• Category Archives Blog Posts
  • Cheap Laughs

    I could have written a post about how condescending it seems for a comedy show to walk me through the satire by way of a laugh track, alluding to the funny bits as though the humor would have otherwise gone amiss… though I expect that someone else would have tackled that by now–and far more eloquently than I could be bothered to.  Instead, I thought it might be more interesting to characterize the nature of this “virtual” studio audience, and its propensity for laughter.

    Immediately, two words come to mind:  Social anxiety.

    You show me a dimwit who laughs at FUCKING EVERYTHING, and I’ll show you someone awkward; in all likelihood preoccupied with feelings of inadequacy, coping with some type of fear, insecurity, or embarrassment.  (That, combined with a certain element of cluelessness; the sort that manifests in laughter, not so much at the punchline, rather, at the mere fact that others are laughing as well.)

    In saying this, I don’t mean to shit on wide-eyed morons with social disorders, I simply don’t appreciate them being the ones to set the threshold for what is and isn’t laugh-worthy.  It cheapens the effect, much like a reaction video featuring an idiot with the bad habit of exclaiming before anything impressive actually happens.

    There, that’s it.

  • As long as we’re playing dumb…

    Shapes ToyIt wasn’t until the dawn of the smartphone generation that some people found themselves right back at square one, as it happens, struggling to work out which of our basic shapes corresponds to the familiar 16:9 aspect ratio landscape “rectangle” which, since 2009 has been the international standard for cinema, computer displays, HDTV, Full HD, non-HD digital television, and analog widescreen television.  (To say nothing of the basis for the resolutions native to our mobile devices, straight through 4K.)

    To some, the very conclusion that a phone could be held in a way that corresponds to the widescreen orientation (at least while a picture or a video is being captured) is nothing short of unimaginable.  I myself know of several “virtuosos” whom I would nominate for a technical achievement award if only they were to stumble upon the idea to rotate the camera 90 degrees.

    Alas, I fear that the struggle with basic concepts like portrait and landscape is hardly the crux of this phenomenon.  I know that I’m expected to sound condescending, but I refuse to believe that every last instance of a “sideways” video is due to someone being too dumb to work out something that even our grandparents, armed with bulky videotape camcorders, had down packed.

    As I sift through these “narrow-screen” videos, one thing becomes abundantly apparent:  All the empty space to the left and to the right of the image.  I know that this is something of a long-shot, but if the aim is to preserve as much of the screen real-estate as possible with a “full-screen” image, here’s the most geometrically efficient way to do it:

    Screen 1

    Figure 1.) 16:9 aspect ratio landscape image (blue) maximized to a 16:9 frame.
    Coverage: 100%  Empty letterbox space: 0%

    Screen 2

    Figure 2.) 16:9 aspect ratio portrait image (blue) maximized to a 16:9 frame.
    Coverage: 26.64%  Empty letterbox space: 73.35%

    Screen 3

    Figure 3.) 16:9 aspect ratio portrait image (blue) rotated 29.4 deg. maximized to a 16:9 frame.
    Coverage: 20.24%  Empty letterbox space: 79.76%

    (You’re welcome.)


  • Audio Posers

    Phone PlayerIf you’re going to boast about how important music is in your life, or how passionate you are about it, please don’t let me catch you defiling it with the miserable excuse for a loudspeaker that is your mobile device.  I simply can’t help but to cringe anytime I happen upon a group of people sitting around, with that tinny upper midrange passband emanating from the scant diaphragm lodged within the body of the phone like a piece of gravel in a worn tire.

    If your deepest hunger can be sated with a single bite of a stale fruit, not only would I question the severity of your craving, but the substance of your taste as well.  Likewise, if your “passion” for music can be satisfied with such a deplorable rendition of whatever artist’s work you happen to be playing, then not only do I challenge everything that you have to say in favor of your respect for the composition, but your qualifications as a discerning listener as well.

    I realize that this is bound to ruffle some feathers, but if the shoe fits, wear it. You don’t amass reverence as a passionate music enthusiast by posing as one, meanwhile embracing the most pedestrian of listening habits.  I see many distinguished audiophiles catch undue flack on account of the imposters who undermine the pastime, and rob the art of its significance.  I’m not happy about that.

