I’ve signed up to Volunteer at ROFLCon again. I haven’t gotten any assignments yet, but I’m super excited after seeing the initial schedule. Sadly it overlaps with Kentucky Derby Day so I won’t be throwing a derby party this year despite that I very much want to do that again as well.
Archive for the ‘ROFLCon’ Category
The Internets and I had an excellent evening together tonight. It all started with a need to eat up the most perishable foods in the house before I head home for the holidays. What can you make with eggs and chicken, google of course has the answer. What, it needs spinach, too oh man, there’s a huge bag of it that’ll never get finished before I leave. I was lacking for tomatoes, but with a little salt instead Tuscan Chicken Scramble was a crazy fast meal with all the right ingredients.
While I was trying to eat my dinner, and watch episode of Sliders, my phone interrupted asking for advice on buy it’s girlfriend… rather my friend’s girlfriend a holiday gift. I love turning goals into gifts, especially for significant others, but having always been alone for Christmas, I often just help. He suggested a “cookbook? Not the greatest gift but… it will give us something to do together (and you know that’s something I think we need).” I respond, “Yes, activity book for adults, good deal. Another idea along the same line (something to do) tickets to a show,” eliciting “Ooh. That’s an even better idea. Damn you. I love that idea. I’m already in a bookstore And now I’m going to have to see what shows are going on”. Luckily, “our phones rock.” And he was able to do it all standing right there in the bookstore. All the while discussing the shows, which I was surprised to find I knew a lot about. For instance, earlier today I had in fact read about one of them selling out often. And that was in the same vain as another show I’d heard of. One my other goals, besides not being alone for Christmas, is to know what is going on, apparently I do, and I didn’t need the net for that, strictly speaking in this case. There is still something to be said for knowing facts, even with the net always in my cargo pocket.
Following dinner, I started cleaning house, and left the roomba to do it’s job downstairs. I sat down to wrap a gift and finally get to know, Know Your Meme. I really love their style, and there are few memes that I did need to hear an explanation on. But mostly it was an excellent trip to some of the best places on the Internet, without even going, just listening to them being extolled for their virtues. It was like a mini roflcon!
Finally, it came time to but a bow on that gift. I don’t have fake bows, but I do have red ribbon left over from that Halloween costume. So pause that know your meme episode, and head over to google. First result, of course, a ~2 minute you tube video. 5 minutes later, ribbon tied, gift wrapped ready for tomorrow.
Back to more meme history goodness. Via the Three Wolf Moon episode, a quick stop, back by you tube for an actual meme instance, in the form of this amazing Three Wolf Moon music video set to a Disney song. And of course, now I stay up too late considering I’ve got a 9:30 meeting telling the internets about how it fully entertained me for a night.
Nothing profound is ending for me anytime soon, but it sort of feels like it due to some well done final episodes. A year in the making, the final, first episode of the Tim & Diana Show was released yesterday. Having matured greatly over the year the show was humorously insightful and a lot of fun for a roughly bimonthly break from reality to the world of meta reality. There’s a paper half written in my head for which the Tim & Diana show is but one support; hopefully, I’ll figure it out and write it down soon. I might have to wait until after digesting the directors commentary available on the DVD, which I hope my status as number one fan will get me a copy of.
The other show that ended well was Scrubs. When I first moved to Boston, I lived for two weeks in a hotel in Burlington, MA. Only one of those weeks I was working. The first week I was dealing with moving my stuff and watching Scrubs. I watched seasons 1 – 3 in that week (I think). It was just amazingly hilarious. I forget which, but one of those early seasons is in the running for best season of television I’ve ever seen. Since then Scrubs has soured, so much so that I begged them to put the show out of its misery at the end of season seven (Note: no actual literal begging or letter writing occurred). That said season eight has been quite a surprise and the ending, while not funny, was so well done it can’t go unmentioned.
I just absolutely loved the wonder years type filmstrip ending to Scrubs, which I didn’t get around to watching until yesterday. I really liked the twist that it wasn’t saying from the future, what did happen, but only saying what might happen. The scenes totally hit me, if only I could look forward to that kind of thing (maybe I can). Also, the music in season 8 of Scrubs has been amazing and it continued to be in that scene.
that now I’ve enjoyed it for two reasons: for the comedy that it was and the drama it became. Before this episode I somewhat resented how it was often more touching the funny in than latter seasons.
