CSS Sprites - Remember sprites from the old computer game era? Apparently they're the latest thing on webpages now. By clustering all your graphics into a single image, and using 'background-position' to get a particular one, you save a significant amount of HTTP requests going to your server. This website shows the ones that websites like Amazon, Apple, and Google have in place with links to various tutorials so you can do it yourself. Might give it a try myself with my navigation links.
Again and Again (Music Video) - A creative music video made only with the software that comes bundled on a Mac. Also proof that some people have too much time on their hands. This video was apparently nominated for a Webby.
"Hospitals today are not built for treating massive quantities of infectious diseases. They're reflective of chronic sicknesses of current society, not the pre-immunization-era illnesses. It makes financial and operational sense, but it may come back to haunt us."
This evening I had the pleasure of watching a rehearsal of This American Life's upcoming live episode, "Return to the Scene of the Crime", at Chicago's Chicago Theater. The episode is being recorded live for radio broadcast in New York on April 23. It featured Ira Glass, of course, along with Dan Savage, Starlee Kine, and Mike Birbiglia.
Japan's Cyber Cafes for the Homeless - A BBC video on how tiny 10' x 10' cyber cafe booths are being turned into affordable housing for the homeless and jobless. Cost? $500/mo. Apparently as cheap as it comes.
I don't know what happened this year, but experimental nonsense movies seem to have crept their way into the Animations category this year. I had a difficult time staying awake during this first session of my day. Of the ones that didn't suck, were:
Chicken of God: Funny little skit about a lucky chicken.
The Beast That Swallows Its Young: A music video made from snippets of this student's real-life debt collection messages
Sebastian's Voodoo: By far the best one in this series (pictured). The director managed to get me emotionally involved with a non-human character in less than 30 seconds
Yard Work is Hard Work: Another music video about falling in love and living together, animated using parts of magazines. You could tell a very large amount of work was put into making it
Lake Tahoe (¿Te acuerdas de Lake Tahoe?)
A movie about a boy trying to fix his car that he crashed into a pole after learning that his father died. It was an alright movie... it's been growing on me the more I reflect upon it. Kinda Napoleon Dynamite-ish. Not in the sense of the humor, but the style of the storytelling. Not the typical story structure. It was a fun movie, but could have been edited a bit tighter.
Four different directors made short stories surrounding the four different definitions of 'Vogelfrel', all using the same character. A bland boring character that they never built up enough for me to care about. I also fell asleep near the end.
Ghajini (गजनी) - 2008 Version
Wow, wow, wow. What a film. I loved it. Ghajini comes from India's "Bollywood" (or whatever today's politically correct term is; as an Indian professor of mine pointed out that this word was offensive) I don't know how else to describe this except, "Action Musical". Like, imagine James Bond blowing up a building, kicking ass, taking names, then breaking into a musical number in a bright neon colored shirt. Yeah, that's now this went.
And I do have to applaud this movie, because it's the first action movie that I've seen in a long time that I've given any care to the characters whatsoever. (Unlike, for example: Transporter) Granted, they were fortunate enough to have 3 hours to do it in... which would never fly with an American action flick. (Transporter is just around 90 minutes) And those 3 hours flew by. There were no slow spots throughout the movie, and I'd totally watch it again, despite its over-the-top music and cinematography. And I mean, over-the-top.
(Also: Apparently this is mostly copied, and without credit, from Memento, which I never saw. I'm curious, though, if seeing it will change my opinion of this)
Saw two great films at the Wisconsin Film Festival last night:
Tokyo Sonata (トウキョウンナタ)
The movie starts out with a typical Japanese family of four... a business man, stay-at-home mom, elementary-aged child, and college aged son. Things start to unravel when Ryuhei (the father) loses his job and decides not to tell the rest of his family. As the movie unfolds, we find out that he isn't the only family member with a secret they're not sharing.
It started out a lighter comedy, and I thought it turned darker pretty quick. My more cultured friends called it an in-your-face social commentary on the modern Japanese family, although I didn't pick up on that. Minus some over-the-top emotions near the end, I really enjoyed the movie. The beginning is pretty hilarious, and while the second half looks bleak, the director was nice enough to give you a glimmer of hope at the end.
This was a pretty typical hippie anti-corporation documentary, like I've seen every year, but I really enjoyed it. First off, I want to say the title sequence (where they show the beginning credits) was extremely creative and very well done, featuring food labels with the production staff's names.
The movie's biggest points were this: The food industry is run by a very small handful of large corporations, and, Monsanto (I think mentioned negatively in every single anti-corporation documentary I've seen) runs the FDA, and this is all really really really really bad.
The only organization or company to be portrayed positively was Wal-Mart, interestingly enough, for their willingness to buy more and more free-range and organic food. (Although, not as much for ethical reasons as for the profit from consumers now demanding food produced more healthy)
It's definitely worth the watch, as long as you're willing to accept your food isn't made by 'Joe the Farmer' like the packaging leds you to believe.