g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
Eric S. Raymond
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Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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Sunday, April 16, 2006
23:39 - There's something happening here

(top)
I should have been paying closer attention to the Adult Swim bumps tonight... I'm sure they'd have explained why the bug in the bottom right of the screen now reads [crappy 1980's live action tv network].

It's clearly a reference to the fact that they've been running ads for a week or two now saying that Saved By the Bell—yeah, that show—will be appearing on Adult Swim at midnight. The ads and related bumps have had a sort of a nod-nod-wink-wink quality to them, mostly in being played suspiciously straight and sarcasm-free, unlike how they've advertised any other show. I've been sure that they were leading up to something, and I've been hoping that it's not simply that shows like Robot Chicken and Tom Goes to the Mayor are all just steps along a road leading away from "real" animation and toward plain old live action shows.

The bumps tonight now all end with that same [crappy 1980's live action tv network] signature, even when there's no clue to its significance in the bumps themselves. I'm starting to wonder whether showing Saved By the Bell is some kind of contractual thing foisted on them by the higher-ups, and the Adult Swim people are only going along with it against their will—and lashing out in the way they still have open to them, the just-in-time editorial channels of their own bumps.

Then again, it's probably something a lot more innocuous, like an immense prank just to drum up interest and press now that the tide of public opinion is turning against their nonstop flogging of Seth McFarlane vehicles.

UPDATE: Apparently it's no joke; Cartoon Network is merely officially starting to suck. Or at least to stop caring about sticking to its mission.

Methinks I'm going to have to start reverting back to my pre-[adult swim] viewing fare of things like The Man Show and Star Trek: TNG, both of which show up on G4 (the video game network), and CSI on Spike TV.

Hmm. I guess it's a lot easier to come up with ideas for new cable channels than to come up with sustainable shows to fill them. At least the History Channel still talks about, you know, history...


23:18 - Inside the Vault
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrrSyYlmSjw&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecartoonbrew%2Ecom

(top)
I'll bet Disney wishes NBC were Mohammed, because then they could censor this Saturday Night Live segment:



It's hard to say how they could have forestalled the inevitable... but then, when it came time to dig their own grave through ridiculous sequels and overprocessed, joyless features, they did seem a little too enthusiastic to grab that shovel.

Via Cartoon Brew.

UPDATE D'oh! It's already been removed from YouTube, as Chris M. reports. Now comes the inter-studio litigation.


12:13 - Chiat-Day, eat your heart out
http://www.firefoxflicks.com/flick/?id=19542

(top)
I first saw this when Dean linked to it, but now it seems to be taking on Internet-meme characteristics. I'm getting it forwarded to me now from people from all walks of life.

And it deserves it. Genius.

Friday, April 14, 2006
14:30 - Wild times
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/click/movie-1156470/reviews.php?critic=columns&sortby=

(top)
Here's a well-written review that explains some of the glaring mysteries behind the new Disney CG Madagascar clone, The Wild.

I did kinda imagine that this movie had been in production forever, and that it might have actually come first. But what this illustrates, more than anything else, is how so much of the best talent left Disney with Katzenberg.

I still think The Emperor's New Groove was a stroke of genius, though.


11:07 - New Feature for Aperture: $200
http://www.tuaw.com/2006/04/13/aperture-1-1-released-with-improvements-price-drop-20

(top)
This is about as clear an acknowledgment of a big fat corporate mistake as you're ever going to see shy of a press release: Aperture 1.1 has been released, along with (among many other improvements) a $200 reduction in price, from $499 to $299.

And it's retroactive.

Meaning if you bought Aperture anytime since it was first released (to much criticism, not to say derision), you get a coupon worth a $200 cash refund.

Now that the price is more in line with what people had been saying would be appropriate for Aperture's feature set (if it all worked properly), I'd like to see a new review of its prospects, whether from Ars Technica or someone else, particularly someone who could compare it to their previous review of 1.0. It seems to me that Apple is quite serious about making nice with the pro-photography market segment, as this rebate indicates; they've burned a lot of goodwill, but they're doing what's in their purview to win it back. My guess is that photography figures pretty significantly in Apple's long-term strategy, and they're not going to be hounded out of the market so easily.

