Category Archives: Multi-Media

Stuff you can see and hear (as opposed to just reading)

A Word From Our Sponsors

No, doesn’t have any sponsors.  Not that I would mind someone giving me money for something that I’m already doing for free.  “A Word From Our Sponsors” is my idea for another television reality show.  I’ve worked for UPS for seven years now, and in that time I’ve come up with several ideas for what I think would be great commercials.  Unfortunately, UPS doesn’t accept unsolicited marketing concepts– even from it’s own employees.  With some 400,000 employees, I guess I can understand their position.  This is where “A Word From Our Sponsors” comes into play.

Instead of having commercials in between the show, the show is all about making commercials for specific products, and there aren’t any traditional commercial breaks.  The show starts off with 30 contestants:  10 writers, 10 directors, and 10 graphics specialists.  Each week, teams are randomly assigned with one person from each of the three groups.  At the beginning of the week the CEO of a company makes a presentation about a certain product they would like to promote.  Then each team of three has until the end of the week to come up with an idea for a 30 second commercial, film it, and add any needed computer graphics.  Next all the teams are brought back together with the sponsor to view the results.  Each team gets to score all the other team’s finished product.  The sponsor gets to decide if he wants to “buy” any of the commercials.  If the sponsor purchases a team’s submission the team automatically gets to go on to the next week.  The team with the lowest score gets eliminated.  The next week everything starts over.  The remaining people are randomly assigned new teams, and a new CEO and product line is introduced.

The show should be geared to encourage “outside the box” concepts that are funny, non-traditional, and memorable.  Here are examples of the UPS commercials I’ve thought of:

So, if you are reading this and happen to be the CEO of General Electric or Viacom give me a call and we can work something out.  If you are a nobody, don’t call me– I’ve got a truckload of packages that need to get delivered before I can go home for the night.

Star Trek… 11? I’ve lost count

I have to start out by mentioning that back in the day I used to just skip out of work so I could be one of the very first people to see the latest Star Trek movie on Friday afternoon.  Being a UPS driver doesn’t make this very easy, and I didn’t really want to use one of my two option days I get each year.  So Katherine and I went to the theater on Sunday afternoon to see what all the fuss is about.

My first impression of the movie was, “Wow– they must have saved a lot of money by using the set of ‘Ugly Betty’ as the bridge of the Enterprise.”  Every time they turned a corner on the ship I was expecting to see Vanessa Williams bravely holding up some comically large space weapon with her assistant Marc cowering behind while making sarcastic comments about how the crew dressed such as, “if this is the best outfits the future can come up with, well just phaser me now.”  I’m not quite sure where America Ferrera fits into this situation, but I’ll bet she would stick her nose in everyone’s business and find a quirky resolution to the problem.

Here is a run down of the some of the main characters:

James Kirk: fiesty kiddo who spends most of the movie dangling perilously on the edge of things.

Young Spock: realizing that the television show “Heroes” isn’t going to last forever, Zachary Quinto stepped out of the role of the evil Sylar and hopped on board as Spock.  His biggest challenge for the role: shaving his facial hair between every take.

Old Spock:  according to the movie, Leonard Nemoy was 147 years old when he got sent back in time.  I swear he didn’t look a day over 90.

The Bad Guy:  Had some strange tatoo on his face and went around destroying Federation planets.  I’m not sure if these two facts are related.  Too bad Ricardo Montelbon wasn’t around when they filmed this– now there was a guy you just couldn’t help but hate.

And the big surprise at the end:  There wasn’t any!  None of the main characters were killed because they all have to be kept alive so all the stuff that has already been made at least kind of makes sense.  I guess that’s the problem with making a movie that is both a prequel and a sequel in the Star Trek Universe.

I suspect the next film will focus on how William Shatner became such a bad actor.

The King of Kong

I found this little gem while browsing around the Netflix “Watch Instantly” section.  While a documentary about two grown men obsessing over the old school “Donkey Kong”  video game doesn’t sound very exciting, I got sucked into it the more I watched.  By the end Katherine and I were both sitting at my desk seeing who was going to win in the end.   Here is a teaser trailer on YouTube:

Unfortunately the entire movie isn’t available on the Internet for free, but anyone with a Netflix access can visit the following link to order it or choose the “watch instantly” option.

Netflix link to “The_King_of_Kong”

Side note: I’m a big fan of Netflix, but it really rubs me the wrong way that they built their viewer exclusively around Mircosoft’s Internet Explorer.  The first time I tried this feature I had to spend a half an hour getting updates for IE and Direct X before the first image appeared on my screen.  So I’m giving a Steven Colbert “wag of my finger” to Netflix for not using a cross-browser solution.

