On Birthday Wishlists from Amazon

A most special holiday is approaching (hint: it rhymes with ‘sly firthday’) and I thought I would share my wishlist with you guys, since I know y’all want to buy me nice things! I’ve had this Amazon wishlist set up for years and went through it a bit last night to get rid of old listings and items I’ve gotten over the years. Kind of a strange trip down memory lane. “Oh yeah, I wanted that once!” or “Why did I ever want THAT?”

Anyway, enough about my weirdness. Let’s recap my wishlist!

1. Apple OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard

I don’t need to have the most up to date things, but being behind by two OS versions is kind of ridiculous. The Chromium builds don’t work, and a few other programs that I’d like to use won’t install because my OS is as old “as the dinosaurs.”

2. Bones: The Complete First Season

I like this show, and would love to have it be a part of my collection.

3. Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 2: Scott Pilgrim Versus The World

Read the first book and I’m interested to see where the story goes. There’s also that movie coming out in the not-to-distant future so I’d like to be caught up before that releases to the general public.

4. Six Feet Under: The Complete First Season

Perhaps the best and worst summer of my life was spent watching the entire Six Feet Under series. I’m very interested in re-watching this in the near future.

Yep. So, that’s pretty much it. I’ve reached a new blogging low. Join us next week when I ask for spare change.

On DRM and Controlling Your Shit

From Techgeist:

You know what happens to authorized machines? They get reformatted and break over time. Yet the people who sell is software and digital media expect that when we need to reinstall Windows on our only computer so that we can get work done and meet deadlines, we’re thinking “oh, of course I have to go through EVERY PROGRAM I HAVE INSTALLED AND DEAUTHORIZE IT.” Screw that.

I feel bad for anybody who bought music back in the itunes DRM days, because there’s not really much you can do with the music unless you unauthorize / reauthorize or go through the pain of breaking the DRM through other means. But to stop buying from the itunes store because you disagree with policies that they disclosed early on and have since fixed (for the most part) seems a little rash.

I’m not really trying to defend Apple or their store here, but I would like to point out that keeping up to date with these companies’ policies is critical as a consumer and if you don’t agree with what they do, don’t patronize them. Case in point, I didn’t agree with the whole DRM thing, so I patronized Amazon. I don’t agree with Apple’s way of handling apps, so I bought an Android phone.

Not really going anywhere with this rather than just airing some initial thoughts from reading this article.

On Cheap Asses And Pandora

From the blog of Pandora:

The revised royalties are quite high – higher in fact than any other form of radio. As a consequence, we will have to make an adjustment that will affect about 10% of our users who are our heaviest listeners. Specifically, we are going to begin limiting listening to 40 hours per month on the free version of Pandora. In any given month, a listener who hits this limit can then opt for unlimited listening for the remainder of that month for just $0.99. In essence, we’re asking our heaviest users to put a dollar (well, almost a dollar) in the tip jar in any month in which they listen over 40 hours. We hope this is relatively painless and affordable–the same price as a single song download. (Alternatively, they can upgrade to “Pandora One”, our premium version which offers unlimited monthly listening in addition to its other benefits).

As someone who hopes to one day make a living out of being creative, I tend to side with the people making the content when it comes to issues of compensation. These people need to get paid for what they’ve created just like people who work in any other job deserve to get paid for the job they’ve done. There’s nothing that makes a “creative’s” work less deserving of financial compensation than that of a waiter, an office exec, or a city worker. At the end of the day, we all need to get paid so we can continue to live. In the case of Pandora, they should at least be able to make back some of the ridiculous royalties they have to pay the music industry, right?

Not if you’re a cheap bastard. I can’t count on my hands how many times I’ve heard people state that Pandora charging for extended use is wrong. These people come at it with a sense of entitlement, with the idea that they shouldn’t have to pay to listen to what is essentially “a radio.” When confronted, they backpedal and explain that they’re cheap and can’t afford the fees.

$.99 is hardly expensive in my book. And if you’re a power user, $.99 for the month is ridiculously cheap. Why not pay the small fee and help out a company that provides such an amazing service? Or you know, maybe buy your music for a change?

The big mistake any of us can make is to assume that we deserve ANYTHING for free. These services come to us cheap as a convenience, not as a requirement. These companies certainly aren’t breaking the bank by giving away their content and / or services so we should take a step back and be grateful we only have to pay a dollar for unlimited internet radio.

