Most days, being a developer on the App Store is a little like this:
I admit to loving the SyFy network’s makeup reality show Faceoff. Budding young artists square off against each other each week to try and create the most elaborate, fantastic and convincing characters they can. In the last few seasons however, Faceoff has slipped into a formulaic approach where we repeatedly experience the same tropes over and over again.
It’s gotten so bad I started thinking it might actually make a great drinking game. I’m not a drinking man by nature, but if I was, a Faceoff Drinking Game would get me shit-faced (see what I did there?) super-quick. Next time you host a party and want to get sloshed with your friends, cue up any episode of Faceoff and drink whenever you spy any of the show’s oh-so-familiar trappings. You might even get drunk enough not to care that SyFy cancelled Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.
• A contestant is “excited” about this week’s Spotlight Challenge
• Two contestants who don’t work well together, naturally get paired up
• One person on a team strongly disagrees with the design direction of the other but is too timid to say anything until it’s too late
• Contestant’s makeup specialty is the very subject of this week’s challenge – zombies, vampires, steampunk, etc. (this person usually ends up being the one to go home)
• A contestant doesn’t have a “clear idea” for the direction of their makeup
• Contestant listens to sage advice from makeup master, Michael Westmore, but decides to ignore it and proceed with their own poorly designed creation
• Contestant uses a material / process they have little or no experience with
• One of the contestant’s molds “gets stuck” (take a bonus shot if said contestant starts crying on camera)
• Stuck mold miraculously freed in the last few minutes of day 2
• One of the models has an allergic reaction to a material used in their makeup
• Contestant leaves painting until Last Looks
• Glenn Hetrick’s outfit is especially goth/vampire/over the top
• One of the judges complains about the poor asymmetry of a makeup
• One of the judges points out a contestant’s makeup has little or nothing to do with this week’s challenge
• The rest of the contestants give out a collective sign of “Oh no!” when they find out which one of their talent-less peers is going home this week
UPDATED: Reader Ross Crabtree sent in some additional suggestions for our little Faceoff drinking game and they were just too good not to post, so here they are. Thanks Ross!
• Anytime Fun Fur is used in a makeup
• A contestant talks about how there are certain they are going home this week
• A contestant gushes about how they are a big fan of a guest judge
• A Contestant’s makeup appliance has a tear that needs to be repaired
• A contestant decided to not use a mold because they are running out of time
As the days and hours march inexorably towards the launch of Yosemite and iOS 8 this fall, I find my thoughts turning more and more to the fabled and much-rumored iWatch. I’ve been trying to think of what Apple could possibly offer in such a wearable device that might get me to jump in and buy one if it will indeed exist. I don’t need a time piece, I haven’t actually worn a watch in years. I stopped wearing them around the time the iPhone came out, as I’m sure many people did. I’ve read the pitiful reviews of Samsung’s early efforts with smart watches and unsurprisingly was less than impressed. Even if the design of these devices was more elegant and sleek than they currently are, the feature sets just wouldn’t be enough for me to wear both a smart watch and carry around my trusty iPhone.
In order to be desirable, Apple’s iWatch has to fulfill a need that I currently don’t know I have. While this sounds like typical Apple fanboy BS, strangely enough it actually does make sense. Steve Jobs once famously said “It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want.” and I firmly believe this. One thing that Apple does, perhaps better than any other company on the planet, is to elicit desire in people for their products. They do this by identifying key customer needs, and then meticulously design a simple and elegant solution. One so beautiful and easy to use the public doesn’t understand why it hasn’t been there all along. I really think this will be the case with the iWatch. Some of these feature sets have been speculated since day one. Perhaps some kind of intelligent notification system, health monitor or location aware smart assistant are in the cards but again, I’m not sure any of these would make me crave it.
I am sure the iWatch will not replace a user’s iPhone. The margins on these devices just won’t be high enough for that kind of strategy. Logically, a wearable iDevice would extend the functions of your iPhone (or Mac) to give you more control over your digital life. I just sat down at my Mac, so don’t send that IM to my iPhone, iPad and Mac, just my iPhone. Wouldn’t that be great? Yeah it sure would but it could also be done by simply making your iPhone smarter. My phone goes everywhere I go, I don’t need something like an iRing for that.
