Thursday, 27 November 2008

Becoming Batman - Episode Three

In Episode Three of "Becoming Batman" - Entitled "Blind Justice" - the true training begins. The video is essentially one long training sequence that sees our would-be hero start off as the student but ends up as the master!

-"What's wrong with him?"
-"He's...fine"
-"He doesn't look fine. He's twitching!"
-"Is that my milkshake?"

And that milkshake is surely available at Moo Moo's in the Covered Market in Oxford! Where else in the world could you get Weetabix, After Eight Mints, Haribo Starmix and a Melon in a milkshake?


Becoming Batman - Episode Three - "Blind Justice"

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Becoming Batman - Episode Two

In Episode Two of "Becoming Batman" - entitled "Batman Begins" - we see our mystery would-be hero try on the mask of his costume, come up with a list of tasks he will need to accomplish, and begin the first stage of his training.

There are a couple of classic lines in this episode that is very reminiscent of Ricky Gervais' work:

-"Need a Batmobile?"
-"No. A bat mobile, for communicating with HQ and that"

-"What did you have for breakfast?"
-"Well..err...today...just a packet of frazzles"
-"Frazzles?!! You'll need protein...for bulking up"
-"They're bacon flavoured!"

Genius!


Becoming Batman - Episode Two - Batman Begins

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Becoming Batman - Episode One

With "The Dark Knight" doing so well at the Box Office this year, it's imminent release on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK (December 8th), and high expectations for the Oscars on 22nd February 2009, I thought it would be appropriate to begin posting episodes of a brilliant little series that began a couple of weeks ago on YouTube.

Entitled "Becoming Batman", it features a man that decides to take on the task of becoming Batman in order to protect his village (I'm assuming Chalfont from the locations)after reading a headline in the Buckinghamshire Advertiser that asks for someone to take up the challenge. All they ask for is a man that is "bored, wealthy and in the knowledge of the martial arts". As he is a "little bored" and can't be bothered to go bowling, this man decides he is the man for the job.

It is wonderfully filmed, with a good filter throughout to give a darker image and great use of the hand-held camera to create a bigger action impact at times. The use of The Dark Knight score also just helps build the epic feel.

Each episode will follow the challenges he faces in order to become Batman.

However, just to give you a taster for what is to come, please watch the video below:


Becoming Batman - Episode One

Monday, 24 November 2008

Mash Up Monday - Muse vs Britney

This week's mash-up is a wonderful mix of rock and pop.

Question:
What do get if you cross the majority of the music to the rock anthem that is Muse's "Supermassive Black Hole" and then add in the vocals of Britney Spears' "Do Somethin'"?

Answer:
"Britney's Massive Hole", of course!!


Mash Up Monday - Muse vs Britney Spears

Friday, 21 November 2008

Bike Hero - Guitar Hero Viral Marketing

I have said this before, but every now and then there is a video on YouTube that is made of absolute genius! Today I came across one such video.

Despite having been on YouTube for 3 days (at the time of posting), it has already received over 1 million views, and deservedly so.

Filmed entirely on a bicycle, the 3 minute and 36 second video recreates the now famous Guitar Hero formula by riding along many winding streets with coloured dots drawn onto the ground along the route.

Whilst the song "Prisoner of Society" by The Living End is playing in the background, the dots come into view on the ground at precisely the right moment throughout the film to recreate the notes that would be played in the game (and LED lights on the handlebars flashing accordingly).

In fact, the video is almost so well created that I would have to place it in the category of "Viral Advertising"! That's right folks, Activision have admitted that the video IS a viral marketing video for Guitar Hero World Tour (as reported by bit-tech), on which the song being played features. The video is reported to have been made by Droga5, the viral marketing company behind the "Spraying a Tag on Air Force One" video that caused a HUGE media storm quite a while back.

The video goes along the lines of the amateur guys doing something cool and spectacular that other firms have used before. However, unlike other virals in the past, this one seems to have won over many viewers, as it has been deemed cool enough to stop viewers from feeling cheated on the revelation that is professionally made.

I have to admit, this is a great piece of viral marketing and will have many repeated viewings. See for yourself:


Bike Hero - Guitar Hero Viral Marketing

James Wade - 9 Dart Leg - Grand Slam of Darts

Following my post last night mentioning James Wade's 9-dart finish at The Grand Slam of Darts 2008, I thought it would be nice to share with you the footage that I witnessed as it happened, now that it is online! Just incredible!


