Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bohemian? Please

There's an article on WikiHow.com that offers guidance on how one can be "Bohemian."

"Oh, really?" I thought when I stumbled upon this.

I have to admit that I split on this one. My paternal grandparents came to this country from Bohemia, which is the western most province in what is today the Czech Republic. I have to admit that there is a portion of me that is mildly irritated by hipsters grabbing onto my heritage.

However, if this is something that gets folks to read books that they might not otherwise read, listen to music that they might not otherwise listen, and generally broaden their creative horizons then I'm fairly confident that Grandma and Grandpa Nemecek would happy about it all.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shooting Video with a DSLR Camera

I got the following email from a friend. I decided to re-post it, along with my response, since a few different people have wondered something similar.

A good friend wants me to shoot some video of a ceremony they are having tonight to make a fundraising video for the nonprofit.
DSLR’s can shoot video.  I can shoot the video with one of those?  Does it have enough resolution that it would look good on a TV or computer monitor?

Assuming your DSLR was made in the past 5 or 6 years, you’ll be fine as far as resolution goes. There are, however, three other issues that you might need to consider.

The first is memory. With HD video, the general rule of thumb is 3.5 minutes of video = 1 GB of memory used. Ask yourself how long this ceremony is and if you have enough memory. You might have to get a better memory card or dump the card to a hard drive in the middle of that ceremony.

Second, you have to consider stability. Even if you have the hands of a surgeon, if you are operating a handheld video camera then it’s going to look at least a little shaky. If you have a tripod, that’s perfect. If not, look for something solid (a table, chair, etc.) that you can steady the camera on.

The third issue is audio. A DSLR camera has great lens for the video, but it may or may not have a decent microphone for the audio. I don’t know the make or model that you’re using, but I recommend shooting a test clip first. Shoot something generic for 30 seconds, transfer it to a PC, and listen to the audio.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Moment of Political History

James Scripps began publishing The Evening News on August 23, 1873. This newspaper would later become The Detroit News. This was a revolutionary moment in American history because it was the first newspaper to be independent of political parties.

Instead, Mr. Scripps sought to boost circulation by selling ads to make money. It was a good idea.

Of course, as one looks at the situation today - instead of media outlets that are dependent on political parties for support - we have a political party that is largely dependent on a media outlet for its survival.

I wonder what Mr. Scripps would think about Fox News and the modern Republican Party.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Spotify Lists

I got one of the very first Spotify accounts in the United States. The folks at Spotify actually said, "Frank, we've always been impressed with your incredibly awesome task in music. Will you please open an account with us?"

Okay - it might not have gone down exactly like that. Regardless, I did get one of the first Spotify accounts in the United States. As such, I thought it would be fun to share a couple of my music lists.

Frank's Fun Mix is an eclectic mix of pop, hip-hop, and rock music that spans the past 20 years. Everyone of the songs on this list makes my day just a little bit better. It includes both national acts as well as a couple of great Detroiters. You can listen to it by clicking here.

Irish & Proud is fun mix of music by Irish and Irish-American musicians. For the delightful pop sounds to The Corrs, to the storytelling of Gaelic Storm, to the Celtic Rock of the Young Dubliners. You can listen to it by clicking here.

No wonder the folks at Spotify insisted that I get one of the first such accounts in the United States.

Another Weird Dream

I had the weirdest dream last night. One of my friends, who isn't a filmmaker, was shooting a documentary on potato chips and I was editing it. Towards the end of it, two of my other friends showed up in the dream as Siskel & Ebert-type movie critics.

As for any hidden meaning in this one, well, before going to bed last night, I was mildly hungry and debated eating a handful of potato chips. I decided against it because I'm trying to shed a few pounds. Regardless, potato chips were obviously on my mind when I went to bed.

Although, a documentary on potato chips still sounds like a cool idea.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mani and Pedi

A friend of mine, who works in a local government office, had a chance encounter with a young woman who named her twin daughters Mani and Pedi.

I personally believe that naming one's daughters Mani and Pedi ought to be considered a form of child abuse and prosecuted as such. Hopefully, the courts will one day see things my way.

This will quite possibly happen when either Mani or Pedi (or possibly even both of them) grow up to become judges.

Oh, Ohio

When I was in college, we made occasional trips south to Ohio. It was during this time period when some friends of mine and I came to a certain realization about the Buckeye State.

In Ohio, the land may be flat and boring but the women aren't.

Friday, August 05, 2011

AA+

It's official, ladies and gentlemen. Analysts at Standard & Poor's have proclaimed that the United States of America is now the finest AA+  nation on Earth.

I am so proud!

Brilliantly Sarcastic Signs

I posted a link on my Facebook page to a collection of brilliantly sarcastic responses to various well-meaning signs. Several of my friends laughed hard enough to spit one beverage or another out through their noses. I, for one, almost peed my pants from laughing so hard.

Because I believe in sharing things like this with the entire world, I invite you to click here and prepare to laugh.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Watching the Dow Plunge

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down 512 points, which is its worst performance since December 2008. The drop today basically means that the stock market has lost all of its gains for the year.

All of this means that I'm afraid to look at my investment portfolio today. I know it's set up for the long haul and one bad day doesn't mean anything when you have a 20 year investment horizon.

I firmly believe that if one's investments were sound the day before a stock market crash then they will, in all probability, remain so after said crash. Of course, the sad corollary to such a rule is that if one's investments weren't sound beforehand, one hopelessly screwed once a crash hits.

Anyway, on days like this, I am reminded of the great investors who managed to get through the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929 without losing a single penny. How did they do it? They had good investments to begin with and they didn't sell during a panic.

Instead, they remained focused on the long-term and they probably went drinking on days like this.

Regardless, I'm still afraid to look at my portfolio today. Maybe I'll just go drinking instead.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Behind the Scenes at "Club Cantina"





I originally posted about this over on my neighborhood blog, but I wanted to mention it here as well on my personal one.

I thought I would take you behind the scenes on my day job. I run a video production company and we were in Ypsilanti this past weekend to create a pilot for a reality television show called Club Cantina. We'll pitch the show to the various television networks. If that doesn't work, it is still has some great opportunities for an internet based show as well.

I'll post more about the show later. For now, though, I wanted to give you a behind the scenes look at life on the set.