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Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

Looking Back at 2008

I read this somewhere else, and thought it was a great idea. So here it is, the first line from the first post of every month in 2008:

January: 2007 has come to an end. Now it’s 2008.

Not very interesting, is it? I mean, duh.

February: I was depressed, and shadow puppets brought me out of it.

In the next sentence I admitted that I was only exaggerating. Shadow puppets indeed got me excited though!

March: This past month and half I’ve been dealing with a lot of annoyance.

Annoyance indeed. A few bad things happened and it had definitely slowed my steps down. 2008 wasn’t that great of a year. And I only had one post in March, and it was on March 31 of all days… bleh.

April: There are many holidays out there.

There are indeed. This just goes to show you that I am not that great at writing the opening line of posts.

May: I just saw a link to this video over at the PuppetVision blog, and I totally love it!

Oh yeah, those worms are so awesome!

June: Just got back from visiting my sister in Pittsburgh.

And it was a good trip.

July: Being a puppeteer is a lot like being an actor.

No kidding. Except when you can’t act, your face can’t save you (nor ruin you).

August: This is going to be THE most technical post that’s ever appeared on this blog, so if you can’t stand it, just skip over this post.

Ah, I was writing about upgrading from WordPress 2.1 to 2.6 and all the problems I encountered. Interesting to look at this now because I’m about to upgrade once again to 2.7. Hopefully no headaches this time. (It was challenging and mentally stimulating headache though.)

September: Don LaFontaine (August 26, 1940 – September 1, 2008) wasn’t the most famous celebrity out there, but so many of us had heard his voice.

Ah, the voice actor was a great man. May he rest in peace.

October: Sorry I’ve been MIA lately.

Bad blogger, bad.

November: In this episode, Bottle Monster can not decide between Barack Obama and John McCain.

Ah, this was a fun episode. And we finally have a new president.

December: Hm, for some reason this flyer actually fits my current color scheme very well.

This was about an LCC show and once again I wrote an ambiguous opening sentence. I’ve got to start writing better ones, eh?

Anyway, let’s remember the good about 2008, and forget about the bad. Okay, I don’t mean forget. I mean kick it under the bed. You’d know it’s there, but you will be able to sleep on it and don’t let it bother you.

So there you go, 2008.

10000 Spam Comments

I wasn’t planning to post until around new years, but I decided to post today because we’ve just hit a new milestone.

Yep. The Akismet anti-spam plug-in has caught the 10000th spam comment since it’s been installed. The current count is at 10141. Imagine if I didn’t have Akismet and had to manually delete all of them. This blog would be filled with them!

This blog has definitely experienced major growth… in the comment spam department. On April 13, I installed Akismet for the first time. Before that, I was moderating all comments manually. And on October 11, we received our 1000th comment spam here. And then today, actually, yesterday, we received our 10000th.

From April 13 to October 11, it took about 6 months to receive 1000 spam comments. Yesterday was December 27. So it took only 2.5 months to go from 1000 to 10000.

Hm, is this even worth celebrating?

Speaking of celebration, my family spent Christmas in Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. It was a good trip. We didn’t intentionally schedule it on Christmas but that just happened to be what worked best for everybody. Staying away from the internet worked fine for me. Every now and then I would want to look up something on Wikipedia, and several times I did feel like looking up the map. But those are just minor things. I have no problems staying off the internet for a few days. It’s not like I am in the habit of Twittering everything I do.

Merry Christmas!!!

Yeah, I know it’s not Christmas yet. Anyway, I’m gonna take a little break from blogging for a few days. (Christmas, what good excuse for laziness.) We’ll be back around new year.

Since all these ideas for Christmas videos came to me too late for me to actually finish, you are stuck watching the old one.

Next year I shall start earlier.

Ugly Muppet Toy Pageant 2008

Over at Tough Pigs, a site that’s all about the Muppets, there was a pageant of Muppet toys… strange-looking ones, that is. The voting was over and the results were announced. Some of these were more weird than ugly, and some of them were… actually ugly. I already saw all the pictures when the nominations came out, but what cracked me up were the brilliant and hilarious comments left by people about each item.

Here’s a taste:

“Who’d have thought you could admire Kermit’s outtasite ‘fro AND use him to wash dishes?” -Nancy P

“I love how it’s called ‘Retro Kermit’ — as if Kermit EVER did or would sport that look.” -Justin P

“We know what Kermit looked like in the 70s, and it certainly wasn’t the love child of Don King and Barry Gibb.” -Mary Catherine O

To see the full post, click here to head over to the Tough Pigs site!

