Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Joke

So what can we learn from Batman? Don't spend your life being obsessed with revenge. What can we learn from the Joker? A lot more...

Do we blow their ferry boat or do they blow ours? Their boat is full of convicts.
Do we let them attack our country or do we invade theirs? Their country is full of terrorists.

When someone tries to force you to believe that there are only two evil options sometimes the best option is to step back and think about who you want to be. Having already spent One-Hundred-Sixty-Six Billion dollars and counting in Iraq, what else could we have done with that money, and our reputation in the world, and our lives?

One solar panel costs roughly $1,000 and produces up to 200Kw. It is estimated that for under One-Hundred-Billion dollars the US could run completely on solar power (which would also lower the cost of this technology for the world). This would not only help us become independent in terms of energy, it would save thousands of US (and foreign) lives, prevent countless mental trauma cases and further domestic abuse to and by soldiers, and significantly improve the environment we live in - saving animals if nothing less (global warming true or false, it doesn't matter, nobody wants to live in polluted cities).

What the fuck when wrong people? Can we prevent this sort of thing in the future? Maybe the joke was on us?

posted by Court @ 1:24 AM | 0 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mean California Dream

Life can be tough out here in California... Work all day, come home in traffic, work some more at night (on your startup, in my case ABSTRACTmall and Sustainable Online Solutions), head over to gymnastics for a couple of hours (I do gymnastics and coach little kids), then watch an episode of The Office with the roomies and maybe get in a blog post or two before bed.

I get a lot of people asking me "do you sleep" because I do so many things... ps. tomorrow night Stumbleupon is having a party in San Francisco, pps. the San Jose Ballet is this weekend, ppps. I haven't practiced my Spanish or guitar playing much lately, pppps. the surf is good lets get out there... you get the idea. Wow, California has such beautiful weather! But there's just so much to do, just to survive here with gas prices, food, rent.

So I just spit this quote out the other day when I was on the phone with my friend. I've been sort of up and down lately, depressed and at the same time super excited. I can hardly sleep at night because my mind is spinning but I'm yawning all day at work. My friend was challenging me about doing so many things and I was explaining that sometimes one's greatest strength is also his greatest weakness. Then I said "If I'm not going to keep living, then why am I alive?"

That's the quote, and here's a nice picture of graffiti that I took while exploring Europe in 2006. I think it illustrates a similar point.

posted by Court @ 11:30 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post

Friday, March 14, 2008

New Quotes

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I like quotes. Ever since I was a young boy my father would share his favorite quotes with me and my grandfather actually integrates his favorite quotes into everyday conversation - his memory for rhetoric is amazing!

I just wanted to list a few quotes that I've collected or created over the years so I could throw the sticky notes on which they are written into the wastebasket. Without further ado:

"SMART - Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time Specific"
-Accenture corporate training in Saint Charles.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted"
-Martin Luther King Jr.

"Do what is right, not just what you have the right to do"

"Life without a friend is death without a witness"
-Eugene Benge

posted by Court @ 4:49 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Artistic Evolution of Chat

Somewhere in between the fantasy escapism of World of Warcraft, the uber realistic Second Life, and the stale emotionless instant messenger text based AIM, Live, and Gchat there is IMVU. This platform takes the roll playing and crafting elements that Online Role Playing Games are known for and gives them an artistic twist with a touch of chatlike realism.

IMVU is special because, as with Second Life, it allows users to create in game content such as clothing and environments. This is similar to crafting in WOW only it isn't so templatized - literally anything can be created and sold. What's more, the chat environment of IMVU has a rating system that helps separate kids from adults and even allows for R rated content for verified users! Who hasn't chatted about sex online? IMVU lets you act and look sexy too, provided that your age has been verified ;)

Video of an IMVU hottie in a leopard print thong giving a lap dance to Sexy Back by Timbaland and Justin Timberlake... Imagine the possibilities.

If all of this sounds more like a game than a chat service it might be because the creator of IMVU, Will Harvey, created an MMORPG similar to Second Life called "There" that ended up failing several years back. He and his team decided that virtual worlds, while being fun to customize and explore, didn't provide the same level of accessibility and realism that chat does... On the flip side, chat has traditionally been limited in the way messages are conveyed (smiley face anyone?) It's pretty easy to misinterpret squiggly black lines and dots. Also, historically chat has been used by people who already know each other in real life or have a more likely potential for meeting, so the IMVU approach keeps that realism but adds a layer of artistic fun and expression like a game.