Wow, am I behind. EC was in Boston a week ago, to volunteer for the Boston FIRST regional and hang out with all her Boston friends. Instead of detailing the whole thing I’m gonna start allowing myself to write in a more short form. In hopes that I can keep the blog more in sync with my life.
- I had to skip out on EC friday because I had a date. We went to a comedy show, which was funny, would go again, but there won’t be another date :-/
- Saturday I met up with EC. I got to be a tour guide without a plan; using my geography and local culture knowledge to great effect. I’ve been spending a lot of time boning up on local culture, news, and ‘things to do’ knowledge; it felt good to use it. It validated all the time I’ve been spending. We went to Sunset in Allston and later Miracle of Science for the record.
- We hung out at MIT for maybe two hours, being cool, failing to provide directions, and snooping around in classrooms. One of the classrooms had some thermodynamics/aeronautical stuff on the board. EC was thrilled.
- I met two former classmates of hers, they were both cool.
- All of us went to party in East Cambridge. Tim Hwang was there, I’m the biggest fan of the show he does with Diana. I met them at ROFLCon last year. He remembered my name! He invited me to come to some talks hes organizing! So awesome.
- At the party there was an RIP 2am card for everyone to sign. Good call, otherwise I’d have forgotten about the time change. Which is bad when your friend is flying out in the morning.
- After 2 hours of sleep I drove her to the providence airport. We made it in perfect time. It was a great weekend. Then I came back and did some spring cleaning that really needed to be done.
There was so much good discussion in this panel that I didn’t want it to end. They started off talking about everyone’s first videos. iJustines’s first video was born out of quitting her job by making a dvd as a parting gift for her boss. Brookers’ first video was just a introduction for her mySpace page. This was, back before either mySpace or you tube were big. I hadn’t realized exactly how far back she was involved.
Brookers was, apparently, the first break out star of you tube. She realized this when she moved from getting constructive criticism to hateful comments. She has not made any money due to not selling out. I randomly clicked on some of her recent videos after ROFLCOn and discovered that I really don’t like her videos. However, wth Brookers unable to list the video she was proud of Mike steped in to suggest Cell Block Tango, which – I must say – is somewhat enjoyable.
In person she is very cute in the perpetually embarrassed shy kind of way. It is very strange for someone who is a performer. I guess that’s what you get from the internet. This was just what I picked up from watching her movements and expressions on the video and in person at the event. She later corroborated this story saying:
“In my town where I’m from in Holden. When I was in High School I didn’t exist, like I was so quiet I remember when half way through the year like sophomore year I raised my hand to goto the bathroom and everyone turned around, their like ‘who is that?’ like it was crazy so its really funny cause I have a few friends still from holden and everyone and everyone talks about, ‘hey did you hear some girl is like famous but nobody knows who I am.”
In the first few minutes Michael Buckley of the What the Buck show really sold himself. He described two different scenarios in the course of the development of his show where he received some positive feedback and just ran with things in that direction. This is how he moved from cable access to you tube and arrived at his one take, fast spoken format. I have actually seen his stuff, and enjoyed it, without knowing about him, or following him. That’s not true of any of the other panelists, what that’s worth.
Of course there was the necessary discussion about making money. Rhett & Link are all about selling out in order to do their work full time and support their families. Somehow I can respect them for this while holding it against Jib Jab. I suppose that I am familiar with the low level of quality coming out of Jib Jab, but I’m not familiar with Rhett and Link and as such I can’t actually compare. They are, however, still interested in managing user expectations, something Mike spoke to. Myabe this also plays a part in respecting their decision to sell out. The big revelation is that all the people who complain you’ve sold out still watch.
There were three things that I learned that surprised me. First, You Tube has a live component called YouStream? What? Apparently people don’t believe that it is actually live. I know I wouldn’t. Of course they make silly requests to prove it is live. Second, there is not much loyalty to You Tube with respect to other internet video sites. iJustine and Mike use other sites regularly. Rhett & Link have their own site. Brookers remains the most true to you tube, but not exclusive. Everyone was very adamantly opposed to leaving the internet for mainstream media, which was one of the first things Mike’s former agent suggested. Although, they are not very keen on all the random cat video’s that get all the attention on you tube. Finally, Both Mike and Rhett & Link cited recent videos they made about Hannah Montana. Is she really that big?! I mean this isn’t mainstream this is you tube personalities. I guess people are searching for it, so if you want people to find you, talk about what they are searching for, but it seems like pandering.