A Muppet Christmas: Letters to Santa

Finally, there’s going to be another Muppets Christmas special! This video has been circulating on the internet and lets you see several snipets from the movie.

According to the Muppets Wiki:

The program opens with the Muppets waiting in line at the post office to mail their Christmas cards. While there, the Muppets mistakenly intercept three letters sent by children to Santa Claus. Later, Claire, a young girl who lives in the same building as the Muppets, is disappointed when Gonzo reveals that the Muppets will not be around for Christmas as they are all going on vacation. However, the Muppets soon realize that the spirit of the holidays is more important than their vacation, and they attempt to fix the problems created by their mishap and get the averted letters to Santa Claus before Christmas. They rush to the airport via taxi, where they encounter Joy, a friendly ticket agent, and Officer Meany, a bitter airport security guard. They try to catch a flight to the North Pole before it’s too late…

The special will air in the United States on NBC this Wednesday (December 17) at 8/7central. Don’t forget to tune in! I’d probably be at work but I’m going to set the VCR. That’s right; some people don’t have Tivo yet! (or cable TV, for that matter)

Buddy Holly music video – awesome editing!

Have you seen Weezer‘s Bubby Holly video? If you haven’t, check it out. And let me tell you a little story on me and this video.

I first saw this video when I found it on my Windows 95 CD. It was either 1996 or 1997. I was in Taiwan attending middle school. I didn’t know enough English to understand what I was watching, but I thought it was a catchy song and a fun video. I had never heard of Happy Days. I couldn’t look up what it was either, because we had no internet. Ah, seemed like a long time ago, doesn’t it?

So who are the Weezers? (Instead of Weezer, because that’s what I thought they were called back then.) I thought of two possibilities: One, Weezers was a fictional band consisting of fictional characters on the show, or two, Weezers was a real band making a guest appearance on the sit-com. And then after I moved to the U.S., I realized that there was a band with the same name that’s still putting out albums. I thought that was just a coincidence.

Boy, was I wrong.

Since I am someone that listen to music without bothering to figure out what the musicians look like, I didn’t know this shocking fact until I got curious and looked up information about this video:

The video was made in 1995 with Happy Days footages edited into the music video, and was not part of an actual sit-com!

Okay, for those of you that’s been there and paying attention, that was nothing, but for me, that was “wwwwoooowww”. That was some awesome editing!

How awesome is it? It fooled me for 13 years!

The band part, of course, was filmed in 1995. The reactions from various characters were from old sit-com footages. And Fonzie’s parts were a mix of sit-com footages and newly filmed footages with a body double. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that when the band was in the shot, it’s newly filmed footage from 1995. This Fonzie was a body double so all you see is his back. And then the shots without the Weezer were from the sit-com and showed the face of the real Fonzie:

There was actually some discontinuity too, if you look very closely. Note Fonzie’s location: he should be to the front and right side of the stage, as seen in this picture. And I’d also like you to pay attention to where the stage and the piano is. (These two pictures are roughly from the same angle, but you could see the second one better because there was no crowd blocking the set pieces.)

Now, since Fonzie was facing the stage, then behind him should be the tables and booths. But let’s look at this next picture: In the background was the stage, and there was the piano that was supposed to be in front of Fonzie instead of behind him. Also, there’s a mysterious man sitting at the piano, the stage was of a different color, and there were musicians on stage that wore a different outfit and clearly weren’t the Weezer.

But of course, that was just me scrutinizing. I stare really hard at videos nowadays. There were some discontinuities there but most people wouldn’t notice it, and noticing it actually made me appreciate even more what a good job they did. The footages wouldn’t match up perfectly since they didn’t film the sit-com expecting it to be used in the music video many years in the future, but they did a great job in making the discontinuities so subtle.

What awesome editing. I used to just appreciate how much fun this video was, but now I also have new appreciation for how much work is put into making the video look smooth and good.

P.S. Besides matching up Fonzie, they also match up the extras perfectly. Many of the extras from the new footages have clothes and hairdos that looked just like extras from the old footages. They sure did a good job matching things up.

P.S.S. And here’s another video that was also on the Windows 95 CD: Edie Brickell’s Good Times, Bad Times. Ah, good times.

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