Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Daily Links 10/31

Look, I realize that these guys (twins, by the way, another reason we maybe shouldn't trust them) have probably put in their time and are legitimate scientists. But their hypothesis here, sounds kinda like they were sitting around one day, passing a bong around and making shit up. Also, one of them actually uses the phrase, "frugal aliens" in a serious manner.

I guess a natural disaster is a great canvas for people to introduce made up things to other people in order to trick them. I guess. Here's a look at some of the more iconic photos from Hurricane Sandy, and a helpful guide to let you know whether they are real or fake.

Cool, illustrated look at all the cars James Bond has driven throughout the years.

There are thousands of stories of bravery, heroism and selflessness that go unnoticed in times of great tragedy - stories that appear small in the grand scheme of things, yet are important to the people that they affect. Here's one of those.

This look into the world of professional eating simply gets crazier and crazier as it goes on.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Best Magic Trick You Will See Today

Clever...Wish they would have shown less crowd perspective and more of the trick though...

Daily Links 10/25

The next season of Arrested Development is on its way - to get excited for it, check out this list of returning characters, possible returning characters, and characters who most likely won't return.

100 ideas that shaped photography.

Ridiculously difficult (and probably mostly lucky) shot in tennis:

Slow motion seemingly makes just about anything that much more dramatic. Here are 7 examples that prove that rule.

So yeah, it might sound boring to volunteer to be a fire lookout, but when not when it's here:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thoughts on Season 3 of The Walking Dead so far...

The passage of time can fix a lot of things on television...

But wait, let's back up a second and commit a few words to how we got here. In the past I've done episode recaps of The Walking Dead. I've not only seen every episode, I read the comic, way back when it first came out. I wanted this show to be oh so good, so when it was, I loved it - and when it wasn't, I felt let down...

I loved the series premiere. It was gorgeously shot and struck the right tone. And while that first season felt a little inconsistent, I understood it was a show that had to get its legs under itself before it could take off. And when the gang finally got into Atlanta, and to the CDC, I thought it had.

And then came the second season...

Look, behind the scenes hasn't been all that rosy for The Walking Dead. There was stuff that we, as the viewer, will never get the full story on. What we do know is that Frank Darabont who started the series,  was no longer involved (about midway through the second season) and Glenn Mazzara came into replace him. Obviously, tumult behind the camera is going to affect what happens in front of the camera.

Regardless, I felt the second season really missed the mark. There was too much stagnation, too much melodrama and too many minor level conflicts that were blown way out of proportion. At times it felt like a soap opera with the occasional zombie thrown in when we needed something to get scared about. So when the finale of season 2 rolled around, and we saw the overtaking of the barn and the gang on the run, it didn't strike me as that big of a deal. The Walking Dead had already let me down, and it would take a lot to pique my interest again - even with the prison tease...

So let me repeat my earlier thought here - the passage of time can fix a lot of things on television.

We finally have a full season that is all Glen Mazzara's. And right out of the gate he establishes the way he is going to steer the show. By allowing 6 months or so to have passed since we last saw the gang, Mazzara can course correct a lot of the mistakes (in my opinion) these characters exhibited in the past - without having to plod through it. Rick no longer agonized over every decision he made; Lori no longer whined/changed her mind about every decision Rick made; Carl was given something to do other than simply be a liability; Maggie joined the forefront as a up-and-coming badass; Carol gained a steely resolve...heck they all gained a steely resolve. And it was believable. The first scene quickly caught us up to what they had been doing in the time we hadn't been with them - they were on the run, and trying to survive. The frightening monotony of that plight - barging into houses, clearing them of zombies and searching for food - took its tole on them all and changed them.

And then we got to the prison.

While the show had not followed the exact arc of the comics, it's similar. So I will try to stay away from spoilers, or label them as best I can. What the prison offers the survivors is a great location that offers both safety and new dangers - both from zombies and from others. And that's a great dynamic that the show has toyed with, but never completely embraced. Seasons 1 & 2 spent so much time on the internal conflicts within the immediate group and not enough time on the outside dangers that would probably be a major fucking concern 24/7 in a post-apocalyptic zombie world. Characters threatened to leave all the time, but never did, and yet I never bought into the reasons they used to keep the group together.