  • What’s Beautiful?

    Okay… as I set out to type this, I’m not aiming for it to be a rant; more so a statement of bewilderment. Why is it that anytime someone posts a baby picture on Facebook or Instagram, it is invariably trailed by a slew of comments by people exclaiming that they can’t believe how beautiful it is and so forth?  I’ve seen more than my fair share of these, and whether I attempt to embody the author’s bias or remain objective / detached, I simply cannot tap into this “attraction” that others seem to be overflowing with.  (And yes, I realize that an “object” doesn’t have to be sexual to be beautiful; there are beautiful cars, there’s beautiful architecture, beautiful poetry, etc., but a misshapen infant in no way reminiscent of the man or a woman it is inadvertently destined to become?)

    As I think back to the rare moments when I’ve witnessed the sort of beauty that inspired disbelief, and the momentous sights or experiences that have influenced the aforesaid emotions, I’m only that much more perplexed by the notion that others can be driven to such “arousal” by a figure of what is essentially a premature, toothless human with an over-sized cranium, bloated features, a vacant expression, and a posture reminiscent of an inebriated contortionist.  Is it perhaps some form of a “breeder” impulse that I lack, or am I simply not on board some implicit fetish?

  • Man Rant

    So, my girl just liked this Facebook meme; caught a glimpse of it just as I was scrolling through my news feed. I have to assume that the following is in some way directed at me:


    If there’s one thing that life has taught me, is that we can’t win this one.  (And yes, I’m addressing just the men in the audience.)  We’re not going to find a happy medium here, fellows, the coin lands one of two ways:

    We’re either meek, unassertive, indecisive pushovers who yield to our better half at every decision-making opportunity.  That, or we’re authoritative, imperious control nuts; ours is the only decision that bares any value, and to collaborate on something is an admission of weakness to be avoided at all cost.

    It doesn’t take much effort to dig up memes that express the exact opposite sentiment; women who’d love for their men to acknowledge what they want to do for once, take some interest in the places that they want to visit, consider the venues they’d like to shop or dine at, and be made to feel like their input matters.

    The bottom line here is that whichever side of the coin you find yourself on right now, you’ll quickly find that you’re just as wrong for personifying the opposite role as you are for pursuing the present course.

    (Sorry, no “expert tip” conclusion here, guys… just one man’s observation.)

  • You’re unimportant, get over it.

    It feels like ages since I’ve last blogged, but there’s something that I’ve been seeing plastered all over the web that’s been pissing me off, and it’s this:

    Priority Quote

    A narcissistic mantra if I’ve ever heard one.  Even in the spirit of self-interest, how much sense does it make to allow someone else’s appraisal of your relevance in their life to be the basis of whether or not they should be the focus of yours?

    Ever been to a job interview?  I’m sorry to say but as a mere applicant, all you are, my friend, is an option.  But if you feel that this is cause enough to prioritize employment beneath things that do a better job at nourishing your ego, I bid you best of luck; you’ll need it.

    Ever examine the model of a thriving enterprise?  Its focus is on the customer… you know, the guy with the option to take his business elsewhere; to him you are very much an option.  I could keep going.

    We’ve become a community of egocentric little bitches who have to be loved and adored, otherwise we simply can’t be bothered to face the day.  Hasn’t anybody told you?  Life’s a bitch.  How low is that on your list of priorities?

  • Hate Kids?

    No KidsHere’s a thought stemming from a conversation that I just had with a friend:  I wouldn’t say that I “hate” kids, but perhaps I may illustrate my attitude better if I call attention to the way in which many of us refer to them:  Cute, mischievous, adorable, shy, precious, rambunctious, silly, etc…

    Most of us–it is to be hoped–come to ascertain the worth of our peers by the nature of their character, by their value system, and by their moral / ethical sense.  Can’t do that with a child, which is probably why they are so frequently referred to in the way that one might regard a pound puppy, or an article of clothing.  (See paragraph above.)

    It just seems that, by and large, any attempt to “resolve” a child through the same prism as we do ourselves, or our peers falls flat on its face… and why shouldn’t it?  For all intents and purposes, it’s a work in progress.  I don’t “hate” a half-blank canvass; I’m just not interested in it until the composition begins to take shape… and even then, some works I like, some works I don’t.