James Wade - 9 Dart Finish - Grand Slam of Darts 2008

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Game Shot - Best Darts Leg Ever?

I have been a big darts player since I first went to University and was signed up to trial for my College's team, despite the fact that I had never thrown a dart in my entire life!

Proudly, I can say that I ended up captaining that team for 2 years, winning league promotion 4 years running (division 6 up to division 2!), winning the 8-man, 4-man (twice) and doubles Cuppers competitions. I also played for my University team twice (once in the Varsity Match against Cambridge) and never lost a leg for them!

Despite all these great times, I have never hit a 9-dart leg! It is easily the hardest thing to accomplish in the world of darts and very few people in the world have ever managed it.

However, watching the Grand Slam of Darts on ITV4 tonight (20/11/2008), I had the pleasure of witnessing James Wade hit a great "9-darter" (in the traditional T20, T19, D12 format). It reminded me of the last time I watched James Wade, in the World Matchplay Final 2008 against Phil "The Power" Taylor. The 25th Leg of that Final was probably one of the most exciting legs I have ever seen, with both players on for 9-dart finishes. I have the honour of sharing this moment with you all through the power of YouTube!


The Greatest Ever Leg of Darts?


The other great thing to note about this entire final was that Phil "The Power" Taylor's 3-dart average for the match was 109.47!! Awesome!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

RiffTrax - The Matrix

I wasn't intending on posting too many samples of the work by RiffTrax, but have come across so many moments of brilliance that I just cannot help myself!

Today's sample is from the Kung Fu Fight scene from "The Matrix" between Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Neo/Mr. Anderson (Keanu Reeves). In particular I would like to point out 3 special moments for me:

  1. Morpheus - " Adaptation...improvisation. But your weakness is not your technique."
    Commentary - "It's your bone-shattering stupidity!"

  2. Morpheus - "You think that's air your breathing now?"
    Commentary - "It's wild rice!"
    Commentary - "So...little baby thinks he's breathing air huh?...Little baby air breather!"

  3. Morpheus - "Come on! Stop trying to hit me and hit me"
    Commentary - "Hit me with your rhythm stick...hit me slowly, hit me quick, hit me, hit me!"




RiffTrax - The Matrix Kung Fu Fight Scene

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

RiffTrax - Iron Man Commentary

Following my previous post regarding the Mystery Science Theater 3000 update - RiffTrax - I have come across several samples of their new work (available both on the official RiffTrax website and on YouTube) and must say I am impressed.

It seems if my reservations about applying the MST3K formula to recent blockbuster movies were unfounded! As I am more likely to have seen films like "Indiana Jones" and "Lord of the Rings" multiple times, it means I am finding the comments being made all the funnier.

For an example of Mike Nelson's latest work please see the sample clip below taken from Iron Man:


RiffTrax - Iron Man Commentary

RiffTrax - Mystery Science Theatre Update

I have been a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 ever since I was introduced to it by an ex-girlfriend back in 2005. For those that have never seen it, the premise of the show was basically to play some awful old B-movies (that had an expired copyright or really cheap licences!) and then have various characters add their own hilarious commentary over the top. This usually involved taking the piss out of either the acting, action or dialogue. There have been some absolutely classic moments. So much so, that it is hard to even consider starting a "Best Of" list here.

Then earlier today, in the most recent update from the guys behind "Chad Vader - Day Shift Manager", they mentioned having created their own audio commentary that can be played over the top of Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope. See the following clip for yourself:


Chad Vader - Star Wars Episode IV - Audio Commentary


This premise obviously reminded me of Mystery Science Theater and by following the provided link to the download site, I came across the website "RiffTrax". Wonderfully, it turns out that RiffTrax is a website run by Michael J. Nelson, the previous writer and, later, host of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

On RiffTrax, you can download these audio commentaries that recreate the magic of MST3K and then can automatically sync the track to play alongside your copy of the movie on DVD. This has enabled Mike Nelson to extend the MST3K premise onto virtually any movie (A-List Movies, B-List Movies and "Manos: Hands of Fate") as it would not violate any form of copyright or licence agreements. Now you can enjoy listening to his commentary to a huge array of more modern classics such as "The Matrix", "Jurassic Park" and "Casino Royale".