An "individualized" avatar that a user has customized to match their own style and interests can really change the dynamics of a chat session. Even before a single word is spoken, the avatar can be given a mood to act out or the hair style and clothing can be made to for something. Even the environment where the avatar is having the conversation can have an impact on how it is interpreted and what the mood and tone of the conversation is.

The artistic evolution that IMVU has sparked in online chat is akin to what Cafepress has done for clothing or blogger for personal websites. It has empowered those who might have only been low level consumers to take on the roll of a creator. It has also allowed for digital consumption (which is a lot easier on the environment than tangible consumerism). In the bling-happy world that we all seem to live in, where expression is such a big deal, IMVU is an affordable way to have one's ride "pimped" so-to-speak. It invites preps, goths, geeks, and anyone else to fit themselves in and express... It realy reminds me of the Bratz dolls that tapped into a huge base of Black, Hispanic, and other diverse minority girls by reshaping the look of their product to match their audience. In IMVU, the audience shapes the product for themselves which is even better. But... it's not for everyone, for those of you who prefer clothing and customizations in the non-digital world, swing on by ABSTRACTmall and check out our threadzzzz otherwise, I'll see you in IMVU.

Bratz diversity dolls are "gangsta yo" in a sweet, cute sort of way... Reminds me of the Spice Girls!

That's right, even an exotic alpaca farmer in southern Paraguay can create a lifelike avatar in IMVU... Just make sure you're running Windows on that solar powered laptop of yours.

This screen was taken from the IMVU tutorial sequence

posted by Court @ 9:31 AM | 0 Comments Links to this post

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Cell Phones for Soldiers

What the heck are people supposed to do with their old crappy cell phones once they buy the shiny new iphone? or worse... upgrade from the old crappy iphone to the new one that has gps and better reception? or maybe you're holding out for the gphone?

When it came time for me to upgrade phones, Verizon provided a little satchel for recycling my old phone - great idea right! Nobody wants cell phone battery acid leaking out into dumps across the US... or any of the foreign countries we ship our crap off to. So the recycling thing is a great idea, and I've also seen bins at Best Buy for recycling phones so it's a strong option.

So the problem has been solved right? Not quite, there are still a few dedicated minds out there toiling away on creative ways to repurpose old cell phones. Those minds recently came up with a brilliant idea: donate used cell phones to soldiers. My room mate made an order off of Amazon.com and when it arrived, along with the other junky fliers, there was a little baggy as shown below.

The Verizon bag says "HopeLine from Verizon Wireless, Verizon is proud to provide this wireless phone and battery recycling program, go to www.verizonwireless.com/recycling

The Cell Phones For Soldiers bag says "Help Our Troops Call Home, It's free and convenient to turn in your used cell phone. Phones can be any condition or brand and do not need to have batteries, go to www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com

posted by Court @ 4:14 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Energy Saving as Art?

Greenpeace joined forces with local artists in London this September to draw attention to the energy savings that fluorescent bulbs can have. These bulbs in particular are very special because they can be dimmed! Dimmable fluorescent bulbs are a brand new technology that Green Peace is hoping will catch the eye of people who have rejected this new technology for it's lack of aesthetic appeal.

The project was called Light Garden and is just one of the many ways in which green technology is catching on in the media. This week Google officially announced that they will be exploring solar power as a possible new business. Earlier this year the company decided to top Microsoft's solar panels at their Silicon Valley campus (which had panels first in April 2006) by putting up their own installation that is nearly three times as large.

posted by Court @ 11:44 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

New Artistic Batman Trailer - Dark Knight

Batman is one of my all time favorite movies and the new trailer is very well done. No action, no guns, no girls, just voice overs and a sick fading logo. I really like the way it relies on hearing rather than seeing, it's very engaging. I'm sure the visuals in the new Batman Movie - The Dark Knight - will be sick, but it's a nice to mix it up, at least in the trailer. Very Hitchcock, leaving the drama to the imagination instead of on screen.

Christian Bale has been doing a wonderful job, his voice is very distinct and it's been a real treat to see a classic movie like Batman redone in an entirely new way. It's a completely new take on the Batman Series, and arguably just as well done (for their time) as the originals.

Who doesn't want to save the world, put an end to senseless violence, and be near untouchable with kung fu bat skills? For other great ass kicking/artistic/philosophical movies starring Christian Bale doing "gun kata" check out Equilibrium and its For Sale Here with a 4.5 rating from Amazon.

Check out this sick screenshot of the Joker piece
from the new Batman Dark Night trailer.

posted by Court @ 10:42 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post

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