Webisodes and The Streamys

On Saturday night was the first ever Streamy awards! The Streamys recognize excellence in entertainment created specifically for online broadcast. Normally award shows seem to be a very self congratulatory affair, but this was different. Mainly for the reason that most of the nominees are relative unknowns. The awards served as a great introduction to some really inspired content being shown online this year.

Here are a few of the most interesting shows I found in the weeks leading up to the Streamys:

Dr. Horrible is probably the best know of all the web series nominated this year. It also won the most awards, natch. If you don't know this show you really need to stop everything and go watch it now. The coupling of Neil Patrick Harris and Joss Whedon alone should be reason enough. But throwing in Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day make this one a no brainer.

Who is Felicia Day you might ask? Well, she is the star and creator of The Guild. The Guild is about a group of online gamers who really would rather never venture outside their games but are reluctantly forced to once or twice. The creation of The Guild is an inspiring story as well, the creator, an unemployed actress in Los Angeles, decided to stop waiting for someone to cast her and instead went out and created something herself. Day's acceptance speech on Saturday said something to this effect as well and it got the biggest ovation of the night at the show.

There was another show related to The Guild that was up for a number of awards last night. The Legend of Neil is created by one of the stars of the Guild, Sandeep Parikh. The subject matter is similar as well, it's about a man who falls asleep and finds himself living in the game world. Like TRON but with more masturbation jokes.

Sometimes you get sucked into these shows and end up watching 20 episodes in a row. That’s what happened when I found Dorm Life. This (like the above two) is a classic sort of web series since it features a fresh faced cast and crew. College life comedy is a well worn path but Dorm Life really stands out with killer characterizations and performances. If you spent your entire first year of college doing absolutely no work you will most likely relate to this show.

On the flip side of the emerging talent trend, many shows online boast impressive amounts of recognizable talent. One of the best known being Children's Hospital which is created by Rob Corddry and features many, many other comedic actors. Simply the image of Corddry in bloody scrubs and clown makeup was enough to get me into this show (and he wears that in every scene.)

Another celebrity centered show, which I enjoyed but might be too rough for some audiences, is Star-ving created by David Faustino. You might know him as Bud Bundy and this series depicts his life post stardom in a twisted fun house mirror image of tinsel town. It’s reminiscent of the TV series Action and like I said is not for everyone but I'm sure it has an audience out there. (Mark Lisanti I'm looking at you.)

It's interesting to watch the trends in entertainment evolve but it's much more interesting to stop reading news stories about it and simply enjoy some great performance and great writing. Thanks Streamys for showcasing such great shows, there are literally dozens more I have to delve into still.



Congrats to my buddy Duncan! Variety reports today that his screenplay SWINGLES has gotten Cameron Diaz attached to it! It's an excuse for me to type more exclamation marks and for me to post this picture!


Generation Loss

This film was made by opening and re-saving a single jpg over and over until the increased compression rendered it incoherent. The film was featured in the Rotterdam Film Festival this year and on Boing Boing. It's a creative new process of making a moving image and definitely worth 60 seconds of your time:

Generation Loss from hadto on Vimeo.

Virginia Festival of Student Film

I'm gonna be a featured guest there! And look, they already put my name up on their website, isn't that lovely! I'll be sure to post all the postmortem details here.

I love Virginia and I love film students so this is an obvious delight for me.


Sudoku Pizza

In my ongoing pizza coverage I am happy to provide you with...Sudoku pizza!
Nerdy and delicious. Found via Neatorama.


Daylight savings rant

Last year I complained about daylight savings time here. And I've also cheered rumors Obama would do away with this relic here. And finally I've tried to make an argument for globalized time here. So as we spring forward this morning, I feel the time has come for more complaints.

As we approached this particular DST, I thought about how the government takes my money, gives it to insurance companies who refuse to pay for my medical needs, they regulate where I can smoke, what I can do to my body, in my own house... everything. But the one thing I hate them for regulating more than anything is time. TIME? How can you regulate time? It's like if they wanted to alter gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. If you want to regulate time you should establish global time and that's it!

It's as stupid as Illinois deciding that Pluto is still a planet. So Pluto is a planet once you cross the state line of Illinois but not after you leave? I live in a state where the government representatives can barely figure out how to keep the economy moving, so I really don't trust them to coordinate arbitrary recalibration of time.

Let's please do away with this pointless exercise once and for all.


