Volume 4 comes a bit later in the week than I would like (very busy week, no time to post until now), but it’s certainly worth the wait! This week, we’ll hear a fairy tale re-told in Shakespearean language, learn about what the internet is doing to our brains, find out what lengths people will go to for free gas, see a modern-day samurai cut through a speeding bullet and iron, and hear a great song Dan picked out for you. Onward!
1. The Three Little Pigs – John Branyan
I love this – I’m especially astounded by the numbers he gives in the beginning about our current average working vocabulary. I certainly hope I have a working vocabulary higher than 3000!
2. What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains – Epipheo.tv
Eye-opening, isn’t it? Dan found a browser extension that coincides nicely with this theme of de-cluttering and minimizing distractions; you can find it here: http://clea.nr/
3. Pumpcast News – The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
I’m not a huge Jay Leno fan and this video has a few more hits than those I like to post, but this is too great not too share.
4. Modern Samurai – Isao Machii
So it’s a BB, but that’s still super impressive – especially to a guy who has tried to block Nerf darts with a lightsaber. Quite the impressive weapon and wielder.
5. Flat Random Noise – Hurricane Dean
This is Dan’s song pick for you this week. Pretty catchy!
That’s it for now! Thanks for checking out this week’s video picks! More to come next week.
Welcome to volume three of my weekly selection of hand-picked videos for your viewing enjoyment. This week, we’ll gain some cosmic perspective, learn what the “Q” in Q-tips stands for, and then we’ll stand and testify. Onward:
This one is in HD, so full-screen it. Absolutely fascinating. Someday, I hope I’ll get the chance to look at Earth from space, too.
2. 56 Acronyms and Initialisms – Mental Floss
This is a well-delivered video full of useless but interesting information. Funny!
3. Rage Against The Machine – Live in London 2010 (Full Concert)
If you don’t stay for the whole concert, at least watch the story at the beginning. Awesome! Power to the people.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for watching!
Hello again, friends! Adam here, back with another set of videos handpicked for your viewing pleasure. This week, we’re gonna run all over the place. We’ll see a dramatic death, a brain-scrambling music video, the natural beauty of Yosemite, the forging of a Lannister sword by a master smith, a bit of comedy, and I’m also including one humorous video on behalf of Producer Caity. Here we go!
1. Worst Movie Death Scene of all Time
…Or is it the best movie death scene of all time? I can tell you this for certin – the best comment on this video: “Legend has it, that to this day he is still being shot and dying.”
2. Melt Yourself Down – Fix My Life
WARNING: If you’re prone to seizures, don’t watch this. If you aren’t, set this to full screen, stare in the middle, and have a seizure anyway! I also really dig the song.
3. Yosemite Range of Light
Absolutely gorgeous footage shot at Yosemite National Park. Figured you’d need a brain-cleanser after that last one. Watch in full-screen on HD to get the full effect.
4. Man at Arms – Forging Game of Thrones Sword (Jaime Lannister)
This is an excellent new series I’ve just discovered. I was having a lot of trouble deciding which one I would post, so I went with the first one I saw. It’s informative and just plain cool to see how this is done. Check out the channel to view the other weapons he’s made!
5. Russians are Scary – Dan Soder Stand-up, 1/7/2013
A little comedy for you. He’s onto something, here!
6. Kobayashi vs. Giant Bear (A Hot Dog Eating Contest)
This is Producer Caity’s video pick for you this week, in all its hot dog-devouring glory.
That’s all for this week. See you next week for more!
With Dan’s recent admission that there is quality content with great production value readily available on YouTube that deserves our attention, it seems only right to commence a new weekly series featuring choice picks from the YouTube-verse and similar sites for your viewing and listening enjoyment. Part of my objective in this venture is to bring you content you haven’t seen before, which means skipping over the super-viral videos that everyone’s already seen and doesn’t care about anymore (I’m looking at you, Harlem Shake) in favor of the diamonds in the rough. This week, I’ll be featuring 3 fantastic music tracks with great visual accompaniment, a super cool new gadget from Japan, and an inspiring message from Ze Frank. Here we go:
1. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Your Podcast hosts love Macklemore, so of course this is a great place to start. Fantastic song, amusing video. Listen to this first thing in the morning to get your day started right. This video was shot using RED cameras, the film industry’s favored camera.
2. Samuel Truth – Let Me Breathe
This is a Japanese animation from 1929 set to music by Troy Samuela, AKA Samuel Truth. He’s an experimental hip-hop artist who hails from Auckland, New Zealand. If you like this, you should hear his other tracks on soundcloud! Watch for the little pop ‘n’ lock move the man does when he gets out of the tree.