Some Quote Highlights:
“A lot of people enjoy it so I can’t really worry about the people who don’t.” – Mike
“Our family members don’t really understand how to watch you tube videos.” – Rhett and Link
“If you truly, like really, absolutely love what you made it doesn’t matter what anybody else says because you like it and that’s, you know.” – Brookers
“My family likes it because sometimes I forget to call home, so they can always just check my twitter to see if I am alive or check my rss feed.” – iJustine
“So they get to talk to you less” – Moderator
“I don’t think they [the mainstream media] know what to do with us.” – iJustine
You may think, that as I have done before whenever possible, that I’m going to go with a girl, Brookers or iJustine, for the standout panelist. Despite their great contributions I am not. Mike Buckley of What the Buck was by far and away the panelist who contributed the most. I may even start watching his stuff. I really enjoyed this panel. It was driven by the unique and interesting personalities of the performers.
This “panel” was easy to watch and a refreshing change from the rest. Primarily this was due to it’s format as a collection of videos. There was some good original stuff from Bread Pig and Jib Jab. I’m not familiar with Jerry Time, so I did not appreciate their world premier short. I was intrigued by Respectably French’s Gunther teaser, but it really was just that a teaser trailer for their website. They showed these world premier videos and then went into a moderator selected playlist.
The Jib Jab stuff crossed the spectrum from good to interestingly stale. The first thing Jib Jab showed was a parody of a snoop dog music video with the faces of John McCain, Condoliza Rice, and Hillary Clinton. What in the world Condy was doing in the video I have no idea, but the other pairing is by now irrelevant. Of course, maybe it was not irrelevant in late April a week or so after Pennsylvania when this video was shown as a world premiere at ROFLCon, but not really. More likely this video had been in development so long as to come out far too late for it to even matter. This is a common problem with the old broadcast medium and current topical humor. Some shows, SNL, The Daily Show, and South Park have short enough production cycles on TV that they can get things out before they are too late. This problem is not generally associated with new internet media, and the fact that Jib Jab is suffering from this problem really indicates exactly how backwards they are with respect to how things are done on the net. They also had some public service announcement videos for the internet, titled “The Stuff You Learn.” The first two of these were spot on and the second two totally missed it. I really think Jib Jab has no idea what they are doing they just sometimes hit upon something, and most of the time not.
- Snoop Dogg as German Folk Singer Legend Roy Black
- A study of branding in the series of Alfa Romeo Sloth commercials with Ji Lee, but only the first of a series was shown.
- Super Cool Korean Ice Cream Commercial
- The Triple Tofu Tower
- Stompy Dump
- Portable Cellular Phone Booth
This panel was the worst so far for a variety of reasons. The moderator, Lana Swartz, failed to have the guests introduce themselves properly. Also, there was no real theme to bring this group together. They did start out with a brief explanation of what Pwning for Good means, but even this topic lacked definition and depth. The lack of focus was probably making the moderator’s job much harder. Only 23 minutes in she was grasping for questions to ask. This could be more of a sign of the lack of in depth discussion on any topic than the moderator’s fault. Once the panel was opened to audience questions, the focus did not narrow, but the questions and the answers got more interesting.
There was a brief, light discussion of net neutrality and how close the impending doom of a non-neutral net may be. The ALCU guy suggested that internet celebrities could coalesce around the issue and convince people to contact their representatives it could make a “stupid crazy difference.” Questioners kept circling back to this topic, indicating a good candidate for a panel next year. The ALCU guy ended up driving a lot of the discussion, which tended towards issues under his wing. He was able to provide insight, which the other players, beyond iJustine and to a lesser extent the Bert is Evil guy, did not even attempt.
There was some good discussion with regard to the making money on the internet panel. The Bert is Evil guy talked about how he didn’t make any money because his server went down and the meme turned into a web of mirror sites, some of whom did the usual money making t-shirt thing. But he never saw any of that money. Of course, he wasn’t in it to make money in the first place. iJustine revealed that she does do some projects that she has been paid for, but she does not want/will not let money to change what she does because it is primarily for fun. “A lot of the reason all of us are so successful is because we’re doing it out of passion.” Towards the end there was a discussion of astroturfing, attempts by the media usurp the power of the internet for their own benefit.
Throughout the panel, on the chalkboard, was a note saying “18:03 Exam Today.” At that time someone yelled out, it’s exam time. This was possibly the best part of the talk. Not that these other issues aren’t important, but they were not covered well.