Unfortunately that leads us back to square one and perhaps it’s for the best. Trying to outguess Tim Cook’s Apple may be a fun diversion for bloggers and tech mavens but personally I’d rather give the talented folks at Apple the benefit of the doubt. I’m confident that if and when the iWatch does arrive it be simple to use, beautiful to look at and most of all make perfect sense. As Futurama’s Philip J. Fry once said, “Whatever is in there, it’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted!” You took the words right out of our mouths, Phillip.
Weird Al has a new album out this week and to celebrate he’s releasing a bunch of new videos, one a day for eight days. Today’s release, Word Crimes, is sheer brilliance. This educational ear worm gets added to my list of Weird Al songs that I actually like better than the originals. Other entries on that list include eBay, The Saga Begins and A Complicated Song. Word Crimes’ video features fun and fast-moving kinetic typography that I had to watch over and over to catch all the jokes. I bought Al’s album, Mandatory Fun earlier today on iTunes and it’s already one of my all-time Al favs. If you’re a Weird Al fan be sure to check it out!
This page may take a few moments to load, but if you’re a Star Trek fan like I am, it’s worth it. Some geeks recently trained their image stabilization software towards the decks of the Starship Enterprise with hilarious results. These animated GIF’s show what the director and crew saw while filming these scenes for the various incarnations of Star Trek.
The original series used the shakey cam all the time so it’s really fun to see just how these shots were choreographed. I’m struck by the sheer number of people who were apparently on the bridge at the time of this impact. I love the blocking ballet that George Takei as Sulu has to do here to not only get out of his chair, but somehow hit the floor without breaking his neck. Well done, George, well done!
Meanwhile on the set of 1982′s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the Enterprise takes a hit and once again no one is wearing seat belts. DeForrest Kelly is in his usual position for bridge scenes (above and behind the Captain) and once again he goes flying on cue, but this time to the right. It is me or is Kirstie Alley kinda phoning it in here as Savvik? So much fun!
Fast forward to S7 of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s episode Force of Nature. I could watch this stabilized clip on a loop for days. I love how everyone’s doing their own little stylized dance to convey the rocking of the Enterprise. Jonathan Frakes clutches his chair and appears to simultaneously steady himself AND rock the chair convincingly for the camera. The Hekaran scientist with Worf on the 2nd level struggles to hold on while the ensign in the back lurches, helping to complete the illusion. Oh, and Patrick Stewart may be the only person I know who can make shaking for the camera actually look cool. Okay, maybe not.
I love this hilarious gif of Next Generation’s Brent Spiner as Data pilots the Enterprise through a particularly violent jolt. You can imagine the crew member standing just off camera waiting to give his chair and console a good WHACK! when the director calls action. I wonder how many takes this took to get through without Brent cracking up.
This last GIF is from the Original Series but it’s almost 5mb, so if you want to take a gander, click here. Classic TOS fun!
SPOILER WARNING: This post contains minor spoilers for CBS’ Big Bang Theory. If you’re not caught up on season 7, you might not want to read. Then again maybe you’re okay with it. It’s up to you. What I’m saying here is you’ve been warned!
One of my all-time favorite TV shows, The Big Bang Theory, has been picked up for not just one, but three additional seasons. Yesterday CBS announced the multi-season deal to the delight of geeks everywhere. It’s really not surprising considering “Big Bang” has been ranked as the No. 1 sitcom since the 2010-11 season, and continues to hold the top spot in key demographics for the second straight year. Drawing that many key viewers each week is a huge deal for Big Bang and I wish the show continued success, although I do have some reservations.