Season 3 so far has been different. This group is now a unit. A believable unit. Zombies of course are a threat, but they've been through it enough to know they can manage. It's the other external threats that are going to prove challenging (prisoners in a prison, a pregnancy without a doctor, etc.) and set the course for the rest of the series. But the show hasn't given up on the internal struggles, it's just based them in more of a grounded reality. Rick blames Lori for a lot (much like I blame her for season 2's mediocrity) and 2 episodes in, it doesn't feel like their relationship can be fixed. (Sure feels like they're setting her up to die, no?) Hershel, while recovering from a zombie bite appears ok for the moment, that can turn on a dime. And with him being the only qualified medical character in the bunch, Lori's delivery is going to be something of a clusterfuck.

And while the gang took care of the immediate threat of the prisoners quickly and efficiently, there's still a threat there. And of course we still have (SPOILER IF YOU DON'T WATCH THE COMING ATTRACTIONS OR READ ANYTHING ABOUT THE SHOW)

The governor and his level of sadism. If it's even half as strong as it was in the comic, we're in for a formidable foe.


We have all that and I still haven't even mentioned Michonne (though she's still a bit campy for my tastes - dragging zombies around on chains) and the dynamic she will bring when she meets the group. So right now, I am cautiously optimistic for the direction of The Walking Dead. My only fear is that this is exactly how I felt after the first few episodes in Season 1 and Season 2.

Time will tell.

Daily Links 10/24

In time for Halloween - The American Scream, a documentary about three families that take Halloween very seriously:

Short interview (that really goes nowhere - thanks Esquire!) with Casey Wilson, Penny from Happy Endings. I included it mostly to hype the show, which, while uneven last night, is most likely the best show you're not watching on television right now.

Two articles about Tarantino and his filmmaking. This first, goes into a pro/con for his new movie Django Unchained, and the rut Tarantino might have found himself in. (Full disclosure, I am firmly entrenched in the "against" camp for Django. I believe Tarantino was hurt by the relative disinterest (at the time) many people showed for Jackie Brown - a movie that showed him evolving as a filmmaker. When he didn't get the reception he wanted, he retreated back into the safety of his genre films.) The second article is a look back at Reservoir Dogs, and an exploration of the themes and brilliant filmmaking Tarantino showed with that debut.

Great, crazy story about truck stop culture and murder.

Cool pictures from the set of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Daily Links 10/23

An ugly story about a paradise.

Want to know how the new network television shows are doing? (hint: not great)

Charles Bukowski fan? Read what he thought about the 9 to 5 job. (hint: not great)

The Popcorn Trick: Helping you in case you ever find yourself in prison.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Best from is an iPhone app music aggregator that collects free mp3s from music blogs on the web. It's got cool interface that breaks stuff down by category and makes it easy to find new music. So I've decided to browse through and call out some of the recent bands/songs I've discovered using it. Note: this is not purely 2012 music either - it can be anything that tickles my fancy, which I hope in turn tickles your fancy, whatever that fancy may be. The idea is to share some music you might otherwise never hear.

Animals - The Deloreans (File under: "Indie")

Breakers - Local Natives (File under: "Folk")

In a Big City - Titus Andronicus (File under: "Indie Rock)

Time and Place - Lee Moses (File under: "Folk")

These Strange Days - The Spiders (File under: "Garage Rock")

Daily Links 10/22

Huge Chris Elliot fan here, so it's no surprise I'm linking to this article.

Speaking of Mr. Elliot, here's a 5 part breakdown from the AV club that talks about the phenomenal television show Get a Life with its creator, David Mirkin.

Recently discovered a new band but don't want to slog through its entire discography to decide whether you like them or not? Click here to get a top 10 list of their music and decide.

Think you have what it takes to win the National Geographic Photo Contest? Check out a sampling of the submissions here to see where you stand.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Water Slide Compilation

Water slide mishaps will get me every time...

Daily Links 10/19

Remember those hikers that wandered into Iran and were arrested and detained? Well, one of them has gone to a US prison to compare them.

Only 200? The greatest? Whatever - watch this to get pumped up for it coming back in the Spring of 2013...

The title says it all...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Daily Links 10/18

I've always been fascinated by Area 51. Sure, at this point its existence is nothing more than a decoy, but for a young conspiracy buff it's the stuff of legend. And don't think, while this documentarian team broke the law, there's a big part of me that heralds them heroes.