But…cheap bastards will be cheap bastards.

On Tumblr

HAY GUISE! I made a tumblr. Actually, I’ve had one for quite some time but dismissed it fairly early on as stupid and kind of redundant. After all, I’ve got my own blog, so why would I want another one? Well, I clearly wasn’t thinking straight as there’s a whole social aspect to it and you can follow your friends and just post random shit. You can even re-share things blatantly with nothing more than a quick link back to the original poster, who took the thing from someone else and so on and so forth.

You got a tumblr? Let me know. I’d like to follow you. You can find mine by clicking on “Tumblr” on the menu above.

On Writing Despite The Void

Writer’s block is a terrible tragedy that befalls even the best of writers. How they get through this debacle varies. Some take a walk to clear their mind, some eat a bunch of junk food, some watch movies, some take drugs, and so on and so forth. I’ve written a few blog posts about this before and thought I would do so again. Truth is, I’ve been in a bit of a “void” these past few weeks, and really haven’t had that much to write about be it for the blog or for my own script. The question then is, do I “write despite the void?”

The short answer: yes.

The less-short answer: yes, but it sure is a bitch and a half.

See, when you’re in the “void,” you’re fighting an uphill battle. The ideas are all gone, and the inspiration that you may have once had decided to go on that Vegas vacation it has been talking about all these years and not leave you a contact number. You still have to write, though, which brings up the obvious question: How? Here’s some things that have helped me get something onto the page, despite having nothing up there in my noggin.


Sounds cheesy, but I reward myself for writing. I reward myself MORE for writing in the void. Ice cream, sweets, coffee, anything that might encourage me to get a few words out. Hell, I’ve even used social engagements as a reward for writing. Oftentimes, the stuff I write under these conditions aren’t all that great, but at least it’s something.

White Noise Method

Sometimes I’ve been able to crank out a page or two of something through what I call the “White Noise Method.” It’s a really simple method involving having the television on, the itunes playing on random, and having my cats racing each other around the room. Somehow through all the chaos I can get myself to focus. If you don’t have a cat, I’m sure you can substitute with a second tv.

Internet Removal Method

This is perhaps the most effective, but the hardest to initiate. It involves halting your access to the internet while you try to write.

Writing Groups

Another method that I’m always keen on trying to get myself writing more is one in which I gather with one or more people and just write. Sometimes, being amongst others is all it takes to get the creative juices flowing. You can step away from the page briefly to chat, and then just as quickly return. You also run the good chance of gaining some insight to what you’re writing as well as some useful brainstorming for future projects.

Anyway, just a few thoughts on what you can do to write while you’re in the “void.” It might be tough as hell, but eventually you’ll find that you have a lot of stuff written that you can go back and re-write. Oh yeah…re-writing. That’s a different story altogether.

On The Things I Do

I’ve been kind of a busy bee these past few weeks with various projects and just trying to get things moving in a forward momentum. I thought I would let you know how those things are going, in case you….you know…actually cared!

Technicolor Commentary

The film commentary podcast I started awhile back is still going strong. In fact, we’re going to be releasing our 24th episode this friday. We’ve also starting tinkering with methods of live-streaming when we record and various other things to spruce up the overall experience for our listeners. This month we started a new gimmick where we let our listeners decide what we do commentary on for the month of August. So far, we’ve seen Top Gun and will be watching True Lies on Saturday. I’ve also been experimenting with streaming old episodes with the commentary attached like you were actually watching commentary from the DVD. We’ll see if that sticks.

The Disgruntled Screenwriter

I decided that I couldn’t get enough of the whole podcasting thing so I decided to start my own. It’s about the ins and outs of screenwriting that I learned while in film school as well as just going through general knowledge and questioning the rules and why they exist. As of the release of this blog post I’m at 2 episodes, so this venture is a fairly young one. I have high hopes for this and think that I can perhaps become a better speaker by talking into a microphone to no one in particular for a half an hour at a time each week. I might also incorporate my struggles as a screenwriter in the episode for flavor. We’ll see.