This panel was more of a one man show staring Jason Scott, who is an internet historian and librarian of sorts. He specializes mostly in Bulletin Board Service (BBS) stuff, but also ham radio and more. I heard that his talk was one of, if not the best talk on the first day of ROFLCon. Given his expertise his talk was a welcome trip back to before:
Jason started off by recomending a book author, Tom Standage. Specifically The Victorian Internet and The Turk and hitting us over the head with the idea that “People fell in love over the telegraph.” Eventually he moved on to talking about the invention of the photocopier and the memes is spread. Of course, “People are still parking too close and need to get on the fucking bus.”
Moving to the internet era, the above is the first BBS from 1978. It Rebooted for every caller. I suppose that is one way to handle dynamic memory (if it even used any). It was custom built, but by 1984 systems were commonly run by kids, whom Jason has tracked down, “to their utter horror.” Jason later when on to discuss some of the origins of common internet slang, arriving at this conclusion:
If you take on a language to make fun of it and the language was designed to be efficient you will eventually use the efficiencies of that language. Its kind of interesting to watch that happen. People start to talk like idiots. but what they discover is wow this whole LOLcat’s languages is actually pretty goddamn efficient.
Moving on to the web he offerers this perspective on why he must rescue and archive pre-world-wide-web content, but all the content since then is still around, for the most part:
You were happy when it got down to a dollar per megabyte. I had [some] 514Mb hard drives in 1993 that I had gotten from an airline. They had previously been tens of thousands [of dollars] and I had gotten them for a few hundred. You had this case where storage was a premium. It wasn’t horrible, but it was still pretty expensive. To the life we now live of the terabyte drive; where a terabyte drive is something you pick up with your soda down the street and maybe a keyboard cause its right there and its a dollar.
We really have hit this kind of wall where data is so cheap we’re running out of things.
I put my cat on twitter. He just says things all day, I don’t have to do it. At midnight OMG Bird. He has 143 followers.
Jason Scott was a really big fan of ROFLCon, in fact, he is still sending the staff somewhat suspect emails. I’m not actually party to the details so I won’t elaborate. This was the thesis of his talk, of sorts.
What I’m showing you here is that when we have this ROFLCon, this meeting of minds and this concentration of ideas and stuff it has a very long very storied history. It is normal, it is neat, it is wonderful, it is rich, it is delightful, it is sometimes stupid, it is sometimes fucking stupid, it is sometimes incalculably stupid but all of it is perfectly fitting into our history as people, and I am proud to be a part of it.
In fact while I’m here why not just punch David Weinberger [the keynote speaker] in the face. In his little chat at the beginning. <aside>Oh, this goes over the net, excellent</aside>. He was talking about how suspicious he is when things that look too good. That is a spit in the face of craft. Craft is not an indication of professionalism, craft is an indication of giving a shit.
It’s cool to see some back and forth like that going on, even just watching the videos. Some random quotes and stories from the talk before I go:
When you look into the story of grep… grep is a string based implementation of mathematical theory that was 20 years before grep came out. And he was like, how do I come up with a good way to keep track of strings? I’ll use this hopelessly complicated meta language that they created in the 40s to keep track of complicated number sets, and use it for text. Won’t that be … Just that thinking. Who can do that anymore. Its like, It runs, we’ll fix it later.
When a person feels that they can’t get in trouble for trying something new they will do crazy crazy stuff.
I’ve never actually watched that, and I’m greater for it.
The second in a continuing series of ROFLCon Panel Videos posts, next up is the Cat Macros Panel, I Can Has Case Study.
The stand out performance, for me, on this panel was Arija Weddle, of LOL Secrets. Mostly this was because she is damn cute. That said, I do have a weakness for eastern European girls. However, she didn’t explain her site well enough for the uninitiated, namely me. That prize goes to LOL Trek, but then he had it a little easier to start off with.
These are the highlights of the video, for me, painstakingly transcribed:
Cheez: [Then there is this] linguistical side, which is actually very fascinating because it is a reflection of whats happening on the internet in terms of abbreviations and self expression. Because you can’t vocalize things you have to tonealize in visual format. So how do you do that with characters?
Female Attendee: So did you only make the one LOLTrek?
Stephen Granade: yes
Female Attendee: Could you please make more? Because I really want to see Jean Luc Picard!
Other Panelist: Would Jean Luc speak LOL?
Stephen Granade: That’s a good question. That’s part of the reason why I never did another – because I thought I’d used a lot of the meta jokes, like Spock speaking in regular language. That I didn’t know what to do again, but that’s a good question, would Picard speak LOL, would he speak French LOL?”
No word yet on the LOLTrek site about a TNG episode :-(