Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sally Mopp Hates Winter

Movie Dragon Gets The Point

In the movie Dungeons And Dragons, an evil mage has imprisoned a dragon in his dungeon fortress. The mage acquires a magic specter that is supposed to control the dragon. The portcullis to the dragon's cell is raised (as seen in the accompanying image) but the monster won't obey the mage.

The portcullis is dropped, spearing and crushing the unruly dragon. Since the dragon was swearing, that makes the portcullis a billingsgate.

Howling Success Song

Christina Nori (guitar) and Sarah Mundy (drum) perform a howler of a song at the Koffee Kat. Sat. evening, 2/26/11. Video: Luke T. Bush

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What's Bugging Ducky?

Once again WIRY Radio "personality" Ducky Drake has blasted the Plattsburgh Public Library during his latest "Is It Just Me?" commentary. (Hear it here.)

Ducky says the library has a "sweet deal," citing how it closed during a bad snowstorm, so bad that the police told people to stay off the roads. Unlike the police and fire departments, there is no reason why PPL had to stay open that day. Ducky was upset that the library staff got a paid for staying home. He rants that the library costs too much money, it's a great financial weight on Plattsburgh City.

Really? How much will the city save if a library employee is forced to drive on bad streets during a major snowstorm and has a serious car accident? How much will the city have to pay out in medical insurance plus the employee's lost time? And why leave the library open when the only ones who will show up will be the staff, not patrons who are too smart not to venture out into blowing snow and uncleared streets and sidewalks. Like they say, if there are more people in the band than the audience, cancel the show.

Another part of the alleged "sweet deal" is PPL had President's Day off. Ducky snarked that the library should have days off for other presidential birthdays like Polk and Coolidge.

At the end of his puerile tirade Ducky gave PPL a warning (actually it was a "Warning, warning, warning," to use his redundant wording): Don't expect the city to bail you out if you ask for more money. Ducky states PPL is facing a deficit in its budget, it will run out of money in the fall. He advised PPL to start raising funds on its own through bake sales, donation canisters, street drives, whatever.

Why such animosity? I contacted via email someone close to Ducky who knows how Ducky thinks, an inside source. Here is the interview:

= = =

LTB: Thanks for the interview.

Mr. B: You're welcome.

LTB: Now you say you're an inside source close to Ducky?

Mr. B: That's right. I'm the bug that crawled up his--

LTB: Hey, this is a family blog. Anyway, why does Ducky hate the library so much, especially the employees?

Mr. B: Simple, he's jealous. He doesn't have a sweet deal job as he thinks the library staff has. He has to work holidays behind a hot microphone, his voice only heard by the ten people who listen to WIRY, eight of them asleep in the nursing home, the other two comatose in intensive care.

LTB: His job isn't that bad. All he has to do is summarized news articles from the Press-Republican newspaper, free news with no hard work, and twice a week bloviate like Rush Limbaugh without the charm.

Mr. B: No argument there. But I'm the bug of jealousy. I only work with a weak susceptible mind. I'm just doing what God intended for me.

LTB: Obviously. I appreciate you taking the time to clarify this issue.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Latest Scoop Is The Lack Of One

Disgusting details at my public service blog, Dogtown 12901. Here's the latest poop:

-- Weather Advisory

-- Illiterate And Inconsiderate

Not safe for work or meal time. You've been warned.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wanna See My YouTube Video? You Might Have To Move To Siberia

I'm not out to rip off anyone. I believe in fair use, i.e., taking someone's work and mixing it in with other portions of artistic expression to create something new. I'm against plagiarism, stealing credit for another person's work. I'm against exploiting an artist's talent to make unfair profits.

As you notice there are no ads at this blog. Almost all of my creative endeavors are for personal expression, not focused on making money or even breaking even. Now if someone takes my work in its entirety, claims it as their own and makes money from it, then there's a problem.

I'm learning how to digitally edit video and audio. It's a hobby, not a business. Recently I put up a montage of images I found via Google using "Venus" as a search keyword and then linking them together with transitional EFX, ergo its title "Transit of Venus." Apparently there was no problem using those images after I had uploaded my project.

