Tabloids – (Rolling my eyes, shaking my head)

October 2008 Issue

October 2008 Issue

Because, I, too, would be devastated if my ex actually survived a plane crash.  Who wouldn’t, right?  Oh, and let’s put the actual survivor in a little circle and splash the famous women who are no longer a part of his life all over the cover.  Brilliant.

I’m going to stop now.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

YouTube SuperNote Contest is a Hit!

It’s Friday.  The SuperNote challenge launched 5 days ago (I blogged that here).  I’ll tell you this much:  Rhett and Link dream big!  On Day 5, at 11:30 a.m. EST, 678 people have submitted their video SuperNote for the team captain of their choice.  That’s an average of 136 submissions a day.   The contest continues until Halloween.  If things continue at this rate, there should be about 5,424 videos of people going “AAaahhhhhh…” on YouTube by then.  That, my friends, is an EVENT!

So, here’s what’s going on:

Rhett and Link, famed internet comedy duo (see box in my left column and link in my right) have hatched this wickedly cool idea.  Challenge the YouTube community to record themselves making the longest vocal note they can produce and  upload it as a video response to their team captain’s SuperNote video.  The team captains are these popular YouTube entertainers, all of whom have significant followings:

SuperNnote Team Captains

SuperNote Team Captains

Charles Trippy, iJustine, thehill88, ShayCarl, edbassmaster, What The Buck?, David Chow Music, Brookers, Katers17, Wicked Awesome Films, Nalts, and Rhett & Link themselves. Those links will take you directly to their SuperNote Team Captain YouTube page.

As a casual YouTuber, I was unfamiliar with most of these people, but now subscribe to nearly all of them.  So, this is bound to be good for business for the team captains!  I borrowed these graphics from Rhett and Link’s website, where you, too, can visit to keep an eye on the contest as it develops, choose a team captain, read comments, and view the top 100 submissions on a given day.  That’s rhettandlink.com/supernote. Click on any of the team captain banners there and you’ll be whisked to the team standings for that captain.

As SuperNote videos are submitted, they are tracked by a super secret review database where several actual human beings sit, watch, and time the SuperNotes.  They are given Mini Wheat Thins and small bits of swiss cheese for their efforts. Water if they review more than 20 submissions in a half-hour period.  At least, that’s what I’ve heard.  From there, the top 10 SuperNoters are displayed on the SuperNote page (updated periodically), as well as the overall team standings.  At this writing, here is what those stats looked like:

30 a.m. Standings

September 26, 11:30 a.m. Standings

Visit the Rhett & Link SuperNote page to see this chart live and to click on those links so you can view these over-achievers with your own eyes and ears.  Heck, let’s face it, this is not nearly as much fun to read about as it is to actually listen to.  The first few are annoying, but after a while, there’s a kind of zen-like feeling that creeps in.  By the 10th video, you’re convinced you have to be part of this thing!  You have been warned.

Yours truly is currently in the #35 position, which is not too shabby, considering how many entrants we have at the moment!

30 a.m. Ranking

September 26, 11:30 a.m. Ranking

Here’s what I think about the SuperNote contest…er, challenge…er, experiment.  I think it is good, clean fun that absolutely anyone can participate in and that it builds fellowship and community.  There are a few complainers that don’t seem to like contests that have actual rules.  SuperNotes must be one, real, continuous note produced by the person (or persons) whose face can be seen on the  video producing it.  If you don’t have a microphone, don’t like your face seen on the internet, or flat out think you can cheat your way to the top, you’re just not in the right contest.  Complaints these exclusions aren’t “fair,” are cropping up, but to them I say, “Hey!  This is a silly internet contest…lighten up!”

Prizes are being offered by Rhett & Link as well as by some of the team captains.  Creativity is rewarded as well as simply holding the note the longest.  I’m glad I discovered The Boiz (I had better call them “The Boiz” at least once in this post since I made such a big deal about that being my personal pet name for them in the launch post) before this took off.  It’s a great ride, playing in their yard.  Go find out for yourself!  I’m predicting right now that this will make national news and result in late night talk show appearances for at least The Boiz, and maybe some team captains as well.  So, why not get in on the ground floor!

