakeries

April 23, 2009
Yes, these baked goods are for dogs

Yes, these baked goods are for dogs

Last time I was riled up enough to comment on the pitiful state of American consumerism culture, the target was Domino’s: a national food chain that can sell us booger infused culinary delights and still have us calling each Tuesday for that 5-5-5 deal. But this time I’ve been excited by something much more local and entrepreneurial. A gourmet pet bakery can be found in almost any place where money grows on trees and the only way to tell the difference between houses is by their number, but in Los Angeles County, they seem to have the monopoly on senseless ways to spend money during a recession. They beat out other popular options including 2) seeing Watchmen a 2nd time to make more sense of it and 3) spending $700 for sold out Bruce Springsteen tickets (I have a feeling he’ll be around next year, guys). As noted in the previous post in this series, the theme stems from a Fareed Zakaria article in which the famous Newsweek pundit attempts to define why the Muslim world doesn’t seem to like American Idol quite as much as we do. Now, I’m adding gourmet pet bakeries to the list. (more…)

Kindle 2 Should Warrant the Closing of All Libraries Around the World

April 22, 2009

WARNING: This post may include satire!

Doesnt to kindle mean to burn things?

Doesn't "to kindle" mean "to burn things"?

It’s official, Gadget Gurus and Electronic Book Evangelists. Kindle 2, Amazon.com’s update to their wildly successful electronic book system, has been released and is actually obtainable without long wait times. Finally, the time has come to close every library on the planet to make room for more Amazon shipping facilities. And it’s about time! I’m sick and fucking tired of waiting the maximum 24 hours for my Blu-Rays and vacuum cleaners to ship; I want to enjoy both… NOW. I think we can all agree that the “utility” of libraries has become somewhat diminished with the advent of, I don’t know… the INTERNET. With colleges around the country accepting Wikipedia as a viable bibliographic source (Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1993? He did as soon as I change the entry), it’s time to get rid of all those dusty old book shelves wasting precious warehouse space.

Keep (e-) reading!