Thursday, April 13, 2006
10:26 - Put it all on black
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/apr2006/tc20060405_452855.htm?chan=te

(top)
Apple's taking their winnings to Vegas!

Apple Computer is breaking records with sales of its popular iPod music player -- and has the coffers to prove it. Now the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker has come up with what could be a smart way to manage part of that swelling cash pile. Apple has set up a company based in Nevada with the purpose of managing its cash and short-term investments in a tax-advantageous manner, BusinessWeek Online has learned.

I like the name: "Braeburn Capital".

Via Anthony A.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006
00:13 - It's wrawng. It's wrawng!

(top)
You know, I really, honestly expected this whole "two-parter" South Park thing to all be a gag; I never expected there to be a second episode at all. The "preview" shots just didn't look plausible.

So I wasn't as taken aback as everyone else in the room at the lead-in fake-out of "The second half of 'Cartoon Wars'... will not be seen tonight! Instead, we bring you a special episode of Terrance & Philip!"

I was, however, surprised to find that that wasn't where it all ended—that it switched back to the real South Park, and off it went on the very episode they'd promised last week.

I tell you, it was amusing sitting in a room full of avowed Bush-haters and watch an animated Bush stare down an incredulous press corps who had never before heard of this insidious new assault on Americans' safety called "the First Amendment". And it was gratifying beyond measure to sit in a room full of Family Guy lovers and watch as Trey and Matt explained that the show is in fact written by a tank full of manatees randomly picking "idea balls" from a giant hopper and putting them one after another in a hole where they settled, like Powerball numbers, into an ingeniously interchangeable joke that could be stuck anywhere in an episode.

But I don't think anything's going to top "Al Qaeda Films"' merciless retaliation for Family Guy's insensitive portrayal of Mohammed.

It's... wrawng!

UPDATE: Oh yes, and as for the "Mohammed scene" on which the whole episode hinges, which was replaced with a "Comedy Central has decided not to show the image of Mohammed" card—it's my guess that the episode was written around the assumption that Comedy Central wouldn't allow an uncensored image, so there wasn't really any suspense about it (not like what was portrayed in the episode about whether to air the uncensored Family Guy episode that was its analog). After all, the scene itself was nonsensical, inoffensive, and eyeblink-short. The comedic timing makes it feel like it was written around the censor card from the outset—I doubt the tiny flash of Mohammed standing in the door with the salmon helmet would have taken the same amount of time as they spent on the censor card, though of course they could have edited it. And of course Comedy Central didn't balk at airing the "Super Best Friends" episode a few years ago, though perhaps (as Mr. Marsh noted) times and standards have changed since the Danish cartoon fiasco, and the uncensored image would have had far more significance in this episode (where it's the focus of two weeks of suspense and worldwide attention, not just a throwaway in an episode about something else). But our expectations were set up for this last week with the "Will Comedy Central puss out?" question, and I don't think anyone was that surprised that they "did", nor do I think the greater significance was lost on anyone.

Unfortunately, we probably won't find out anything concrete when the episode shows up on iTunes this weekend. Because the episodes of South Park and Drawn Together that show up there aren't culled from master tapes or anything—they're presented as broadcast, with Comedy Central station bumps and credits and everything. We'll have to wait for the DVD commentary.

But I'm sure we'll hear the whole story in an interview before that happens. After all, this episode's whole premise came out of this interview...

UPDATE: Puss out.

UPDATE: What? SomethingAwful bandwagoning? Say it ain't so!


14:09 - Xerox me a kleenex

(top)
I just heard a radio ad for somebody running or Mayor of San Jose. The premise of the ad was that this guy would promote things like competition in city contracts and increased accountability and so on, with the theme of the message being that competition and innovation were key to the nature of Silicon Valley, as illustrated by little sound bites that showed our changing technological lives over the years.

The slogan was: We live in an iPod world. We don't have to put up with an 8-track government.

It must be a fun time to be Steve.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006
16:48 - Crank it up
http://flickr.com/photos/jeremyjohnson/125316004/

(top)
That iPod Hi-Fi can really rattle your bones:



That's the official window-dressing at the Apple Stores right now. Is that cool or what?

Via David G.

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