3. Bonobo – Cirrus
This one’s just trippy.
4. Spherical Flying Machine
Cooooooooooooool! How soon until I can buy one at Brookstone?
5. An Invocation for Beginnings – Ze Frank
Speaks for itself. Ze Frank has been creating funny, inspiring works for years and years.
That’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed the first installment.
Not long ago, I stumbled upon a video of Gnarls Barkley singing a down-tempo, mellowed-out version of Crazy. It was so heartfelt and intimate – the version showed me a side of the song I hadn’t seen before. That was when From the Basement first got my attention. When I discovered the long, impressive list of artists who have already been on the show (Radiohead, The White Stripes, Foster the People, The Raconteurs, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Feist, The Shins, Andrew Bird, Fleet Foxes – I would love to go on), I became a believer.
For music lovers who enjoy live or acoustic versions of songs, there are several different sources producing great versions of our favorite tracks. NPR has their studio sessions, Big Ugly Yellow Couch provides performances by up-and-coming bands, and so on. From the Basement started as a podcast, but grew up quickly into a TV show streaming on Crackle and DirecTV’s 3-D channel 3net.
Nigel Godrich, the visionary music producer most famous for his work with Radiohead, takes the helm in this endeavor. Since its humble beginnings in 2006, transition into a UK Television show in 2007, and on into the present where season 3 is being broadcast in HD in 2-D and 3-D, Godrich’s intent has been to “authentically document the pulse of music being made today.” In a recent interview with Entertainment weekly, Godrich says, “I think what happened was MTV came along in the ’80s and destroyed the way that people film music on television. The performance ended up in the edit, and it wasn’t very direct. It’s a selfish thing, really—as a music fan, I really wanted to see people performing on television, so we went ahead and did it. Musicians hate doing TV because it’s such a different world and a horrible environment for them, so wouldn’t it be cool for me as a music person to do a TV show? Then I could get something out of them that TV shows wouldn’t get.” To that end, Godrich uses an intimate basement setting with no audience (except a few HD cameras), making the artists as comfortable as possible to get the best, purest performance possible.
It’s like PBS’s Austin City Limits, but better.
The thing I appreciate most about From the Basement is that it displays the great musicianship of the artists in a way that hyper-produced studio recordings and blasting live performances cannot. You get to hear and see in stunning detail just how soulful a singer Cee-Lo is, or how beautifully blended Fleet Foxes’ harmonies really are. There’s no Auto-Tune, no backup tracks, and absolutely no lip-syncing – just pure performance chops at work. From the Basement is quality proof that there are wonderfully talented artists making great music today.
Have you ever had a time when you’re on Netflix and you can’t decide what to watch? It’s terrible, isn’t it?! You’re faced with a rather large library with plenty of perfectly acceptable TV and movie options to entertain you for a while, but first you have to pick one, and that requires making a decision and you’re feeling so “meh” that nothing is jumping out at you. Well, fear not – Max is here to save the day (maybe)!
Netflix’s Max service is an interactive game that uses several methods to help the viewer decide what to watch. With a style and attitude very much like the “You Don’t Know Jack” series complete with a snappy, idiosyncratic announcer and musical interludes, Max asks you to pick a genre and then rate movies in that genre that you may or may not have seen. After rating several movies, Max makes a recommendation. If you decline that option, Max will try something else to help you pick. Since its release, several new ways to play have been added to mix things up and add to the experience, such as picking a specific actor to find movies/TV for. Max also makes use of Netflix’s algorithms to find recommendations based on the ratings the user has given shows in the past. Max has been around for a few months now, available on the Playstation 3 platform (no word on if it’s coming out for other devices yet).
Tonight, I fired up Netflix Max and played “One Simple Question”: Max had me choose impulsively between suburban dysfunction or detectives. I chose detectives and it recommended, much to my chagrin, “Murder, She Wrote.” After Max’s 30-second pitch (not available for all titles) describing the merits of the show, I decided to give it a try. Forty-five minutes later, Angela Lansbury had won me over and I was seriously considering watching the next episode in spite of my previous reservations. Max won me over in this case, and this wasn’t the first time. Max and my own curiosity have led me to watch quite a few things I loved (if you haven’t watched “Black Books” yet, get on it), but probably would never have found out about otherwise. In that regard, Max is very good for separating the wheat from the chaff. Max doesn’t always get it right, though. There have been occasions when none of the recommendations have sounded appealing – at that point, Max says, “Thank you for playing!” and that’s the end of it.
Overall, even if it’s not always effective at recommending something to watch, Netflix Max is quite entertaining in itself. With further development and a presence on other platforms, Max has the potential to be a lot of fun and hopefully relieve us all of our streaming media indecision.