Exodus 32:18 It is not the noise of the shout of victory, Nor the noise of the cry of defeat, But the sound of singing I hear.

Fringe Episode 103: Ghost Network – My Cranky Review

I reviewed the Fringe Pilot a few posts back.  I was on the fence then, but anticipated sticking with Fox’s “New Hit Series,” for the first season.  Now, I’m not so sure.  Somehow, I managed to completely miss the second episode, but watched about half of it last night on Fringe Television – a pretty impressive website where full episodes are available for viewing without having to dowload a player.  I only watched half because I had just finished watching the third episode, “Ghost Network,” and had really had enough for one night.

This episode opens exactly…and I mean exactly…like an “X-Files” episode.  Same dark lighting, same something-really-spooky-is-about-to-go-down music, same ominous dialogue, same focus on a desperate character haunted by something supernatural, culminating in a big “What just happened?!” moment and then the first commercial break.  That’s not officially a complaint, since it inspired a wonderfully nostalgic feeling and really sucked me in to the episode.  On the other hand, the thought, “This feels just like an ‘X-Files’ episode opening ” repeated in my brain throughout the entire segment.  So, maybe it is a complaint.  In any case, I’ll get to the real complaints in a moment.

See, here’s the thing:  If I’m going to invest myself in a new epic mythology television series (like “LOST” or “X-Files,” both of which I am enormously devoted to), there has to be a…well…a natural process.  It’s like dating.  If the guy shows up in his best suit, bearing a dozen long-stemmed roses and a Cartier watch, it’s not generally a good idea to presume this is what the entire relationship is going to be like.  I mean, you wouldn’t marry that guy based on that first impression, would you?  I hope you wouldn’t.  Your mama raised you better than that, didn’t she?  No, you’d spend time with that guy and get to know him and, if you’re both fortunate, love would grow.  Granted, I fell head over heels for “LOST,” at episode 1 (It had me at “hello”), but that’s just what kept me coming back for more.  And, it never once disappointed.  I mean, not once.  Some might disagree, but I have never experienced a let-down with any episode.

But, if that guy showed up for the first date in his best suit, but still had bits of tissue stuck to shaving nicks on his face and his socks were two different colors, maybe you’d try to overlook that to give the actual person behind the faux pas a chance…but you’d be leery.  And, “Fringe” had me leery from the start.  I’m often turned off when I can see stagecraft.  It is easy to see “Fringe” trying very hard to show us how much it is “just like” its predecessors…trying to convince us that we should put it in the same pantheon and not evaluate it for ourselves.   Did those other two series’ do that?  They didn’t have to.  See where I’m going with this? And, the careful plotting of a mythology in a television series is really starting to get old for me.  As a device to gain a faithful audience from the outset, I think it also has the potential do alienate those who are not blown away by the first few episodes.  You can claim the episodes stand alone for casual viewers until the cows come home, but I’m not sure you can really have it both ways here.  A show like “Fringe” is after the superfan demographic.  And, well, I just don’t think I have enough room in my heart for another series.

Sure, the production values are extremely slick, the characters are all well-cast and engaging, and those symbols (or glyphs) are intriguing. (To see hi-resolution images of each glyph and a brief description, visit the Fringepedia.)  But, when I started to see the tiny little Easter Eggs being logged at Fringe Television here, my brain just short-circuited.  Not again!  It was a great ride with “LOST,” and eagerly anticipate Season 5 and the new nuggets it will bring to my over-active, analytical brain, but how much of this can one really tolerate in one’s diet?  I’m talking about tiny things…like a brief shot of a dusty old car in a dark garage with the logo modified from “MG” to “MD,” referring to “Massive Dynamics,” the big, mysterious corporation.  Come on!  And, I’m still not complaining yet!

Let’s get to the actual episode, because I see I’m ranting just a bit.  Focus, woman!  Focus!  Here are the glyphs that appeared during the breaks in “Ghost Network:”

Episode 103 Glyphs

Episode 103 Glyphs

This episode centered on Roy McCohn, a guy with metal in his blood (put there 20 years previously by Dr. Bishop, who is now receiving transmitted thought over a “spectrum” supposedly unknown to anyone except Dr. Bishop and his old lab buddy “Belly.”  Roy sees things that are about to happen…terrible things…because he’s picking up the intentions of others who have, apparently, discovered this spectrum of thought waves…this ghost network.  I just know the writers wanted to call it a “Psychic Network,” but I think they would have either had to get permission fro Dionne Warwick or given her a guest spot or something.  The opening segment was awesome and the scene that greeted us on the other side of the commercial break was equally so:  a bus full of dead people frozen in place by a silicon-based substance like – as Dr. Bishop put it, “mosquitos in amber.”  Nice.  If they could have kept up that level of eloquence and intrigue for the entire hour, they might have had me.

