April 10, 2007

  • newsandnotesUSE

    THE “CULTURAL BLENDER” INTERNET MOVIE: In the last “News and Notes” column, written on March 6th, I first “announced” my intentions to create a “Cultural Blender” movie for the website. During the past month, I have been spending most of my “free” time constructing the animated video with my latest video editing software, Sony Vegas Movie Studio+ DVD, a program which I recommend highly. In the past, I’ve had to think of ways to creatively use the fades, wipes, transitions, and effects that were “included” with other software such as Pinnacle Studio. With Vegas, I visualize what effects I want to show in the video, and then set about tyring to find a way to create them using the infinitely editable effects and transitions included with the Sony software. I’m pleasantly surprised by the results, and I’m fairly close to “premiering” the video on Xanga and YouTube. I’ve shown the five minutes I’ve finished so far to two of my friends, (one is a graphic artist) and both have given me positive reinforcement. I am quite satisfied with most of what I have online at this time, but the new “Cultural Blender” is my “masterpiece” so far. I am trying to include as many “segments” featuring sound and images of the “icons” chosen for the Blender in the video as possible. I will probably have to “split” the video into separate parts. That way I can “present” the first six or seven minute video while constructing the remaining footage into another part. As I’ve been regularly announcing on this blog, I am also redesigning the website at the same time, and I’m adding composite images to the “pages” I’m creating for each “icon” in the blender. Last week I created the “Marilyn Monroe” page. Icons featured in the video so far are (in order of appearance) Shirley Temple, Coca Cola, Napster, John Wayne, Jesus Christ, Elvis, John F. Kennedy, Neil Armstrong on the moon, Star Trek, Howdy Doody, The Lone Ranger, Davy Crockett, Marilyn Monroe, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Planned segments for which I already have images, video, and sound footage are cigarette advertisements, the smiley face, Richard Nixon, and the Ford Mustang.  smallblenderThe segment for Coca Cola, which I created this past Saturday, is quite elaborate, and I actually had to “edit” it down from over a minute to about 40 seconds. I “collected” a lot of great high quality images from the web, including old coca cola advertisements which I tweaked with my image editor to make them more “vibrant”. I might “spin off” a separate Coca Cola video (this is one of the “advertising icons”  and I’m not getting paid by the Coca Cola Company.) Looking for old ads on YouTube I found a contest that Coca Cola was sponsoring asking YouTubers to make their own ads. My footage isn’t an ‘ad’ per se but uses a lot of well known Coke imagery, including the polar bear and Santa Claus (who also will have his own animated segment.) As I’ve written in some of my Christmas pieces here on the blog, the image of Jolly Old Saint Nick we take for granted nowadays was originally ingrained in the public conciousness because of Coca Cola adverts.

    I’m very close to “releasing” the video. I only hope I haven’t lost my complete Xanga readership by the time I do. I haven’t really been “blogging” at all. However I do try to visit the few who have been regularly commenting, even though my own entries have been very few and far between. When I’m in a creative mood, then everything stops except for the work at hand. Over one month already, and only five minutes of video. Animation is a very slow process.

    EVICTION: I appealed to the humanity of the owner of our duplex. It was a week after the eviction notice was posted till I actually had some face time with him, and he emerged from his minivan with a smile and an outstretched hand. I told him I didn’t know why he wanted to shake my hand since he had just evicted me. We began what became a fairly long conversation. The upshot of which is that he “thought” I was going to move anyway, and he had prospective tenants already picked out for our house. I told him the only time I’d ever “planned ” on moving was in a year. He seemed disappointed, but he told me we can stay. Joel has to clean up the mess he lives in however, and when I told Joel, he actually started to clean up a bit this past weekend. The owner says he can’t get the complete property appraised properly until our house is in better shape. This is why he wants to do more “renovations”. I told him I’d help him to complete as many of these renovations as need to be done, and I would help clean up after my roomie a bit in order to maintain a better presentation to any future appraisers. The owner seemed pleased aobut this, and so for now I’m not worried about eviciton.