Writing a weekly sitcom is a massive challenge but none more so than keeping the plot lines fresh and interesting. Ten seasons is a *ton* of stories to tell and even though the cast expanded to seven actors a few years back, there’s only so many character dynamics they can introduce. This year’s stories between Penny and Leonard have sometimes seemed forced and even mean-spirited. Leonard’s wavering support of Penny’s career in The Hesitation Ramification really didn’t bode well for their relationship and was rough to watch. Then we have Sheldon and Amy. Their relationship has moved forward a great deal this season including their very first kiss in The Locomotion Manipulation, but if the show is to survive they need to grow even further. The trick for the writers is not to jump the Shamy shark too soon. We’re all waiting for the episode where Amy and Sheldon finally have “coitus” as Sheldon would say, but once it happens where do they go from there? Will the so-called “Big Bang” be anti-climatic once it finally happens? And what about Howard and Bernadette? Their stories seem to have been put on the back burner lately, hopefully with 3 new seasons we’ll see more of them and maybe even a glimpse at Howard’s mom. And don’t get me started on Raj, that poor boy.
As a fan I’m delighted that my favorite comedy will be around for years to come. I especially enjoy this year’s guest stars like Bill Nye and Bob Newhart, I hope we see more of them. If anyone can continue to give us stories that make us laugh, squee with geeky delight and tear up week after week, it’s the Big Bang team. I know a lot of people don’t like the show and it’s over-the-top style, studio audience howling and nerd-centric jokes. But for those of us who tune in each week, The Big Bang Theory brightens our day, eases our stress and let’s us see a little bit of our geeky selves in the lives of Dr. Sheldon Cooper and Lenoard Hofstadter. It’s like a comforting, warm beverage served up by a close, funny friend and who doesn’t like that?
I love this fan trailer for The Worf of Starfleet for a couple reasons. First, it’s just well made. It makes Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation look totally bad-ass. Second, it highlights how badly Next Generation wants to be shown in widescreen. Seeing the TV show formatted like this makes it 1000x more epic. It’s a shame the new blu ray discs of Next Generation are still formatted 4:3 for the small screen, but that’s not their fault. Next generation really was before its time. In the meantime, you can never have enough honor. Enjoy!
(hat tip @davidcaolo for the link)
Anyone who can find commonality between Deep Space Nine, Hogan’s Heroes, Back to the Future and Happy Days is okay in my book. I love TV and movie supercuts and this is one of the most clever I’ve seen. Take all those times when characters fix broken equipment with a good whack and what you get is percussive perfection. Enjoy!
I’ve decided to pull an IO9 and have my readers blog for me. What does that mean? It means some popular blogs like the sci-fi blog, IO9 have a lazy habit of writing non-posts. That is to say they pose a question and have their readers flush out the content in the comments section. This week’s example asks “What’s the most pointless rivalry in all of fandom?”. So my question to you, gentle readers is what list of top ten things would you like to see this blog post be about? Be sure to leave your ideas in the comments along with links, so I don’t have to bother thinking of these things myself. KTHXBAI!
UPDATE: Two in one week! Way to go, Charlie!
UPDATE II: This week Charlie Anders at IO9 asks her readers to write her blog post about the most epic friendship in science fiction. Keep it up, Charlie!
SPOILER WARNING: If you’ve not seen all three seasons of The Walking Dead, this video may contain some minor spoilers for you. Watch at your own risk.
I’ve enjoyed the Bad Lip Reading parody videos for some time, but this new one based on AMC’s The Walking Dead is by far the best yet. It’s amazingly well done, especially the voice acting which makes it even funnier. If you love The Walking Dead, you’re in for a treat. The Governor’s finale alone is worth the price of admission.
I love it when artists manage to mix the adorable and the horrible with style. This disturbingly cute PSA announcement hits the nail square on the animated head and the results tickled me pink. The song in the video, by Tangerine Kitty, is even available on iTunes! Enjoy.
Of all the political videos this election season, this skillful take off of MC Hammer’s U Can’t Touch This has to be my favorite. It’s awesome on so many levels it’s difficult to describe but I love seeing Michelle grooving and Barack crooning. It also highlights the media’s obsession with playing the “gotcha!” game with our politicians, especially the President. The fading commentary at the end is particularly cringe worthy. “There’s no taking Obama out of context!” and my personal favorite – “Obama should have known better. You don’t put the subject apart from the predicate!” Yes, he should have known better. Enjoy.
My favorite television comedy, The Big Bang Theory, returns to TV on Thursday, Sept 27th on CBS. To get ready, I’ve been going back and re-watching many of the season 4 and 5 episodes that I love the most. The Alien Parasite Hypothesis (the one where Amy gets the hots for Penny’s friend Zach) and The Shiny Trinket Maneuver in which Sheldon buys Amy a tiara as a transparent attempt to sooth her relationship anger (the ep earned her an Emmy nomination) are two stand-outs. As the series has progressed, my favorite part of the show has morphed from watching the male leads interact to the relationship that has developed between the three female leads – Penny, Amy and Bernadette. The way Penny and Bernadette adopted the socially awkward Amy into their group is adorable, as is the crush Amy has on Kaley Cuoco’s character, Penny.
Of all the relationships Big Bang has featured, I think the Sheldon / Amy duo has to be the best. They are two wallflowers who are brilliant in their respective fields but who are children when it comes to their emotions. This has changed over the course of the show as the writers took definite steps to move Sheldon & Amy’s (Shamy for short) relationship forward. Over time, Sheldon has elevated Amy from a “Girl who happens to be his friend” to his actual girlfriend. In the season 5 finale, Sheldon incredibly took Amy’s hand as they watched their friend Howard boldy travel into space. If you are a fan of Big Bang, this moment probably gave you goose bumps as it did me.
I love The Big Bang Theory because I can often relate to the geeky jokes and situations the writers create for the characters. The show is ripe with Star Trek, comics and video game references, but it is the characters and their relationships that give the show the deep, emotional satisfaction I love so much. Like many fans, I’ve been rooting for Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Folwer to get together, and I believe that one day they will.
In a wonderful season 4 interview between Jim Parsons and Mayim Bialik, they reveal their working relationship, how they prepare to film a script and that they too are rooting for their characters to make it. Often times we as fans forget that an actor ultimately doesn’t have the final say in what happens to the characters they portray, the writers and producers do. If any of the show’s writers are reading this, all I can say is keep up the great work. We love how Amy & Sheldon have grown closer towards each other and we want more. Just not too fast, getting there is more than half the fun! Tune in to the season 6 premiere of The Big Bang Theory on CBS on Thursday, Sept 27th. Go Team #Shamy!
I love word play and puns probably more than I should and so when I see a funny bit of merchandise combining two of my favorite franchises in a clever way, I spring into action to snap it up. Such is the case with this hilarious t-shirt from Redbubble featuring Star Trek’s Leonard McCoy posing as Ned Stark from George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. If you’re a fan of either series then I’m sure you’ll want to hightail it over and grab it while you can. Dammnit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a king!
[Via Fashionably Geek]
Being the huge Bigfoot freak that I am, I recently went on an expedition of discovery. This sojourn wasn’t to traverse the American Northwest in search of Sasquatch, (I would love to do that someday BTW) but to find the latest and greatest Bigfoot bling. I know there have got to be geeks like myself out there that can’t get enough of the huge, mythic ape-man and so I fired up Google and trekked off into the digital wilderness. If you have a Bigfoot fan in your life, maybe some of these items will come in handy as a future birthday, Christmas or bar mitzvah present.
• Bigfoot Air Freshener – Patterned after the big guy in the famous Patterson-Gimlin film. Personally I think it would have been much cooler to go all authentic and replicate the infamous Bigfoot stench for this one, but I guess the scent of pine trees goes over better with the ladies. [$6.95 via Amazon]
• Bigfoot Garden Yeti Statue – The promotional text for this resin garden statue of the legendary Sasquatch says visitors will do a “double take” it’s so life-like. Yes, because everyone knows Bigfoot isn’t 8-12 feet tall, he’s really just 2. Still, it’s kinda cute. One thing PR dudes, he’s either a Bigfoot OR a Yeti, not both! [ONLY $125 via Design Toscano]
• Bigfoot, the Bashful Yeti Tree Sculpture – Our friends at Design Toscano are at it again, this time with a resin sculpt “Painstakingly hand-painted to make passers-by look twice” that you can hang in your favorite tree. This one looks a bit too “Planet of the Apes” for my tastes but your Bigfoot buddy will probably love it. Probably. [$69.95 via Design Toscano]
• Fisher-Price Imaginext Big Foot The Monster – What kid wouldn’t want a 14″ animatronic robot of a creature that has been known to break into houses, kill hogs and scare kitty cats to death? This adorable toy may not come with livestock accessories but he can pound his fists, walk forward and back and even does somersaults! [$74.99 via Amazon]
• Sasquatch’s Big, Hairy Drawing Book – How do we market a notepad of 120 almost blank pages to kids and parents? Easy! We’ll slap Sasquatch on the cover and watch the money roll in! Featuring “page after page of off-the-wall gags and fillin doodle prompts” Sasquatch’s Big, Hairy Drawing Book could be the ultimate discovery for that Bigfoot lover in your life, or it could be the biggest fun-time hoax of all time. Your call. [$12.95 via Amazon]
• ‘Gone Sasquatchin’ Gear – Nothing says “Hey, I’m a huge, hairy nerd!” like Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot t-shirts, hoodies and baseball caps. If you order within the next 24 hours, they’ll also throw in their Backyard Bigfoot Recipe Book. Perfect for all those redneck BBQ’s down at the ol’ swamp. [Assorted prices via DiscoveryStore.com]
• Patterson-Gimlin Film Site Track Cast – Okay, call off the hunt! If you’re looking for the perfect gift for that Bigfoot fan in your life, it doesn’t get any better than this plaster replica of a Sasquatch track from Bluff Creek. Taken from one of the footprints left at the 1967 Patterson Gimlin film site, it even comes with a certificate of authenticity. I bet it’s even notarized. Seriously, who’s buying me this? [$40 via BigfootSurplus.com]
Evidently this family rocks out to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” every morning on the way to school. Pretty darned awesome, but it’s the little tike in the car seat that really makes it.
A hundred years or so ago when I was attending RIT, my friend and college professor Steve Loar, introduced my classmates and I to one of his personal loves, an old radio show named Chickenman. Created by broadcast hall of fame inductee Dick Orkin in 1966 for Chicago’s WCFL, Chickenman was inspired by the popular TV series “Batman”. Originally scheduled to run just two weeks, the show’s popularity took flight and eventually became nationally syndicated, ensuring its success. Today Chickenman remains the longest running radio show in history and can be heard on XM Radio’s Channel 151 and American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS).
Each episode checks in around 2 minutes long and tells the tale of Midland City’s Fantastic Feathered Fowl, an anti-hero who roams Midland City seeking criminals in his yellow crime-fighting car, the Chicken Coupe. He has a secret headquarters, the Chicken Cave, accessible through a trap door in his bedroom closet and when his duties as shoe store manager keeps him busy, his mother Mildred fills in as the “Maternal Marauder“.
Back when Steve introduced us to Chickenman in 1990, there were only a handful of episodes were released on vinyl, but every one of them managed to bring a smile to my face. I used to love listening to the White Winged Warrior hang out in the mayor’s office, generally annoying the almost-unflappable Miss Helfinger, performed to acerbic perfection by Jane Roberts.
I recently discovered that all 273 episodes of Chickenman are available via iTunes for download and I’ve been in poultry heaven ever since. If you love snarky, quick-paced humor, comics or just want to have a good laugh, wing your way over to iTunes and check out Dick Orkin’s Chickenman. Just remember evil doers, he’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!
I’ve been wanting to try my hand at one of these “Hitler learns…” videos since the meme started last year. The historic passage of health care reform gave me just the excuse I needed to give it a shot. Hopefully you’ll have as much fun watching as I had editing. Enjoy!
Totally immature, totally tasteless and absolutely hilarious! When I hit the play button I was sure this Trek parody would end up being too long, but by the time it was over, I didn’t want it to end. Can’t imagine the effort it took to find & edit all these clips. The bits with Geordi & Wesley are my favorite, the 4:13 and 6:30 marks almost made me fall out of my chair. Engage and enjoy!