I love robots

I was cleaning the house this morning in tandem with my robotic helper, Dirt Dog. This is not the first robot I've owned but it's easily the best. Looking forward I'm sure the next generation will wonder at how we ever lived without robots EVERYWHERE. This industry is going to be key to our future growth as well, undoubtedly. Look at some of the pictures from this Boston Big Picture collection of modern robots. These are not Sci-Fi imagined models of what we might have some day. These creatures exist on our planet right now.

Also, I'm reading Saturn's Children right now which is about a universe populated with robots after all of humanity has died off. Looking at these photos, I'm more and more convinced that we will be leaving more than a few of these machines whirring about after we are gone.
(This is a simulation with dummies. This robot is supposed to act in a situation where the area is irradiated and people cannot otherwise be retrieved.)


2009 Silverlake Cheese Pizza Competition

Thanks to everyone who participated in this tremendous event last week. Admittedly this was a non-scientific assessment of the pizza delivery skills of our neighborhood. But I got some great feedback and made a lot of people eat a lot of pizza so the least I could do is to post the results here.

Arrival time:
Nikki D approx 20 minutes
Tomato pie 21 min
Hard times 31 min
Lucifer’s 37 min
Buena Pizza 39
Andiama 59 min
Il Capriccio 1 hr 1 minute
Garage pizza 1 hr 9 min

Bear in mind this was on high volume Oscar Sunday so in consideration of that I feel all the contestants did very well.

Sifting through the pizza stained ballots, I thank all the participants and apologize for this year’s slight sloppy event. I can tell we were a little under prepared since a few people had to use paper plates to record notations

Here is the judges’ feedback:

Nikki D; “good, light” 1 star “A” “Awesome!” “Good, soft crust, oregano finish, very pleasant” “doughy, smoky, so-so tomato and cheese” Oregano finish, cheese start, crust chewy and supple 8” “cheese yummy but fell off”

Tomato Pie: “Ok, pedestrian” 3 star “B” “good” “less taste, very straightforward cheese, not enough taste” “nice crust” “ Oily start, subtle sauce 7” “not enough sauce”

Hard times “ok” 3star “C” ”good” “Tangy cheese, in between Nikki D and Tomato pie,” “very tasty, good cheese, a little crispy but nice crust” “ rubbery and tasteless 3” “too sweet”

Lucifer’s, “good, hot, points for unique” 2 star “D” “too spicy” “too dry, not enough cheese, spiciness needs more cheese” “tastes like jalapenos, cheese is hard, crust dry, not enough sauce” “spicy, inedible” “spicy jalapeno”

Buena “good tough, first few bites great but dry crust at the end” “too salty, very salty” “ok, like pizza hut” “unremarkable, pretty bland, I’d put it in the middle” “good parts but cheese is light and crust too chewy” “cheese thick and fantastic crust, crunchy soft finish 9” “too salty”

Andiama: “Great, but weird crust” 3 star “canned tomato sauce” “terrible! Shite! I throw it up!” “Very tomatoey but in 2nd place” “sauce too sweet, cheese light, doughy crust, crunchy at edge but soggy. Illegible” “sauce tangy and delicious/crust cornmeal yuck 6” “crust bad, undercooked”

Il Capriccio: “Damn good” 2 stars “too salty” “ok, salty and cold” “could care less” “ tough, a little too much salt” “a blue cheese aftertaste but good crust 5” “salty”

Garage:” eh” 3 star “weird tasting sauce” “good but cold” “also unmemorable” “chewy, weird taste” ‘Good sauce, not enough cheese 5”

I disagree with some of these comments, but everyone is entitled to their own opinions I suppose. I for one enjoy a bit of saltiness in my pizza but it seemed to turn off many other participants.

An important factor seemed to be arrival time; a pizza hot out of the oven scored much much better than one sitting in the box. So pizza purveyors take note, be fleet of foot and do not get concerned if you approach a door and there are already 2 other pizza guys there.

If I had to declare a winner, I would say that Nikki D’s came out on top this weekend. I still will be ordering from some of these other places but it definitely gave me a different perspective on that classic across the lake.

Additionally I’ve learned that I clearly have too much free time on my hands and if you place your average group of friends in a critical setting they will become very judgey all the sudden and find something to complain about with everything! Seriously though, this was a lot of fun and I really appreciate everyone who indulged in my silliness.

Stay tuned for the next installment in Island Zero pizza challenges, The Great Pepperoni Adventure!