Shanks FX Best Of

Don't let that poster image derail you, the Shanks FX Best Of is a remarkable compilation of impressive special effects made with "household products." Some are decidedly cooler than others but it's hard to deny the appeal of the bubble planets, or milk galaxies or even the Star Trek transporter effect. The man behind the lessons has a Youtube channel as well that actually educates how to do these things but, for most of us, just watching them in practice is enough. I love that the stop motion is just a tiny bit low framerate, giving it a nice homemade effect without taking away its impact.

The Space Project preview

The Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probs launched out into the depths of space back in 1977, completing its mission 3 years later. However, in the following 34 years it has been hurtling through space and sending back transmissions - pictures and sounds of space. The Space Project, from Lefse Records, takes those sounds and hands them over to 14 artists for a helluva compilation. Released this coming Record Store Day the album will be available on all sorts of physical media (which you should buy) but you can preview it online thanks to this NPR stream. It's a fascinating project and I'm hoping to find a copy this weekend.

Fix Patents

If you are not familiar with the situation with patents at this point in time I highly suggest you watch this Rise of the Patent Troll video and listen to this rather engaging This American Life episode that gives a great bit of insight into what's happening.

Knowing all that, you're aware that some Fixing is in order. The Fix Patents website does a great job of explaining the situation and making a plea to contact your Representative to vote accordingly on passing legislation that will steer the ship properly. Amazingly, this weekend I concretely learned that calling a Representative is approximately 100x more powerful than any petition. A handwritten note is even more impactful. Is this backward to the way we think and operate? Yes, but that's government.

Long story short, if you can convince yourself to use their amazing widget to call your rep, it may actually have an impact. The #fixpatents hashtag won't hurt but it will take a much larger show of force.

The Startup Legitimizer

The Startup Legitimizer definitely falls hard on the snarky side of web tools but as semi-mean spirited as it is, it's also equally well made. I love the "pre-made packages" to showcase your startup's press association and the easy bake widget to place it on your site. Buzzfeed certainly knows their audience.

Friday Videos - April 11th, 2014

Some weeks yield more fruit than others and this weeks playlist feels rather delightful. Enjoy.
  • The Worf of Starfleet - maybe this parody has already made the rounds. Maybe I'm entirely behind on this but, man, I am loving this. Incredibly well done and I love a solid Michael Dorn quote.
  • Beck "Black Tambourine" - how have I never seen this video? Can someone recreate it with ASCIIcam?
  • Chicken Nugger - sometimes I delve into /r/DeepIntoYoutube and emerge with incredibly weird gems like this one.
  • Food Reviewer: BK Rodeo Chicken Sandwich - it's been 6 months since the Food Reviewer has posted any of his incredibly earnest takes on food. I want to make sure it is clear that I don't enjoy this as a means to mock this kid.. I enjoy it because he's reviewing terrible food and giving absolutely serious takes on how it sits with him. There's something hysterical about the calmness of it.
  • Rise of the Patent Troll - a quality video from Kirby Ferguson on a rather important topic. I will talk more about this later I am sure. Do your homework, watch this.
  • Imagine the Band - what happens when you take an instrumental version of "Imagine" and an acapella version of "Band on the Run"? Magic, that's what.
  • Let's Get Social - admittedly, I feel real bad for this girl and even worse for whoever wrote this. Be sure to read along with the lyrics.
  • Wish I Was Here - Trailer 2 - did you see the official teaser trailer for Zach Braff's new movie? Well, make sure you watch this second version to really get some enjoyment.
  • Uncle Skeleton - "VHF" - I've been posting about this all week and my desire to have it be seen by as many eyes as possible. So, of course, I'm including here.
  • 50 Cent dubbed with Jehovah's Witnesses want Deaf People to Stop Masturbating - don't care if it's legit. don't care if i've posted it before. this is too entertaining to not just enjoy again.
I'm off to DC for the weekend. Hit me up on the tweets if you know of something I should absolutely not miss while I'm there.

Have a great weekend!

Rentmeester SX-70

This SX-70 gallery is unbelievable. It's hard to say much more than that when looking at the results of LIFE photographer Co Rentmeester, as the images are painterly, ethereal and just other worldly. The only downside is that there are too few of them to look at.

via Jeremy.

Behind the Album Cover

The results are a mixed bag but, on the whole, this Behind the Album Cover is pretty engaging. The idea is, what would you see if you were "behind" a variety of famous album covers. A little silly but almost every result is surprisingly on point in terms of vibe, tones and matched execution. I mean, look at this or this - pretty perfect matches. Just don't look at this.... please.