Star Wreck

Not everyone keeps as up to date on Finnish Star Trek parodies as they probably should. That’s exactly why I run this website. Ever wonder what happens when 5 Finns, 300 extras, and whole bunch of computing power get mixed together for seven years? The answer is “Star Wreck,” a parody of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Babylon 5”. These guys made an entire movie– and it looks just like a “real” movie. The movie is Finnish and subtitled into English (which in itself provides for some additional jokes in the translation).

Being a follower of the original shows helps, but isn’t required to enjoy the movie. When I wasn’t laughing at the jokes, I kept thinking to myself, “hey, a small group of Finns put this together– there is hope for the Universe!”

Here is the trailer from YouTube.  More information, including the full movie, bonus information, and future movie releases, can be found free at

Olde English

This is a sketch comedy group in New York. I was having a hard time picking out my favorite clip to post, but I finally decided on “The Parks Department”. The mix of music and stock footage feels a bit choppy, but it gives the video a certain charm. Also, this one showcases all of the actor’s talents. Their website at has a complete library of their work. Other top skits to look for include “Photo Booth,” “The Door Store,” and “Pizza Delivery.”

Midnight Chimes

I originally found Midnight Chimes when looking for the lyrics to the “Free Credit Report” commercial. They have created an interesting mix of sketches, and they really hate the RIAA. Not that anyone really likes the organization that sues ordinary people for thousands of dollars for downloading music from the wrong places on the Internet, but they have gone through the trouble of creating multiple videos about the subject. This one is a parody of the dating website eHarmony.

Pre-taped call in show

I’m working on making a collection of the best unknown sketch comedy efforts on the Internet. I almost didn’t include this one since the actor in question is now very well known. But way back in 1995 he starred in a late night comedy show called “Mr. Show with Bob and David.” One of the twists of the show involved the fact that all the skits in each show were connected in some way. My favorite piece of work was called the “Pre-taped Call in Show.” Pay attention to how much hair he loses in the three weeks the show has been on the air.

Three Dimensional Printing

The second video I submitted for the Xprize “Crazy Green Idea” describes a way to use 3D printing to print entire houses. 3D printing is a lot like 2D printing, but it prints thousands of thin layers on top of each other to create a three dimensional object in the end.

The video involved some elaborate work-arounds so that I could get various footage into my video which probably is not legally mine to distribute. For some reason, I couldn’t just pop in my DVD of “Terminator 2” and import it directly into the movie editing software.

First I played the DVD clips I wanted for my final video on my projector in the living room while I filmed it with my camcorder. Then I imported it on my computer and created the background video. Next I moved my computer so I could connect it to the projector and set up the camcorder to film the screen. Finally, I started the camcorder recording, started the background video, and then jumped up on an ottoman and read the script. For anyone wanting to turn me into the authorities, I took the introduction “The Matrix” (played forward and then backwards because I realized it wasn’t long enough), “Terminator 2”, and “The Jetsons.”

Xprize “crazy green idea”

A few months ago the people over at Xprize hosted a “crazy green idea” competition. Entries were to be two minute long videos posted on YouTube that described the goal for their next contest.

My first idea was to use wave energy from the ocean to desalinate water. I sang it roughly to the tune of the “free credit report” song. I tried synchronizing it to a guitar track of the commercial I found online, but I could never get it to sound quite right.  Maybe I was trying to sing in a different key then they were playing.  So in the end I just sang my song without any background. I threw in some colored background, music lyrics, and various images to try and keep the video as engaging as possible.

I was surfing on the Internet
And couldn’t believe my eyes
When I found out what they are planning
for the next xprize

Just make a video of
Your crazy green plan
Upload it to YouTube
And you could be the man

Let’s get some drinking water for everyone
A little clever thinking just might get it done
More than a billion people live near the sea
We just need to reduce the ocean’s salinity

Reverse osmosis can get this water pure
But it takes too much energy to be a large scale cure
Now imagine a device that pumps tap water from the sea
The best part how it’s all powered by wave energy

The waves cause distillation in chamber number one
By lowering the pressure very close to none
This vaporizes water which is what we need to do
The wave action sends it into chamber number two

The next part is to get all this pure water on to land
So it gets pumped up through a hose and up onto the sand
The whole process needs no added energy
And it will keep on pumping for all eternity

Let’s get some drinking water for everyone
A little clever thinking just might get it done
More than a billion people live near the sea
We just need to reduce the ocean’s salinity

Side note:
I watched about twenty different versions of the Free Credit Report commercials: the original commercials, parodies of the commercials, and even a few videos showing how to play the music on a guitar. My favorite parody, by far, was called “Free Sexual History Report.” Here is the video:

Another side note:

As much as I like these commercial, it turns out the company is somewhat misleading about what they do. They charge a monthly fee to keep an eye on your credit report, so I’m not sure where the “free” part comes in. However, by law anyone can get a copy of their credit report directly from the three reporting companies once a year for free. So enjoy the commercials, but if you are worried about your credit report, check out:

It is quite interesting to see what is on your credit report, even though the site doesn’t have any catchy music to go along with the information.