“Sometimes I Tie a Hair to a Piece of Lint and I Drag It Around”

Some things are just too entertaining and… unclassifiable not to pass around. Hence: “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.”

[Hat tip to Eileen of Speak Coffee to Me, temporarily coming out of… well, you know.]

Send to Kindle

Running After My Hat: The Two-Year, 30-Second Version

I’ve been trying to come up with something… different to do for this blog’s second anniversary. And then along comes Google, with its wacky “Search Stories Video Creator” for YouTube.

The Video Creator’s first page gives you up to six search boxes, into which you enter search terms — presumably forming some sort of “story arc.” (There’s also a seventh box on the form; this is used to create a “last slide,” as you will see.) For each search, you also choose whether you want to search the Web in general (the usual Google search), Google Images, Google Maps, blogs, news, Google Products, or Google Books. And then, when you’ve made those selections, you select a canned soundtrack from among numerous genres and styles.

And when you’ve done all the above, the system creates a YouTube video of your search(es) results.

It’s… it’s weird. Also kinda cool. And/Or disconcerting. Best of all, it gave me something… different to do for the blog’s second anniversary.

What I did was choose six posts from the last two years, published roughly every few months. From each of those six, I pulled key words or phrases for my search terms. I can’t say that the selection is entirely random: I wanted it to be sorta-kinda representative of the way RAMH has evolved (assuming “evolution” describes what’s happened here). And yet I also didn’t want to select “greatest hits,” “my favorite posts,” or any such thing. (You’ll find, for example, that none of the six was a What’s in a Song post, although a couple other series are represented.)

Here are the six posts I chose:

Below is the “Running After My Hat” entry in the Search Stories pile o’ stories. I decided to call it “in pursuit of headgear”:

Thank you to RAMH readers, both the lurking and the commenting sorts (especially the latter!), and thank you beyond measure to the bloggers whose sites I visit regularly, and from whose words — every day — I draw inspiration.


Note: The image at the top of this post, “Breezy,” is a scratchboard illustration from the fairy tale commonly called “The Goose Girl.” (Caption: “Curdkin has been tormenting the main character, so she calls out ‘Wind, wind, blow today, carry Curdkin’s cap away!’, and it does.”) It is by Tanaudel, on Flickr. You can read “The Goose Girl” here, on Project Gutenberg. (That version of the story includes a striking print of the same scene; it is by one Jennie Harbour, an Art Deco-style illustrator about whom little seems to be known.)

[Hat tip to the pseudonymous Jordan Baker of Dealing in Subterfuges for alerting me to this Google/YouTube Video Creator thing.]

Update, 2010-04-26: The Teacher Tracks blog recently posted an entry on five ways which teachers can use the Google Search Stories thingum as an educational tool. It included a link to a (Google-produced) “love story” using a beefed-up version of the publicly available tool:

(Apparently this was used in a Super Bowl ad this year. Darn. I missed that, didn’t I?)

Send to Kindle

Superstar in the Making

Regular whiskey river Friday post coming up shortly. In the meantime, in case you haven’t seen it already, another of those going-/gone-viral instant Web sensation videos to put a Friday grin on your face:

To begin, if you don’t already know of the songwriter/performer Jason Mraz and his song “I’m Yours,” you might want to watch this:

With or without watching that one, though, you need to watch this one:

Send to Kindle

Do Not Distract the Artist

Single-minded in pursuit of your ideals, are you? Think you’re putting a lot of time into your writing, your painting, your kids, your life? You call yourself dedicated?


Or so I thought when I saw the video below. The maker claims to have spent 1500 hours on this not-quite-four-minute project, an estimate which I see no reason to doubt. But think about that 1500 hours… all those minutes and hours of mapping out every frame, shifting the (many) Lego bricks a little in one direction or another, shooting a frame or two per position… over… and over… (Let alone the time spent at the outset, encasing the human being in Legos.)

Granted, this rymdreglage person may not have a steady job, or kids, or… or… or… Still: sheesh.

I think the video can probably be appreciated even by people who don’t know anything about the eight-bit console games (original Nintendo Entertainment System, etc.) to which this an homage. Some advice before playing it back, though: turn the volume down a bit, and bump it upwards only if you really want. The music stops just short of inducing seizures in small children and animals.

[Hat tip to Lifting Fog (slogan: “visibility is improving”), which I’d read even if I weren’t related to one of its co-authors.]

Send to Kindle

Nothing (at All) Like Falling Off a Bicycle

Some people imagine. And some people just flat-out do… even in defiance of gravity.

Hat tip to Haven Kimmel’s Blog for pointing me to this video:

Send to Kindle

SheePong, Inter Alia

Just when you thought your dog is just, like, the smartest little thing ever because she’s learning not to pee on the carpet…

(Hat tip to rm preston. In a comment at the Seven Impossible Things… blog’s weekly “7-Kicks” extravaganza yesterday, rm listed this as one of the highlights of her previous seven days. It would’ve been one of mine, too!)

Send to Kindle

The Taking of Pelham One— *


* Reference: fun flick.

Send to Kindle

Book Tech Support

Going by the number of hits it gets, evidently my most popular post to date was back in June, titled “How Important Is Reading?” Here are some of the search terms which people have used to find this page:

  • how important is reading? (with and without the “?”)
  • is reading important? (ditto)
  • why is reading important (ditto)
  • why reading is important
  • why is reading so [!] important
  • important of reading
  • reading is important
  • how important is reading a book?

I’d probably feel better about the traffic that page has engendered if I’d actually contributed much in the way of content at there; after all, it’s pretty much just a video, with a couple introductory sentences. Still, it’s encouraging that so many people want to know about the subject.

Today’s post — again, with most of the content provided via video — is sort of in the same category. Rather than addressing the question of reading’s importance, though, this one starts with the assumption that reading is indeed important… so important, in fact, that if you don’t know what to do with a book, you simply must call upon a knowledgeable expert.

(The video — subtitled in English for philistines like me — is from the Norwegian TV show “Øystein og jeg,” with Øystein Backe and Rune Gokstad. It’s written by Knut Nærum.)

Send to Kindle

Fatboy, Skinny Man

Real post coming up later today.

In the meantime… Below is a screen capture (not an actual YouTube video — don’t (duh) bother clicking the Play button) of the amazing video of Christopher Walken dancing to Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice.”

For the actual video, well, the YouTube version (as sometimes happens) has had its “embedding disabled by request,” i.e., it can’t actually be pasted into a blog post. So just go here to see it.

I’d forgotten how much I liked this when it came out. The reminder today came from Kate Lord Brown’s What Kate Did Next blog.

'Weapon of Choice' video screen capture

P.S. Obviously, the planned four-day absence I mentioned last week didn’t materialize. I’ll keep the little stack of posts about figures of speech in a back pocket, to use as needed.

Send to Kindle

Writing about Reading — and Not Blogging

I may — may — be posting a real entry later today. At the moment, though, I’m focused on preparing my first contribution to the BookBook blog: a review of Dean Koontz’s Odd Hours.

Until then, I offer you a YouTube “Thriller” extravaganza:

First, we have the original video (embedding this video has been disabled on YouTube, so you’ll just have to follow the link if you want to see it).

Here’s the same thing (1/3 the length of the original), re-created by 1500+ inmates at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, Cebu, Philippines:

And one of at least a couple wedding-reception versions:

…and, finally, the definitive (or at least, the most painstakingly assembled) version: Legos!

Send to Kindle