Steven Seagal interviews are not easy to skip since they provide so much entertainment. And his most recent one apparently doesn't disappoint. Stupidly, Youtube took it down mere seconds before I was going to watch the whole thing, so all we're left with is this awesome summary of it and a teaser for it...

You can be assured if the full interview does show up, I will link to it.

Apparently, there's an ultramarathoner in Utah, who, in the offseason (I guess that would be the winter) stays in shape by building a luge course in the Wasatch Mountain range...

(Thanks to Dallas)

Ok, so there's really little setup or background to this video, but still it's fairly crazy, and I bet you watch it at least twice:

Everyone likes easy tips that makes their lives easier.

I somewhat vaguely recall this show existing, but I'm very mad that I've never actually seen an episode:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Daily Links 10/17

Remember the pictures of the space shuttle driving through the streets of Los Angeles? This is better.

R. Kelly is looking to make this the best Thanksgiving ever. 100s of chapters?

It's true. You can't please everyone all of the time.

Cedar Point is the (un)official roller coaster capital of the world. It's in Ohio. While you might not be planning on getting there anytime soon, you can still kind of "ride" their roller coasters here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Daily Links 10/16

Awesome, awesome time lapse of everything to get you started today...

Natural Phenomena - VideoSapien from Reid Gower on Vimeo.

Like cool stories about the CIA? Here's a few you can check out.

Sure, the logical part of your brain is saying how stupid this project really is. But I bet the non-logical part is trying to figure out how you can get on it when its finished. And hoping it has the old hidden smuggling compartments.

And finally, I'm not sure there could be anything better than watching Gallagher*, in slow motion...

*not sure if it's Gallagher or Gallagher II at this point.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Daily Links 10/15

Pablo Escobar's former mansion, that has been turned into a theme park. I think. The article and pictures don't really go into a lot of detail, which should be considered a crime based on the subject matter and tease.

And you thought LA traffic was bad before! (BWAHAHAHAHAHA) (No seriously, you should click on the link because it has cool pictures of the space shuttle driving through LA.)

This documentary of a film documenting a film documenting a film (I think I got that right) is begging for a mockumentary. And I know just the crew to pull it off...

Finally...I will attempt to give this a a bit of background: back in the 80s, CBS ran an awesome show called Simon and Simon. Last week, on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim this happened:

Here's the original, just so you can see how they match up:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Daily Links 10/12

Whether you've seen every episode of Cheers, or none of them, this is a great list.

A look into how the US finally got Obama, and what it took to get there (excerpt from an upcoming Marc Bowden book).

A crazy cool look at the Grand Canyon...

We might have less time on this Earth than you think (warning - scarily depressing).

Before checking out this look at strange sexy costumes, here's a quiz: Below are 4 sexy costume ideas. 3 are (shockingly) real, 1 I made up. Can you guess which one?

Sexy Corn
Sexy Nemo
Sexy iPhone
Sexy hamburger

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Daily Links 10/11

So Tarantino has a new movie coming out on Christmas - Django Unchained. Looks to be a period piece set during the days of slavery...

Now, while I appreciate Tarantino and his history of filmmaking, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I think he has gone downhill since Jackie Brown (his best film, in my opinion). I think Kill Bill is very uneven, Deathproof is pointless and Inglourious Basterds is...well, that might be another post. So I await his latest with trepidation.

But if you love him, you've gotta be excited he has a new movie coming out.

Has Rick Springfield really fallen on such hard times?

(I do appreciate the woman holding the coffee cup, singing passionately and laughing just a little too much at Rick's comments - you still got it Rick!)

The lengths a show (and its contestants) will go to remain shrouded in mystery.

You've most likely heard Penn from Penn and Teller speak about stuff - but what about Teller?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Daily Links 10/10

Yes, they're back. And if you have a more clever name for them than "Daily Links" please let me know. You will win accolades and a special place in my heart.

It's never a good thing when, while demolishing something, someone utters the words, "Uh oh."

Get ready for Halloween by booking a stay in one of these haunted hotels.

Crazy story about a cat burglar, the CIA and espionage.

I'm really not sure I can adequately comment on this scene from a Bollywood production of Jaws, other than to say Requiem for a Dream might have competition for most number of edits in a movie...

Oh weather, will you ever stop being awesome?