But, in the very next scene, we’ve got Dr. Bishop and his son Peter sitting in a diner.  When Peter gets up from the table and his cell phone, left on the table, vibrates, the good doctor is mystified by it.  He later says to Peter, “It was moving.  I stopped it.”  Okay, for a guy who’s been locked up in a mental institution for 17 years, I can actually accept that.  But, remember how I complained about how familiar he was with the computers he used in the pilot?  In this episode, he confidently asks to “view axial images,” during an MRI of poor old Roy, even though he lets us know he’s never seen an MRI machine before, and he later makes a reference to satellite television.  These inconsistencies in his knowledge base just say “sloppy” to me.  Don’t try to tell me this is because he’s crazy or anything like that.  If you’re trying to be “LOST,” or “X-Files,” then you need to put that same kind of devotion in to the internal consistency and maybe stop spending so much time changing car logos.  You know what I’m sayin’?

And, apparently the writers felt there wasn’t enough quirkiness in the house.  It suddenly became necessary to have a piano brought to the lab because piano music helps Dr. Bishop focus.  We learn that he and Peter both play very well…setting up yet another contrivance we will surely see more of…much, much more of.  I also know I can count on every episode to have these elements:

  • A confrontation between Agent Dunham and Special Agent Broyles
  • A flirtation between Agent Dunham and Peter Bishop
  • A big lab experiment
  • A weird Dr. Bishop moment
  • A Massive Dynamics scene with creepy Nina Sharp
  • A chase and a takedown featuring Agent Dunham

The formula is already smelling a bit musty to me.

But, because I want to give credit where it is due, there are a couple of humorous moments that are genuinely engaging and smart.  At the start of an experiment on poor Roy involving drilling right into his brain and monitoring his responses to pictures shown to him, the door to the Harvard basement lab is knocked upon, making the characters…and me, in this case, jump.  Agent Olivia Dunham answers and we see two students who ask, “Is this Poli-Sci 101?”  Her response?  A straight-faced, “Not remotely.”  Good one.

I may become a “casual viewer,” but I’m sure not changing any plans to be sure I see every episode.  I’ve given my heart twice to series’ before.  That’s enough for this old girl.  You follow your own heart, but guard it well!

Romans 16:25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith– 27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

Please Be a Good Party Guest and Comment!

Comments are my favorite snack food.  I’m always interested to know who has been in the Garden and what their experience was like.  So, please talk to me so I don’t have to rely on those dreary old stats in the back room and wonder who the people are behind the numbers!  Here, have some nice, cold lemonade and a finger sandwich!

Whoa! Animated GIFs Work in Blogs!

Y’all are in for it now!

Discover Katers17 on YouTube Before She Becomes Too Famous for YouTube.

Katers17 is one of the YouTube team captains for the “SuperNote” collaborative experiment/contest spawned by Rhett and Link.  Don’t know about that yet because you don’t read my blog every day or because you don’t know Rhett and Link or because you actually have a life outside of the internet?  Well, either check out yesterday’s post here at the Garden Party or head on over here for more information on how you can become a part of the greatest thing that has ever happened to YouTube.  Miss that, and you’ve missed being a part of history.  That would be tragic.

I’ve only been a casual YouTuber since I first discovered it a couple of years ago.  I don’t follow many of its in-house celebrities.  When Weezer did their “Pork and Beans,” video last May,  I discovered a whole bunch of iconic YouTube figures and realized I wasn’t fulfilling my civic duty to stuff my brain full of popular culture until I glaze over.  So, I gave myself an education and added a bunch of subscriptions to my channel.  However, neither Rhett & Link nor Katers17 were included in that pantheon.  Now, with the SuperNote party in full swing, The Boiz (my new pet name for R&L) have introduced me to a whole new crop of wackos that are beginning to really eat into my real life.  Not that I’m protesting…much.

