voice over

We have three long-lived rose plants at the corner of our house.  This year all three bloomed bigger and more beautiful than ever before.  It must be something to do with living in Pasadena … aka “Rose City.”

A small tribute to the men and women of film production known as 2nds.  Or 2nd ADs.  The most important job the 2nd Assistant Director performs is handling the background extras.  When you watch a movie or a TV show, every single person you see on film is part of the production.  All those people walking by in the street or in the busy store behind the actors?  Extras.  On Numb3rs, everyone you see in the FBI office or at the campus of CalSci or anywhere else there were people moving in the background were paid, fed and often costumed.  And the person in charge of every single one … the 2nd AD.

As you watch the video and the camera moves through Washington Square Park, watch the people moving by.  Are they all just pedestrians walking wherever they want?  Or are they being choreographed for a bigger purpose?  

Look for a WOMAN IN A WHITE HAT as soon as you can spot her.  (She is seen in the middle of the frame right at the beginning of the video.)  She is not a crazy person wiggling her arms for no reason.  She is the 2nd AD.  She is the puppet master.

Go to the YouTube page for a more detailed explanation of background work, the 2nd AD and the events in the video.

If you are a true Numb3rs fanatic who loves to rewatch episodes, you can watch the extras in the background for some fun stuff, e.g. an FBI agent who walks by twice in the same shot or the CalSci professor who also appears in the FBI office as an agent.

Last year in Boston, we had seen a large ensemble of street performers at Faneuil Hall collecting a massive audience for a show that was a fun mix of comedy, audience participation and acrobatics.  Then, just a few days ago, we were in New York and ran into the exact same group doing their show in front of the Plaza Hotel.  The very next day, walking in Central Park, we ran into the group one more time.  They were performing their show at Bethesda Fountain.  

Because of the large venue I was able to capture their grand finale.  Typically, they gather such a large crowd that it’s not easy to get a good angle on the action.  Finally, I was in the right place at the right time.

I took the liberty of adding another look the final jump in slow motion … with slow motion music.

Planet Corgi 2:  Orbital Drift

The second in the Planet Corgi series.  In other words, lots more of Mochi chasing and jumping after her beloved, saliva-covered nylon flying disc … in grainy super slow motion.

Almost all the super slow motion was shot in native 240fps on the Canon S120.  Because the camera is shooting 240 frames per second, the video quality is poor.  But I prefer this look as opposed to how regular HD video looks when slowed down using editing software.

(Recently tested the GoPro Hero 3+ shooting 720HD format at 120 frames per second.  A simple doubling of the frame rate during the editing process creates 240fps super slow motion video that remains sharp and crisp. 720 is at the bottom of the scale for high definition.  But it’s still High Def.  And the result is super slow motion without any degradation in resolution.) 

Video was shot on Canon S120, GoPro Hero 3+, Lumix GH2, Canon 7D and edited with Cyberlink Power Director 12.

Ever So Lonely (buddha hat remix) - Steve Coe / Sheila Chandra / buddha hat

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Ever So Lonely (buddha hat remix)

by Steve Coe / Sheila Chandra / buddha hat

Released in 1982 “Ever So Lonely” was the first “world music” pop hit.  Written by Steve Coe and performed by Monsoon with Ms. Chandra providing lead vocals, the original recording became an international sensation, but was never released as a single in the United States.  Later, Sheila Chandra performed the song solo without the pop instrumentation and tempo.  Both versions of the song are wonderful.  However, the two different productions are miles apart.  The original recording has an almost manic tempo and an almost cartoonish instrumentation.  The solo vocal recording is ethereal and meditative.  My own musical taste is somewhere in the middle, so I thought it might be interesting to re-introduce some new percussion on the solo vocal track.  This remix was done years ago when I was first introduced to loop-based recording software, but I’m generally pleased with the instrumentation.  Besides Chandra’s vocals, some reverb and a solitary sitar … all other voices, drums and instruments were added by me using Acid Pro.    -buddha hat

Why do we work so hard?

Why do we bother to love or hate or make absurdly popular music in 4/4 time?  Why do we buy new shoes, wash our underwear and berate our fellow humans with our heartfelt, but poorly constructed political views?

Why did we go to the moon?

To watch someone hit a golf ball in low gravity?

Hell no.  Well, kinda.

The reason we do anything is because we’re all going to die. 

That’s right.   Die.

Even if you’re like me and have plans of immortality via a cryogenic facility hidden in your parent’s basement, the world is eventually going to end.

The world is going to end because someday the sun is going to become an old man and do exactly what old men do … explode.  And that’s the end of the earth.  And you and me and all our stuff.

The world was supposed to end well before that. 

In 2012.  In an apocalyptic event known as Ragnarok. 

Ragnarok?  Wasn’t that some kids TV show with puppets?

Yes it was.  But it was also a battle that killed a whole lot of Norse gods.  You know, like that guy Thor.  After that, the entire planet gets waterboarded.

I know.  It’s starting to sound really cool.  And dangerous.

Only one man stood between us and the Norse apocalypse.  Thomas Edison. 

I’m sorry.  JOHN HODGMAN. 

Determined to save mankind, this Hodgman guy created HUNDREDS of Ragnarok Survival Kits.

In the end, as shocking as this might sound, Hodgman was wrong.  

Actually a dude named Snorri Sturluson was wrong. 

But I digress.

The world has not ended.  Yet.  So there’s plenty of time to stroll home after work, stop at Internet cafés, go online and BUY STUFF.

Stuff like … a SURPLUS RAGNAROK SURVIVAL KIT. 

ARGUABLY USEFUL and DEFINITELY FOR SALE. 

They include an extended DVD of John Hodgman’s RAGNAROK special, with additional comedy, songs, and special appearances by Andrew Sullivan, Tom Scharpling, and Ira Glass.

BUT WAIT.

THERE’S MORE:

SURVIVAL MAYONNAISE

AN ENGRAVED URINE FLASK

JOHN HODGMAN’S CONSCIOUSNESS, EMBEDDED ON A CUSTOM THUMB DRIVE  (I am sure he’s telling the truth.)

SAMPLES OF JOHN HODGMAN’S DNA  (No comment.)

A NON-IRONIC UNISEX COLOGNE 

And that’s why you only take five days off a year from work.  Because you work hard, you create your own luck and you make minimum wage.

And the world is not ending.

And you need more stuff.

_____________________________________________

Visit your local Ragnarok Survival Kit dealership for a test drive:

http://john-hodgman-super-package.highwire.com/