    THE WHOLE TOOTH: Someday I’ll have to write a blog entry about my “dental history”. At the age of 53 (54 on Beltane, or May 1st) I still have most of my teeth. The bottom row of teeth in front are mine, however they are not “live” but were collected by my mother off the ground after they were knocked out during a car wreck I had at the age of 14. The were reinserted using root canal surgery, which was fairly new back in 1968. I’ve had oral surgery, numeous root canals, and two complete sets of braces by the time I graduated from high school. Suffice it to say, I stayed away from dentists most of my adult life, but I have had very few cavities. Two years ago one of my fillings fell out of a back molar, and I had to have the crown replaced, which cost me $750.00 dollars after insurance. I’ve had pain in an upper molar for quite a few years,on and off, and recently the pain was too much for me to bear. Two weeks ago, my dentist pulled the tooth, and I just got the sutures removed yesterday. There was damage to the root, which was causing the pain. You can’t see the “absence” of the tooth when I smile, and it’s in such a place that my tongue doesn’t automatically search for the hole, so I think I’ll wait a while before having anything done. (I can’t afford it anyway.) An implant is $3200.00 and a “permanent bridge” is $1600.00. My dentist tells me my teeth will “shift” eventually but I don’t have to make a decision to have anything done right away.

    XANGA has some new features, since I last posted an entry. Latest is “themed pages” which is probably like “skins” which I don’t use anyway. I checked out the “beta” and the software indicated I couldn’t use it because of code already on my page. I always like to experiment with presentation and might tweak my Xanga so I can use the “themes”. Xanga seems to have been changing so much in the past year. The main page looks more like YouTube (which I’ve never liked) and “Featured Content” seems to have given way to “boosted” content and “most discussed” entries. I haven’t figured out if eprops even count for any of these new content modules. I don’t care about “Pulse” since I don’t have a cellphone, but I guess you can blog from your phone, using “txt msgng”. One is limited to the amount of words one can blog using the “pulse” and I can never be limited to the amount of words that “collide” on this blog. I already mentioned in an earlier entry that we can create or join more than 8 blogrings!

    Well, I’m outta here for another week. Hopefully, next week I’ll be able to show you the new video!!!!!  And it’s been forever since I’ve visited a lot of people on my sub list and on the Island, so I do hope to “get around” and read some entries in the Xangasphere. I was summoned for jury duty last week, but didn’t have to serve. So I actually started to read another book. It’s called “Judge and Jury” by thriller writer James Patterson. (an apt choice for jury duty, I thought) I was somewhat shocked to find a paperback cost me al most ten bucks. That used to be the price for hardcover books. Paperbacks were only a few dollars. Seems like everything is increasing in price except my paycheck.


Comments (20)

  • Hi Mike,

    I nominate you for the best site of the year, no, make it the decade!  What a lot of work you have put into your site, always something new to see.  Thx.

  • I’m looking forward to your work on Disney, Star Trek, and a lot else.
    I’m glad the eviction thing is moving to the background. Usually talking to people in person is the best way to get results. Good job! I hope this is the impetus Joel needs to get his act in gear. There’s only so much you can, and should, do.
    rYc: Yes, theology should include more than just Christianity. I’ve studied Buddhism and Taoism, among other things. However, I am most familiar with the Christian tradition, and the school to which I’m applying is a Catholic university and will have a Catholic slant. This is cool, because the Catholics have some groovy mystics.
    I’m thrilled that you’ve been so enlightened about the self/other thing. Modernist literature is riddled with the argument, and Robert Pirsig’s /Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance/ did some neat postmodern stuff with it, too. They taught us in a few psych classes that children begin to distinguish between self and other at a very young age. I know that my own development in that area was incomplete. I wonder what the results would be of an experiment that manipulated young people not to see the difference. I don’t advocate such play, but there are varying degrees of influence….
    LOL @ Catholic Guilt patterns. My parents never tried to make me feel guilty for anything I did unless they thought it was wrong. It had nothing to do with the religion. I guess my own study of the faith had me questioning things like birth control. Other than that, not going to church isn’t really that big a deal. I believe that religion is a tool that can be used for good or evil, that it’s by no means the only tool for faith, etc. It’s an ongoing discussion I have with various people who seem to misunderstand what I say about how involved I am in religion. I guess I don’t express myself clearly and remain intentionally vague.
    I love the musical “Camelot,” Disney’s “Sword and the Stone” (which is heavily influenced by White’s novel), and most other Arthur lore I come across. I’m not so much fond of recent interpretations like “First Knight” with Gere and Connery, but you can’t win them all, right? Might doesn’t make right.
    Peace, Mike!