In the tags I mentioned the band "Shocking Blue" because I used its old hit entitled "Venus" as a music soundtrack. I found a free download of the song via Google. No sooner than my video was up, this greeted me:

So I uploaded the video sans music, no soundtrack, and that wasn't blocked. Apparently WMG -- Warner Music Group -- had a problem with my song choice. Of course, the video lost a key component. I added this description to the musicless copy:

OK, I'm assuming that the original version with the soundtrack was blocked by the Warner Music Group (WMG). So here's it without the music. Now if you want to really enjoy it, cue up your legally purchased copy of the song "Venus" by Shocking Blue and start playing it when the first image appears after the credit title. Or go elsewhere on the Net, repeatedly play a copy of the song until it becomes a mindworm, and then let it keep playing in your head while watching my video. Of course, "recording" a song in your head that way might violate the copyright of WMG. They might send out the Thought Police to block that song from your memory.

Let me also add that I don't think my fair use of the song "Venus" will bankrupt WMG. If anything, it will probably jog people's memories and create an interest in it and Shocking Blue.

After seeing -- not hearing -- my song-castrated video I decided to press on, learning how others counter-challenged megacorp WMG, once again using Google. I found out how to file a dispute with YouTube when a video is being challenged re: an alleged copyright violation. So now the video is unblocked -- at least at the time of this writing. You can find it here:

And if it's not there, then WMG has stifled one person's freedom of expression. But not completely. Since the restriction pertains to the USA, you'll have to travel to Siberia and use a computer there to see my little "transgression."

WMG: Promoting universal standards.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bad Manners: The Video

Still learning how to edit video by compiling scenes of previous works. Here's my latest effort:

This time I learned how to add transitional effects between scenes. The image below is a screencap of one effect.

It's amazing what can be done with a home computer. Who needs Hollywood?

Monday, February 07, 2011

Hollywood Remakes: Even The Titles Are Better

It's seems no matter how obscure the movie the creative geniuses in Hollywood have to remake old films. Apparently those geniuses don't have an iota of creativity.

And along the way, to show that modern movie productions are superior, maybe the original title of the old film will be redone for today's audiences. Take the movie, "I Eat Your Skin." The remake will be called "I Consume Your Epidermis."

There's also "I Spit On Your Grave" which would become "I Orally Disrespect Your Burial Spot With Projectile Saliva."

Are we living in a great time for entertainment or not?

Knitting Club: The Uke Song

So what do you do when you end up with a herky-jerky video that requires a good dose of Dramamine before viewing? Well, the audio part is OK (albeit in mono) and some of the video frames are fairly sharp, so it's time to think like a still photographer with a PowerPoint projector and a music track. Here's the results of my salvage effort:

Safety tip: When using a digital video camcorder, if you're going to move the camera around (i.e., panning), turn off the damn image stabilization mode.

I've got a lot to learn about video. It took me six hours screwing around to make this video montage.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Video Distractions

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting that often here at this blog. Of course, winter weather motivates me so much...

The other reason is that I'm getting into another hobby: digital video. Most of my efforts have been using previous material to re-edit into goofy mini-movie mash-ups. All my video projects can be found here:

Here's one example of a re-edit where I provide some commentary regarding a "fan" of this blog:

And as for completely original video shot by yours truly, here is my first attempt at recording a live performance at the Koffee Kat, featuring the local group The Knitting Club:

Of course, I shot more than that but I screwed up, had the wrong setting when I panned. Next time a tripod and maybe no herky-jerky video.

No, this doesn't mean I have given up on writing and photography. Video is just another way of expressing myself; I still have a lot to learn about it.

No Sunday Snow Removal At The PR?

On January 20, 2011 the Press-Republican published an article entitled "Snow causes tangles as cold spell nears" (online version here). The article and the accompanying video dealt the with plight of Debra Buell who has to get around the city with her wheelchair. As both the article and video point out, she is forced to use the street when sidewalks are unshoveled, not the safest option but the only one left open to her.

Yesterday an unexpected snowstorm hit, complete with thunder and lightning. Today most people got out and shoveled the sidewalks adjacent to their properties -- except one business. The Press-Republican. Check out this image taken at 6:19 PM.

The sidewalk hasn't been touched. It's blocked all the way up the street to Fitzpatrick's Bar -- which, by the way, did clear its sidewalk.

This isn't the first time this has happened. It seems that if a snowstorm strikes during the weekend, no one at the PR is around to clear the Margaret Street sidewalk. Yes, like other property owners, the PR has until 24 hours after a storm to clean up, but I noticed other businesses did clear their sidewalks today, especially ones that are closed on Sunday. Some people are considerate; they don't wait for a deadline to be a good neighbor.

Maybe the official snow shoveler at the PR had today off for the Super Bowl. Whatever the reason, the PR should do more than nag others: it should be leading by example.

Like I've said before: Shovel up or shut up.