Sunday, March 18, 2007

So Fresh I'm not sure what to Make of It

Tonight, whilst perusing the Drudge Report, I clicked on a link promising a video--unauthorized by Barack Obama but allegedly produced by his minions--analogizing Hillary Clinton to Big Brother a la 1984. What I got was Apple's Macintosh introduction commercial reworked with Clinton's face and voice in place of Mr. Brother's. Here's the video:

The ad would have been extremely effective except for one thing: I tend to deconstruct advertising, and something in the video caught my eye and distracted me completely. Right around the 41st second, I noticed something that could not have possibly been in the original Apple commercial--in the Clinton version the Runner wears what looks like an iPod on her waist. There's no way Apple was working on anything resembling the iPod back in '84, right?

I checked the original, and the iPod does not appear. Of course it doesn't. But somebody sure put forth a lot of effort to get it into the new one. Are we looking at new footage or frame-by-frame Photoshopping? More importantly, why add it to a political piece at all? What kind of conspiracy are we dealing with here?

The original Apple ad (L) and the same frame from the modified version.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Move Over, Mii

Oh, the joys of console gaming. One never knows which one to buy. If you want HD graphics with the potential to wander into the Uncanny Valley plus a built-in Blu-Ray player, the Playstation 3 is the only way to go. If you want fun, motion-interactive games a grandmother could play, the Wii's your best bet. If you frown on floating-point calculations and prefer a GPU with L2 cache, an HD-DVD add-on option, and you're addicted to Halo, why Microsoft has a nifty little box called the 360 you might want to check out. Choosing just one system proves difficult, because there are so few points of comparison.

A MiiBut a few exist. Sony and Nintendo noticed the raging success of Xbox Live and created their own online networks. Nintendo's Wii even introduced customizable characters that serve as proxies in certain games. They resemble cute, animated weebles as they hop toward fly balls and bounce around tennis courts. I thought the concept was clever even though function clearly took priority over form. And then I saw this video.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Darn Unreliable Sixth Sense

My sixth sense failed me today, in a pretty significant way. No, I'm not talking about that sixth sense. I'm talking about the real one: the ability to sense where the parts of one's body are. There's no slick monosyllabic word for this sense, and that's probably why it hasn't been added to the list of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. It's real nonetheless. It's the sense that allows you to close your eyes, stretch out your arms, and touch your index fingers together (go ahead, try it--I just did).

Anyway, as I surveyed my first pool today, I cursed the wind storm that had deposited a layer of dust on the plaster of every single on of my pools. The dust means I have the awesome privilege of vacuuming every square inch of every pool--doubling the amount of work it takes to get the job done. I thought it couldn't possibly get any worse. But a little bit later I was transferring leaves from my pool serviceman's net (or "rake" as we say in the biz), things got worse as sense numero seis let me down.

I readjusted the placement of my right foot and stepped not on solid ground as I had expected, but in seven-foot-deep water. Time slows down when you're a pool serviceman and you realize you're about to go all in on a watery hand. I quickly realized what was happening and had just enough time to think "oh gosh, this is the big one, the one that ruins my cell phone" and desperately lean to the left. The slow-motion lean did the trick. It was not "the big one." Only my right leg got soaked. Disaster averted. Final verdict: squishy sock for the rest of the work day (my backup socks were in the laundry).