The only small apprehension I have with this project is that the allure of Mystery Science Theater 3000 was the fact that the movies were SO DREADFUL that the commentary track was the only draw to watch the show. If you then try to do the same over films that are actually quite good then the audio commentary might get in the way. However, I would imagine this would only be the case with the most recent of movies and by the time the movie is old enough for me to have seen the film multiple times , I would appreciate such a commentary.

Personally, I would love to hear a commentary to "Open Water", as that actually comes close to "Manos: Hands of Fate" as the worst movie I have ever seen!

To finish, I thought I would share MST3K's commentary to the car "chase" seen from the movie "Mitchell":


Mystery Science Theater 3000 - Mitchell Car Chase Scene

Monday, 17 November 2008

Star Trek XI - Full Trailer

Earlier I posted the Bootleg Version of the trailer for the upcoming Star Trek Movie, directed by JJ Abrams.

As promised, the full HD versions can be found at the official website for the movie here.

Alternatively, you can watch it below:


The Full Star Trek XI Movie Trailer

Star Trek Bootleg Trailer

Although not a fan of any Star Trek TV Show, I am looking forward to the 11th Star Trek Movie that is due to be released on 8th May 2009 for several reasons.

Firstly, it is directed by JJ Abrams (of Alias, Lost and Cloverfield fame), who I consider one of the better directing talents out there at the moment. I believe he is very good at mixing light-hearted moments throughout a very serious/action-packed storyline. This is one of the essentials to any Star Trek movie.

Secondly, it stars Zachary Quinto (Sylar in TV's Heroes) as Spock. He is one of the better actors to be found on Heroes and it will be good to see him take on such a large role where his performance will be judged against the much loved Leonard Nimoy (who will also makes a cameo appearance).

Thirdly, it stars Simon Pegg (see Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Run Fat Boy Run, etc for details) as Scotty! I'll just keep it simple and say that anything with Simon Pegg with a Scottish accent in will be brilliant.

Lastly, I am a big Sci-Fi movie fan. As I have mentioned, I was not a fan of the Start Trek TV Shows. However, I have found the even numbered Star Trek Movies to be watchable, and even enjoyable! Other Sci-Fi Space action-based films such as Event Horizon, Pitch Black, Serenity and Total Recall, I consider to be some of my favourites. I hope, therefore, that I may be able to add this new Star Trek film to this list and allow it to break the rule that all odd-numbered Star Trek movies are rubbish!

At the time of writing this post, there is around 5 hours until the official trailer to the movie is released online for everyone to see on the official Star Trek Movie website. However, in the meantime, here's a lower quality bootleg version that somebody has recorded in a cinema and posted online.


Star Trek 11 Movie Trailer - Bootleg Version

Mash Up Monday - Blur vs The Streets

Welcome to Mash Up Monday. To kick start your week, today's featured mash-up is a very simple one. The mix is of Blur's "Parklife" with The Streets' "Lets Push Things Forward". Phil Daniels (actor and recent Strictly Come Dancing contestant) sang the main verses to the original Parklife song in a similar way in which Mike Skinner sings to all of his songs, so it was quite a nice match.


Blur vs The Streets - "StreetLife"

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Google Voice Search App for iPhone

Although Rick Lamb is usually good about reporting on the applications available for the iPhone (having one himself does help!), I thought I would mention a new application that has been announced by Google that is causing quite a bit of interest.

The application adds a "Voice Search" function to the iPhone that allows users to simply talk into the iPhone and then Google will return the results without you having to spend a couple of minutes typing the search query in on the tiny on-screen qwerty keyboard.

The application knows when to start recording your spoken query by the action of you raising the iPhone to the usual phone-holding position. It will then stop recording and fetch the results once you then remove the iPhone away from your face again!

It is interesting to see an application of this sort appearing on the iPhone before it is available on the Google Android phone (I may be wrong here), but it would be nice to hear how successful the voice recognition software involved is. My experience with voice recognition software has not been great, but I have not dabbled too much in it in the last couple of years and suspect some great developments have been made. Although I never expect the software to accurately return "Cu(pyz)(ReO4)2(H2O)2", I always found it had difficulty with some standard words that I could never fathom as to how it managed to get it wrong. For example, I once said "windows" into the microphone on my computer and it typed "ramps"! I gave up after that.

However, as the search query is likely to be 4 or 5 words at most, this software should have an excellent success rate. I particularly like the automatic detection of your location so that a search query along the lines of "movie show times" will give local results. More reasons to add to the list of why I want an iPhone!

Google have posted the following video on YouTube to demonstrate these developments:


Google Voice Search Application for the iPhone

Friday, 14 November 2008

iPod Touch Advert on Youtube

Today's main YouTube page has got a rather large iPod Touch advert running above the usual subscription videos and recommended viewing. Proving that Google are looking at ways in which to improve the ad revenue generated by YouTube, this advert takes advantage of the areas around the advert box by having the iPod Touch in the clip extend into the main page:

iPod Touch YouTube Commercial
iPod Touch Commercial on YouTube - Expanding Out Of The Box


I am personally a fan of adverts on websites that expand out of their designated area but (here's the key!) without obstructing the navigation or text of the site itself. This iPod Touch ad seems to work well, particularly since Apple products are deemed very stylish and have plain white backgrounds and simplistic products, much like Google themselves. The advert is also very quick to fall back within the confines of the designated box area if you attempt to click on the search box:

iPod Touch YouTube Commercial Within Box
iPod Touch Commercial on YouTube - Staying Within The Box

PopMash - B. O. Barackus

Continuing the series of short videos from Popmash, they have created a video based on the mixed theme of Barack Obama and Mr. T. (B. A. Baracus from the A-Team, if you didn't know!).

This seems to be a commonly used theme, with many slogans, bumper stickers and T-shirts using it (examples below). I have seen the phrase "I ain't gettin' on no Air Force One fool!" quite a number of times to go with these images as well.


Popmash - B. O. Barackus

B A Barackus T-ShirtPresident Barackus

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Mash Up - Snow Patrol vs The Police

Having made a few music mash-ups in my time at University (mainly for the source to a regular pub quiz I held), I thought it might be a nice idea to have a regular spot once a week to share some of the great ones that are out there. This will probably take the form from now on as a "Mash-Up Monday" feature.

For those that are unfamiliar with the "mash-up" premise, it is simply taking 2 or more songs and mixing then together. By mixing them together I mean that, for example, the lyrics to one song can be played over the top of the instrumental to another song, as opposed to one song leading into another (club style).

Today's example of fine work is a mix between Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" and the classic "Every Breathe You Take" by The Police, brilliantly called "Every Car You Chase" by Party Ben.


Snow Patrol vs. The Police - Every Car You Chase

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

The Pirate City - Streaming Movies

Many of you out there will have heard of "The Pirate Bay", a website (owned by some Swedish people) that hosts torrent files and torrent tracking that enables free peer-2-peer downloading of music, movies, tv shows and computer applications. The Pirate Bay became the centre of attention during the recent battles between peer-2-peer networks and the movie industry.
The Pirate City Logo
It has long been rumoured that The Pirate Bay was looking into producing a streaming video website that would allow people to view the content that they can normally download through peer-2-peer systems directly through their internet browser. This would produce something dubbed by the media as the "YouTube of Illegal Content".
The Pirate Bay Logo
Last month, a site entitled "The Pirate City" launched a Beta testing phase (which has already come to an end!!) and is already hosting hundreds of movies to watch online for free. The quality of the videos available ranges depending on the source of the video and is deliberately lower quality to reduce the size of the file that needs to be streamed, but in general it is better than expected and certainly watchable.

The real surprise has been the revelation that the site appears to have nothing to do with the owners of The Pirate Bay website, despite the use of their name and logo. It seems that The Pirate Bay has been the victim of some ... (irony alert) ... piracy! However, the interface they use is very clear and in no way looks cheap or put together by an amateur.

The Pirate City's rise up the Alexa ranking was inevitable (as shown below) and it will interesting to see what Hollywood will think about it:

Alexa Graph for Pirate City

Saturday, 8 November 2008

PopMash - Chewbacharach

What would it be like if Chewbacca from Star Wars was to sing the legendary song "What The World Needs Now Is Love", written by Burt Bacharach, to Star Wars themed lyrics? No longer will that question remain unanswered:


"What The Galaxy Needs Now Is Love" - Chewbacharach - PopMash

Friday, 7 November 2008

PopMash - The Fab-tastic Four

Popmash have put together this little video of The Beatles in the setting of the Fantastic Four. I really am enjoying these short cartoons and I hope that they will keep them coming!

Highlight has to be "Thingo" (Ringo Starr) saying the famous "It's Clobbering Time" catchphrase in the strong Liverpudlian accent.


PopMash - The Fab-tastic Four

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Whodunnit? - Test Your Awareness - TFL

Transport For London (TFL) have produced this great little video based on the classic Cluedo / Whodunnit? / Sherlock Holmes format. With the aim of testing the awareness of the viewer (i shall not ruin this aim by pointing out what they intend to point out afterwards) it is a very well constructed film that certainly fooled me on the first viewing!

I am hoping that this campaign will be successful at reducing cycling fatalities on the streets of London. I used to ride a bike everyday for 4 years when living in Oxford so consider myself to be a confident and capable cyclist. However, I am certain that I would have a difficult and risky time trying to navigate through Shepherd's Bush on a weekday morning.

Point well made TFL, good job!



WhoDunnit? - Test Your Awareness - Transport For London

PopMash - Shakin' Stephen Hawking

Although I would say it is wrong to make fun of disabled people, it is especially wrong to make fun of someone that is both disabled and a national treasure. That treasure would be Sir Stephen Hawking (Before you complain, I am aware that he is not a "Sir" but I am making the point that I believe he should have been made one years ago!).

However, the following video is a short cartoon from the Popmash team that have put Stephen Hawking into the setting of a Shakin' Stevens song, and I don't think it's too distasteful. So far, only The Simpsons have managed to portray Prof. Hawking without focussing on his disability , so it is nice to see that the PopMash guys have managed to do the same.


PopMash - Shakin' Stephen Hawking

Akon "Sorry, Blame It On Me" Parody

Good morning everyone. Today's James-at-War Parody is called "Blame Halo 3". It is probably the catchiest of the James-at-War parodies made so far and spoofs the song "Sorry, Blame it on me" by Akon.


Blame Halo 3 - "Sorry, Blame It On Me" Parody - James at War

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Two Ronnies - Swedish Made Simple

Part of the genius of The Two Ronnies were their ability to manipulate the English language to great comic effect. The "Fork Handles/Four Candles" sketch is right up there with the Monty Python "Dead Parrot" sketch in the list of best comedy sketches. However, this little gem uses just the alphabet and a few numbers to create a restaurant scene for "Swedish Made Simple":


Two Ronnies - Swedish Made Simple

PopMash - Mr Benn-y Hill

A great little combination between Mr Benn and Benny Hill:


PopMash: Mr Benn-y Hill

Nickelback Rockstar Parody - Popstar

I might as well get this video out the way nice and early as I am sure that most people will have at some point seen it (almost 9 million views by the YouTube counter).

"Popstar" is a James-at-War spoof of the modern classic (loose use of the term) "Rockstar" by Nickelback. It brilliantly portrays the careers of the majority of the female popstars out there that began at a young age.

This is the song that James-at-War is looking to create a new video for that spoofs the montage of random people singing in the Rockstar video. I am waiting for my girlfriend to return to the UK so that we can contribute our effort (possibly outside Big Ben or the Tower of London!). Depending on the outcome, I may, or may not post the footage here! We shall see...


Popstar - "Rockstar" Parody - James at War

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Under The Bridge - Literal Video Version

In a continuation of the Literal Video lyrics collection, here is the altered rendition of The Red Hot Chili Peppers' classic song "Under The Bridge". Anthony Kiedis' Autobiography, "Scar Tissue", is by far the best autobiography I have ever read and highlights what an amazing (in both good and tragic ways) experience both Kiedis and The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been through.

"Under The Bridge" was originally a poem that Kiedis had written in his diary about his drug adddiction, and by chance happened to come to the attention of the band's producer at the time. He managed to persuade Kiedis after numerous attempts to allow the band to write some music to the words and the rest, as they say, is history.

And now some guy has got rid of these words and sung what is happening in the video instead!


Under The Bridge - The Red Hot Chili Peppers - Literal Video Version

PopMash - George Formby's Grilling Machine

Today's PopMash video plays on something I was once asked years ago when working in the electronics department of a large supermarket. An old woman approached me to ask if I knew whether we stocked one of those "George Formby Grills". I politely took her to the correct item, but had to point out that it didn't come with a free banjo ukulele!


George Formby's Lean Mean Grilling Machine

"The Way I Are" Parody - Bad Grammar

As promised here is the start of around a week's worth of "James at War" music parodies.

I first wrote about James at War's parody of Estelle's "American Boy", entitled "Vice President" featuring John McCain and Sarah Palin, and probably consider that to be his best work to date. However, his previous efforts have still been of a very high quality and worthy of attention.

Today's video is a parody of "The Way I Are" by Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson and D.O.E., called "Bad Grammar". I am particular fond of the lyric "I don't ever use no double negative".


Bad Grammar - "The Way I Are" Parody - James At War

Monday, 3 November 2008

Head Over Heels - Literal Video Version

Many people may remember the song "Head Over Heels" by Tears For Fears from the name alone. Others will remember the song once they hear it (possibly as it featured heavily in Donnie Darko). However, I wonder how many people remember the music video that goes with the song?

I always struck me as being one of the weirdest music videos ever made as there doesn't seem to be a point to the surreal library setting. The Rabbi and the Chimp, for example. This is why it is a perfect video to sing literal lyrics to:


Head Over Heels - Tears For Fears - Literal Video Version

PopMash - It's The Full Monty

In the next video from Popmash, the popular culture mash-up site I wrote about yesterday, it's....The Full Monty:


The Full Monty Python

Chad Vader - Empire Market Training Video #6

"Patrolling The Parking Lot" is the most recent Empire Market Training Video (Part 6), having only been added to YouTube on 17th October 2008, and therefore marks the last of the daily dose of Chad Vader on this blog. I look forward to further work from Blame Society Productions and will keep an eye out for the return of Chad:


Chad Vader - Empire Market Training Video #6

Sunday, 2 November 2008

British Airways Staff - Facebook Comments

Only about 22 hours ago, I wrote about how 13 Virgin Atlantic staff had been sacked for criticising passengers and the airline itself. The Telegraph has today reported that similar activities have taken place by BA staff, criticising passengers and the opening of Terminal 5 at Heathrow. Now that companies will be on the look out for similar activities by their own staff, I wonder how many reports will turn up over the next few weeks.

Take On Me - Literal Video Version

I was in the process of putting together a list of my favourite music videos of all time and was seeing which ones I could find on YouTube. On this list, of course, has to be "Take On Me" by A-Ha. Although it is very '80s the comic strip mixed with real life is still good to watch to this day and often makes the grade in "Channel 4 100 Best..." shows (best video, floor-fillers, etc).

When getting the video of YouTube I came across this hilarious Literal version of the music video. Although the music and the video are exactly the same, the lyrics have been altered to describe what is happening in the video. The best thing about the singing is that it very closely matches the sound and tone of lead vocalist Morten Harket, so avoids joining the other awful renditions you can easily find on YouTube. It's a brilliant idea, and I'll be posting a couple of more examples by the same user over the next few days.


Take On Me - A-Ha - Literal Video Version

Popmash - Genetically Modified Popular Culture

A busy Sunday morning of web-browsing has led me to another fantastic website known as Popmash.com. A UK company, Popmash creates Pop Art images that are mash-ups of popular culture references. Below are just a few examples of their brilliant work:

Mr E.T.
Mr E.T.


Gollumbo
Gollumbo


FrankEinstein
FrankEinstein


They have also begun to create videos to place onto YouTube that are equally inspired. I believe I have now found the set of videos I wish to post each day in a follow-on from Chad Vader. Enjoy Flash Gordon....Saviour of the Universe!


Gordon's Alive!

The Simpsons - Mad Men Parody

The Simpsons are due for their annual "Treehouse of Horrors" episode to coincide with the Halloween period, and the following footage has been released that perfectly parodies the opening title sequence to the acclaimed US drama "Mad Men".

What is fast becoming one of my favourite title sequences (I haven't seen enough of the show yet to give a full opinion on the show itself), Mad Men is a drama set in the early 1960s New York within an advertising agency and depicts the changing social customs in the USA during this time. It is rare to see a show where virtually every character smokes heavily!

However, the title sequence is wonderfully stylized in a Sin City sort of way but with more colour. For comparisons to be made I have included both The Simpsons version and the Mad Men original version, as I am confident that everyone reading this will have seen The Simpsons but not everyone will have seen Mad Men!


The Simpsons "Mad Men" Title Sequence Parody



The Original Mad Men Title Sequence

Chad Vader - Empire Market Training Video #5

In Training Video Number 5, Chad Vader has taken it upon himself to make the video himself after a falling out with the production crew. So in his own style we have "Shoplifting: Never Lower Your Guard":


Chad Vader - Empire Market Training Video #5

Cambridge Students Cheat

The other bit of news that caught my attention today was that a report published by Varsity, Cambridge's Student Newspaper (no where near the standard of the Ox Stu or Cherwell), found out that half of all Cambridge University students admitted to cheating by plagiarism.

Although I might be a little biased against the light-blues (lighter in colour and intellect!), I cannot say I am surprised. The pressure placed upon today's Oxbridge students to produce high quality original work around the clock for 3-4 years is unbelievable. Even though this pressure will have been around for many years (perhaps even centuries), it is only in the last 10 years or so that it has become much easier to copy the work of others.

With Google aiming to index ALL of the world's information it does mean that students will be able to increasingly "copy and paste" the work carried out by the lesser known writers and make it even harder for the experts marking the work to spot the plagiarism. Obviously this is more true for some subjects over others. Lawyers, for example, were found to make up 2/3 of those that admitted to cheating. Law, by it's very nature, is based upon the work carried out by those before them. Whereas a subject like Physics requires complete understanding of a topic in order to apply it to a completely NEW situation. This makes day-to-day plagiarism impossible (again a small bias on my part).

The only thing that worries me about this report is that 82% of those that admitted to cheating used Wikipedia as their main source of information! Although Wikipedia is a wonderful resource and often correct, I would never feel confident at using it as a main source of reference. My favourite example of Wikipedia at its best can be found here. The last sentence in the first paragraph says so much about what Wikipedia is:

"[Earth] is the largest planet in the world."

Although not technically incorrect, it could be very easily misread and misconstrued. Genius.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Virgin Atlantic Sacks Staff for Facebook Comments

There was news today that 13 Virgin Atlantic flight attendants have been dismissed following comments left on Facebook in which they described passengers as "chavs" and questioned the Virgin Atlantic's safety standards.

A statement from Virgin Atlantic claimed that the staff dismissed had a "totally inappropriate behaviour that brought disrepute to the overall company".

The comments were apparently made by staff based at Gatwick airport (which rules out the Boston and New York routes that I would potentially use more than once) and suggested that there may have been cockroaches in certain planes and that there were unreliable jet engines that had to be changed on average once every quarter.

The messages and the Facebook group these Virgin Atlantic staff members had formed have now been removed after what is described as "a thorough investigation".

Although some say that Facebook is good for businesses and firms by allowing employees to create informal network for the ultimate benefit of the company, the last few weeks have seen a number of corporate gaffes on Facebook which show that Social Networking is indeed a double-edged sword.

Recently, an Australian employee of some company I can't remember faked a sick day, but then made the error of updating his Facebook Profile with details of his previous night out and changed his status to read:
"Kyle Doyle is not going to work, fuck it I'm still trashed. SICKIE WOO!"

When questioned about his illness, Mr. Doyle reminded his managers that he did not need to provide proof from a Doctor as he could self-certificate for the 1 day he was ill. His managers replied that he can only self-certificate for genuine medical reasons and produced the evidence in the form of a screen-grab of his Facebook Profile. Game Over!

The question has to be asked as to the reasons the people involved in both of these cases didn't take care to limit who would be able to view the comments they have made. Admittedly it is very difficult to keep track of exactly what parts of a persons' profile is viewable to the outside world, but the lessons to be learnt is do not write anything that you would not want certain people to see (like your company owners or managers). Also, it might not be a good idea to add your bosses to your friends list unless they actually are your friend!

Chad Vader - Empire Market Training Video #4

Today's training video asks a simple question - "Are You Fit For Command?":


Chad Vader - Empire Market Training Video #4