Rhett & Link themselves (oh, excuse me…I mean, The Boiz (that might get old sooner than I anticipated…even for me)) wormed their way into my heart the very moment they showed up in my email inbox and have simply refused to leave that warm and cozy spot even though they aren’t paying any rent.  But, that’s okay…they’ve commented here (which is very close to paying rent in my book…I thrive on comments) and they’ve called me “awesome,” (which is actually one better than paying rent).  Beyond that, they’ve led me to Katers17.  Let me tell you something, friends.  This is exactly what YouTube ought to be about!  Katers17 has real talent, and has that spectacular combination of gorgeousness and humor that make a performer irresistible.  She sets out to entertain…and I’d much rather watch one of her sketches than some dude making sure the world knows how little thought he is willing to put in before activating his webcam.  Want to meet her?  Of course you do.  Here’s a wonderful introduction for you:

Now that you’ve been properly acquainted, let’s go right on to a more intimate relationship.  I get the impression Katers doesn’t mind of we move a bit fast.  Spend about five minutes with her here:

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Katers17 has also done a 4-part series called “Garden Party,” which, I’m certain has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, but is kind of serendipitous anyway!  Here’s the first of the series…go on her journey!

To visit Katers17 right at her own home on YouTube, click on this little linky.  You’ll be greeted by her and by her Team Captain SuperNote entry.  Then, come back and tell me you adore her as much as I do.  Then, go record your SuperNote and upload it to the contest!

Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.

Lilly the Kid and Billy Boxer – Another Adorable Animal Story

I’m going to just confess right up front:  I’m blogging this for the views it will generate.  My early entry, “Moose Magic” continues to be my most viewed to date…by a wide margin.  A single picture of a hippo and a tortoise also ranks highly and my stats page tells me these two stories are searched on by a lot of people (a…LOT) every day.  Since this is still a fledgling blog, I’m not above giving the people what they want in order to get y’all over here to see that there are actually other fascinating things to read about in this world!  Sure, I think baby animals are adorable…so don’t get on my case about that.  I set up this blog to share things that show up in my email inbox, so this is a valid entry for that reason alone, but I really did consider skipping this one because…well, because I was concerned about the cuteness overload factor.  Still, the stats seem to indicate my fears are unfounded, so here you go, everybody:

Lilly and Billy

Lilly and Billy

Meet Lilly and Billy.  I have to admit, that is a striking picture.  My own dog (Benjamin the awesome black Lab) is off being neutered today, so I do have a genuine soft spot for this type of story at the moment).  Here’s what the email said that introduced me to these two:

A paternal dog has adopted an abandoned baby goat as his surrogate child.

Billy the boxer has become the constant companion of the 12-day old  kid called Lilly. He sleeps with the goat, licks her clean, and  protects her from any dangers at Pennywell Farm Wildlife Centre at Buckfastleigh, near Totnes, Devon in England.

Billy and Lilly have formed a close bond.  The kid was abandoned by  her mother when she was only a few hours old and adopted by paternal Billy when his owner Elizabeth Tozer began hand rearing the goat.
The unusual bond has developed over the last month and the pair are now inseparable.

Elizabeth said: ‘Lilly follows Billy around which is really quite  amusing to watch and Billy sleeps with the goat and cleans her mouth  after she feeds.’

Billy the boxer protects his little kid

Lilly was the smallest of a litter of three kids and her mother  abandoned her because she could only care for the two stronger ones.  The pair have attracted quite a crowd at the animal center and the staff are keen to see how their relationship will develop.

A Basket Full of Cuteness

A Basket Full of Cuteness

A very quick and cursory check of the google results for this story reveals it has been blogged ad nauseum since about February of this year.  No reason to doubt its authenticity, so a snopes check turns up nothing.  So, just enjoy the pictures and have a lovely day.  I’m going to go in the back room and watch my line graph spike.

I know I sound kind of chilly today.  That’s really not the case.  I’m a big critter lover.  I guess I’m still just scratching my head at the voyeuristic perspective I get from all the statistical information WordPress gives me.  Look at those two, will ya?  Adorable!

Romans 11:17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,