  • Hi Michael!
    I’m glad you can sleep in peace again…
    I went to visit your “Marilyn Monroe page”. It’s fantastic.
    The site is great… the idea of the blender… It leaves me speechless… The creativity, the work involved… Great!
    Don’t you mind for not commenting so often. We are all here waiting for your video!!!
    I hope you had a happy Easter.
    Have a wonderful work week!!!

  • Hiya Michael! :wave:

    So glad to read about the renewed situation regarding the eviction! Way to hang in there!

    BE blessed!
    Steve :sunny:

  • Glad to hear you’re not being thrown out!  I need to go to the dentist one of these days – but $$$.  Oh well! Have a good day!

  • Glad you no longer are being evicted that is a terrible threat. Judi

  • Hope the landlord is good to his word – give you some peace of mind so that you can proceed with the project.

  • Loved and agree with your first comment here…
    Hello dear Mike
    I am always here and then poof I am gone again
    but I never forget you…you have shared so much of yourself here
    that it would be impossible to do so.

  • This is some blog!  I would boost you if I knew how!

  • I love the Coca cola building in Los Angeles and when they had the bottle cap promotions in the 60′s me and my brothers were collectors of the bottle caps that covered the States of America and I forgot what else.

    The dentist is right, my teeth in my upper jaw drifted so much my dentures don’t fit (should have worn them more often) What they don’t tell you is that tooth infections causes plaque to build up in the veins. Thank your good dental hygiene for a better life….

    Gee looks like diplomacy helped prevent your eviction. I knew you were a persuasive guy…

  • Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your nice comment on the way I present my blogs. I do try to have them looking as attractive as possible. Suppose it’s just the way I am. I have to make sure I’ve done the best possible job I can with anything I do.

    I’m so glad to see you’re not going to be evicted! That’s what I used to loath about renting, the insecurity of not knowing how long you really had in the house/apartment. At least you’ve now spoken to your landlord about this, and all is well now.

    It’s incredible to think Marilyn Monroe would be 81!! :eek: You’re so right, her legend will live on forever more.

    Sorry I’ve not been around too much. You know how it is. Life just seems to get far too busy. See you later, Mike. :wave:

  • Gee mike I had no idea you were going through such a tough time. I hope things get better for you friend.

  • Hello Mike.  Have missed you.  Still having to use the library pc though while waiting on my replacement laptop.  I can’t wait to get back and catch up with you.  The eviction notice sounded scary.  Hope that you and Joel are okay now.  Feel free to email me if you get a few moments.  Hope you are okay.


  • Hey thanks for the comment. I don’t really feel particulary innovative. I opened up a cafe site a while ago, where I asked heaps of questions as well, but it was a lot of work. I’ve basically just taken other peoples ideas and twisted them slightly into my own. I have hundreds of ideas- whether they are my own, or ones I’ve seen on other sites. I can’t wait to see people write for me, but I’m having my doubts at the moment, because I’ve had the thing open for a week or two, and had next to none feedback. I asked fg to feature me today, so hopefully that will interest people. I think I might write for you from my main xanga. I’ll see. Again thanks for stopping by =)

    Steph, teenager trying to make a difference, explorer and class clown [lol]

  • Thanks for your comment, Mike.  Asking to be friends on Netflix has much less to do with social networking than it does with looking at your movie list, ratings, and recommendations and then stealing your ideas.    Your insight about sleeping and drugs are interesting.  Hell, with all of your blogs you’ve managed to touch on pretty much everything that I find interesting (sex, drugs, rock’n'roll, sleep and dreaming, religion, philosophy/metaphysics/consciousness, and a bit of silly rhetoric.  I’m sure there’s more, but you usually do a good job).  I hope you have a great week!

  • I will keep popping in every now and then to see if Mike has dished up something new. I did not had time to write and visit as much as I like to ..I will not even consider at this stage to play around with the new themes…Maybe later when things are slower again I will experiment a bit.

  • OK, I’m subbing you only because you are one really cool person with a lot of zest for life. 

  • Mr. Mike,
    I apologize for not visiting much this semester. It’s been really crazy around here. It’s been enough to be able to get on here and let people know that I’m still alive. I appreciate your kind words and I will try to keep up with the internet island topics. I hope you have a great week. Peace out and take care.

  • To be sure, I knew about the Kent State shooting when I wrote that blog. Tired now; write more later; peace and love!

  • *
    Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts
    as long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog?

    My website is in the very same niche as yours and my users would truly benefit from some of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this alright with you.



Post a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *