The Halting Point

Monday, October 30, 2006

Battle of the Vinyl Album Art Mashup

While I recognize most of my music collection by their MP3 file names and the folders I save them in, it appears the older generations were treated to a vast array of iconic vinyl record album covers. The artwork on those albums ranged from mysterious, to pornographic and always seemed to tell a story. Well, it seems someone with incredible video editing and rotoscoping skills feels the same way and has created the video below that mashes up the various album covers in a hilarious blend of violence.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Trivia Anyone?

So my friend and fellow poster Erik has been trying to wrangle me in to come to Trivia Night every Wednesday at a local Chicago bar. While trivia can be fun, especially when there is wings and beer involved (ie. "Super Trivia" episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force), I just haven't been up to it, mostly because I don't have a vast wealth of knowledge about stupid little facts I would have no need of knowing. But, I've decided to do a little training. Found this handy trivia blog that gives random facts about a certain topic in every post. Pretty useful I guess. I wonder if there are any good free online trivia games that can top You Don't Know Jack. Now THAT was a fun trivia game.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Yoda Stewie and more in the Best Photoshop Contest Evar!

The Worth1000 Star Wars celeb photoshop contest has to be one of the best I've seen yet on there. Some of the entries are just amazing as you'll see in the first 10 or so top-rated ones. My second favorite (for obvious reasons) is this mashup of Uma Thurman as a Sith Lord. As one of the commenters in that picture points out, there is a little bit of blurring around her arms which was just sloppy Photoshopping, but when she looks that hot, do you honestly care?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The new Audi R8. Drool...

When I was younger, I used to see myself as a BMW boy. They handle great, and they're fun cars. Then as I got older I thought...well...I could be a Mercedes man. It is a bit more refined...

Then I saw the new Audi R8, and I knew I wanted to run BMWs and Mercedes off the road with it. Audi, I <3 you. As I look at the new luxury cars available, I've always appreciated Audi's extremely refined and modest sense of style, finesse and power. This tosses that all aside and says seems to squint at you as if saying..."let's race." Too bad I could never afford one of these. In the meantime I'll have to set my sights on the Audi S4.

Bono and Oprah and The Gap make fans wait and freeze for nothing.

As part of The Gap's PRODUCT(RED) campaign, they arranged for Bono and Oprah to make an appearance at The Gap on the corner of Ohio and Michigan Ave. here in Chicago. According to the press release, (RED), the organization founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver, seeks to marry charity with consumer spending power, harnessing many international brands in their fight against AIDS in Africa. Some of the other companies participating in this are Converse, Emporio Armani and Motorola.

The campaign site features the entire range of PRODUCT(RED) albeit in an agonizingly slow slideshow format. Although to be fair it is October 12th right now, and their website says the line will be available October 13th. I saw the crowd of people on the way to work on the 151 this morning, so I stopped by and said that Oprah and Bono should be showing up at 9:15 I decided it was too damn cold and went to work. Went out again at 10 and there were even MORE people there. Both sides of the street were packed, as was the median in the road. As you can see from the pictures, there was quite a bit of space between my crowd of people I was standing in and the red carpet. It wasn't initially that bad when I first showed up at 9...we were right at the carpet, but then they kept pushing us back and back and back, and set up blockades.

Did I mention that during this time Chicago was in the midst of receiving its first flakes of snow of the year? Then, to add insult to freezing injury, a group of young too-trendy looking people show up all dressed in red with jackets on. Must be the gap employees. They of course got to line up about a foot away from the entrance and completely blocked any view we would have had. We then got to sit through some rousing fake cheers from the gap employees directed by the Harpo crew. Least we all got a good chuckle out of how fake it was. Although I admit I feel bad for some of those people because Harpo made them remove their jackets to get good footage, even though there were blistering winds.

Then, after about another 45 minutes of waiting, people start cheering as a Mercedes with its hazard lights on comes down the street and stops at the corner. Its Bono. He gets out and walks back to the red Thunderbird right behind him to open the driver's side door and lets out the big O. Although she wasn't that big. I'm not one to follow celebs, but Oprah looked pretty damn thin. The more amazing part of that though was that she was ACTUALLY DRIVING. Although I'm sure her "people" just had her driver get out of the car and swap seats with her at Illinois and Michigan. Can't leave things like that to chance now can we!

There was much cheering and then 5 seconds later it ended as Oprah and Bono promptly walked into the store, leaving the many fans, some of whom had been waiting for 2 hours to see them, standing slack-jawed in the freezing cold and flurries.

Did they need to push the fans back that far? Certainly not. Was it unfair for the Gap people to be right up front completely blocking the views of people who had been waiting for an hour or more? Most definitely.

When I left they were setting up a microphone stand and said that they would be speaking, but it would be a bit later, probably in more than an hour and they had no real idea when.

While I am all in favor of the promotion, which donates 50% of the PRODUCT(RED) proceeds to fight AIDS in Africa, I have to say that Harpo and The Gap really screwed over the fans on this one, making them wait in freezing weather for upwards of 2 hours just in order to get a 5 second glimpse of Bono and Oprah...if their view wasn't completely obstructed by The Gap employees. And for those thinking I should have been on the other side of the street, well, that wouldn't have been any better since there was a wall of news crews and massive camera rigs lining the edge of the sidewalk, preventing any reasonable view at all. The only good spot was on the median which looked like a bunch of castaways clinging to a life raft due to how many people were trying to crowd on there.

I asked if they would be coming back out to speak since there was a mic platform set up with all the news station mics, but they said it probably wouldn't be for another 45 minutes, if not an hour or more. Not really worth sticking around for with the weather like that. What a disappointment.

Us common folk completely distanced and blocked off from the "redshirts" before they were forced to remove their jackets by Harpo.

Shot of the store window with a text board talking about PRODUCT(RED)

Hilarious placard they placed near us on the sidewalk letting us know that Harpo OWNS us, or rather any images and video they take during this promotion.

*Note: All photos were taken by Michael Shostack, copyright 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

TechCruch's Love/Hate Relationship With PPP

TechCruch recently posted a story about the PayPerPost blog advertising service that I currently use to fund this site. Of course, this is freely hosted, so what I mean by that is it funds the time I spend writing here and providing you all with content to soak up like the little news sponges you are.

It seems PayPerPost just acquired $3mm in VC funding which definitely goes to show they have a viable business. But TechCrunch seems to take issue with the ethical concerns that come up. I too have concerns about this, particulary for opportunities REQUIRING a positive review. Which is why I opt to only take opportunities marked "+/-" which means I can say whatever the hell I want about things, positive or negative. This allows me to make money...basically by providing them with a "sponsored" post, and giving them the credibility of having my site (with a Google PageRank of 5) link to them, while at the same time allowing me to maintain journalistic integrity.

As I've said before...this sort of service is a godsend to small and medium size blogs unable to monetize through Adsense and other ad programs. I will be paid $10 for this post. Compared with the $11 I've made in the entire time my blog has been active through Adsense. You be the judge whether this is a good thing or not.