Hilarious Henry

I’ve been doodling my alter-ego again recently and have decided to bring back my webcomic from it’s lengthy hiatus. So far I’ve done the rough sketch of three new strips and I plan on doing more in the next day or so. As for when I’m going to be re-debuting this little comic, I’m not quite sure yet. I was thinking next week, but I might go the route of building up a buffer and taking an extra week to do so.


Yeah, I’m working on finishing a really dorky screenplay. I’ve also got another script I need to decide what to do with as well as a garbage rough draft of another that I need to get back to. It’s just a matter of actually getting off my ass and doing this, though. Or on my ass, as I don’t really do any writing while standing.

On the Marriage of Facebook and Friendfeed

Got some shocking news when I checked FriendFeed on my mini-break at work yesterday. The word circulating was that FriendFeed had been sold to Facebook. Naturally, my first reaction was to check my phone’s calendar, since April 1st could have come late or something. But then I got home and confirmed what I had read. Facebook HAD in fact bought FriendFeed and in an interview it was said that eventually the services would be assimilated. My reaction to this was as follows:

Naturally, I didn’t quit either of the services, choosing instead to adopt Johnny Worthington’s idea of “going down with the ship.” But things had definitely changed for me with the news. What was once a blossoming service with immense potential became a cancer patient with but a few months to live.

I don’t really want to spend any more time talking about this, because I still need more time to think. But I feel like I’m about to lose something big here, something that I put a lot of my life into.

Angry Gamers, GRRR

Found this via BWANA via Game Politics:

Activision knows it has a ‘hot’ game, knows that the market will pay an additional 10 per cent, and has decided to increase price accordingly.

If you know me, you know my stance on petitions. They don’t really work. I think the boycott is a great idea, though, if enough people can actually do it. The only way you can really change things in the entertainment business is to take your business elsewhere.

What I’ve Been Up To

Just so you don’t think I was yanking your chain the other day about being really really really (did I mention really?) busy, I thought I’d give you a little bit of an update about what I’ve been up to and do some general self-promotion. You’ve been hereby warned.

Things with Geek Troika Productions are going swimmingly! I still edit the podcast on a weekly basis and write little articles when I can. We just recorded our 20th episode last week, which is pretty exciting. Twenty freakin’ episodes, people! I never thought that we would last that long, or that we’d develop such an amazing rapport with each other. Now, my Mondays are spent waiting for the evening’s recording session, quite impatiently I might add. Mattie and Mike are awesome and recording just wouldn’t be the same without them.

Anyways, enough gushing…

To celebrate or 20th episode, we opened a merch store. It’s only got one item at the moment, but I’m drawing up new artwork and preparing logos to post later this week. I’m sure I’ll be pestering the lot of you about this later on in the week. So, if you have a little extra money to spare and want some pretty schweet schwag, go the Geek Troika Merch Store NOWZ and click “buy!” If not, well…..don’t. I just won’t like you anymore. Hrmphh.

As if that wasn’t enough, I went ahead and created a new podcast under the Geek Troika banner. Technicolor Commentary is  podcast of young film school alumni making commentary tracks to replace the boring ones you find on your DVDs. We bitch about what’s on screen as well as provide insight based on our film school background. With me on this project is Tom and Graham, my co-hosts. When we’re not recording the commentary tracks, we’re busy writing up posts about films, television and media in general. Be sure and bookmark the site and add it to your RSS reader. TCC will be here for years to come!

Later on this year there will be some web series that Geek Troika Productions will be dishing out for your viewing pleasure. The first is Matsie Reads Her Spam, a web series about a girl named Matsie  and her relationship with the spam that she collects in her inbox. I’ll update you more as it develops but just know that you’re in for a treat. Next will be an animated web series that my friend Tom thought up awhile back. I can’t really dish out too many details yet, but I will fill you in more as time goes on.

That about wraps it up for what I’ve been up to lately. When I’m not working on all of this, I’ve been working my butt off with contract gigs and making ends meet. It’s some kind of crazy, I tells ya.

Jonathan is a VJ, Part 4

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts, and for that I apologize. School ended, and then I went on the big bad job hunt. In fact, I’m still on the big bad job hunt and have been bouncing around from contract job to contract job to help with the bills. But that’s beside the point. I’ve been lax in making a music video mix for you and for that I apologize. Let’s start February off on the right foot and get this show on the road!

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