The Hoefler&Frere-Jones Divorce

It's not exactly an uplifting story but this Business Week piece on the divorce of Hoefler&Frere-Jones is certainly an interesting one. The saddest part is that, according to the article, it seems to boil down to a power grab and an unformalized business relationship. The up side, for me, is that even though they won't be collaborating anytime soon, they'll both be creating engaging work from their own spheres.. which will undoubtedly be good for all of us.

VHF Thank you

I feel guilty constantly promoting projects because I know that's not really why you come here (if you come here at all). But I wanted to say THANKS to anyone and everyone that has watched this Uncle Skeleton video. We've had over 1700 plays in the last three days and that is a great feeling. I've got my own internal goals of where I'd love to see this video go but that's a helluva lot of views (for me) in such a short period.

Anyway, thank you all. I probably won't stop talking about it anytime soon but know that your assistance is highly appreciated.

William Shakespeare Presents: Terminator The Second

Back in Nov 2013 I posted about Terminator the Second - a filmed theatrical stage performance that consists of the plot of Terminator 2 but with Shakespeare dialog throughout. It's an unexpected merging of worlds but it works surprisingly well. I am happy to announce that the film (and Protomen soundtrack) is now available via a VHX powered site.

Very happy to bring them into our world and will continue to push to have all Nashville film projects powered by VHX.

VHF again

Yes, I'm going to remind you to watch this new Uncle Skeleton video for 'VHF' again. There's so much goodness in there I'm just going to start dumping animated gifs at you!

Full transparency, I'd like to get the video 1,000 views this week. We had a great writeup in the Nashville Cream yesterday that helped boost up to around 500 views but I want this guy to go far and wide! I always feel a bit dirty doing promotions like this but, unfortunately, it's the only way to really get the word out.

tl;dr - I want success for this video and song. Watch it, Download it and help get the word out. Please!

Uncle Skeleton - VHF Official Video

It's been a long time coming but I am overjoyed to finally share the official video for "VHF" - the lead track from Uncle Skeleton's latest album Too Young, Too Old and available on this new digital single.

The video itself is, to me, a perfect mix of sexiness, absurdity, surreal fascination and just a dash of macabre. It's not an easy balance to keep but it pulls it off well. I've watched it a ton of times and hope you'll do the same. I really think the combination of song and video have some serious legs.

The piece was directed by Jonathan Rogers, produced by Jennifer Bonior and DP'ed by Will Fox. Those names may not ring many bells yet but after you watch the results of their labor, you will hopefully keep them in mind.

Uncle Skeleton - VHF

Today's a big day for Uncle Skeleton. First, it's his birthday. So go wish him a happy one. Secondly, today marks the official release of the digital single for "VHF" - the lead track from his most recent album Too Young, Too Old. The collection features three remixes and two solid b-sides. Oh, and a video too.. more on that here.
Listen to the release on Bandcamp or Rdio - all other digital retailers should be catching up if you can count on DistroKid for distribution.

How Norbert Wiener Invented Cybernetics (and Brian Eno)

DAZED has a great article on the grandfather of cybernetics - Norbert Weiner. If you've not read up on the origins of robotics, computer control, systematic feedback and loads of other brilliant ideas take some time to do so today. Aside from predicting that technology would be making decisions for us, he also heavily inspired the likes of Brian Eno... there's even a little Easter Egg hidden in Seven Deadly Finns to listen out for.

Amazon Dash

Until Friday, I was unaware of Amazon Fresh, the grocery delivery service that Amazon is trying out in a handful of markets. The announcement of Amazon Dash, a handheld device that you keep around the house to help you compile your digital grocery list, made me keenly aware of the goings on. This strikes me as such a prime example of The Future happening right now.

When I was younger I would always hear about "every device in your kitchen will be online and aware", "refrigerators will know when it's time to order new kinds of food" and I thought it sounded insane. This seems to me to be exactly that happening right now. Maybe I'm overthinking it but I love seeing the emergence of these devices.. maybe it's just a rough version 1.0 but it's a nice peek into the future (for better or worse).

Welcome To VOX

If you are not familiar with VOX, it's understandable - they are a relatively new news startup focused on reporting news in real time and explaining the processes of such reporting. Their Welcome article is a fresh bit of transparency... I particularly enjoyed this bit:
We're launching today because three more weeks or three more months or 30 more months will not produce a perfect website. We'll always be a work in progress.
This is a great mentality to have to hold on to. You are never done, you are always striving to improve. This goes beyond the web and startups and all that - it's just a good life ethos to have. Maybe that's insanely obvious but it's nice to see it put down so simply.

Friday Videos - April 4th, 2014

Another week, another playlist to distract you from your daily life. Hopefully you find it effective. Have a great weekend!