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

Merry Christmas

Every Christmas I have brilliant ideas for Christmas-themed videos, but every year work just seems to get really busy around Christmas time. Usually I ended up not having time to actually make them. Maybe I should shoot for Christmas in July. But here’s an oldie but goodie that I made in 2006. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas! 😀

Busy Busy Busy

Recently I’ve just been really really busy with my day job (iPhone app development). I worked long hours and sometimes weekends too. And it’s getting closer and closer to Christmas and also closer and closer to the deadline. I am tired, and it looks like I won’t be able to get that many days off. I admit that sometimes I just start getting angrier and angrier at the project for not being done and over with. It’s a mix of stress, frustrations, and seemingly impossible deadlines, but I’ll get over it, I guess.

Lately I just feel too tired to do anything after work. I haven’t been doing much besides watching TV after I got off work. I am beginning to understand why some people watch so much TV. It takes no effort. You don’t really need to think. See, reading takes so much more energy. You have to turn on your imagination to translate words into images. You have to move your eyeballs to scan the pages. What’s more, you even have to to use your fingers to turn the pages! So much effort! TV, on the other hand, allows you to be lazy and to stare passively at a story as it unfolds. That’s so much easier than, say, going through my Google Reader, which, as you can see in the picture, has more than 1000 unread posts. Going through that thing is simply too much effort.

The show that I’ve been watching lately is Lie to Me. I’ve been curious about the show after seeing the commercials, but haven’t had periods of time of feeling so lazy until lately. So I started watching it. The show is about a group of experts in lie detection that assist individual clients and FBI to investigate who is telling the truth. I watched it and ended up liking it. I’ve already gone through all 10 of the episodes currently on Hulu (the whole season 2 so far). I wouldn’t say it’s a show that’s so clever that it totally blew me away, or the story is so deep that it makes me think about the meaning of life. Some people criticized it for copying TV shows like Psych and The Mentalist, but eh, what do I care? I just want something that entertains me without too much effort on my part. See? A show that makes me think too much would not be something I want to watch when I am tired. Also some people compared the main characters’ use of detailed observations of human interactions to what Sherlock Holmes does. Well, I like Sherlock Holmes stories so I guess that worked for me as well.
Before any of you starts telling me that I should get off my ass and stop watching all that TV, well, you got nothing to worry about. I am currently going through Season 1 of Lie to Me, and I only have six more episodes left to go. Once that’s done, I’ll have nothing to watch for a while and get back to something that involves not as much blank staring. And I am still somewhat active in my TV watching anyway. For example, tonight I saw one of those scenes in which two people walked through a hallway/corridor while talking about a case they were working on. These kind of shots are common on TV and they are often shots from different angles spliced together. I rewinded (rewound?) a few times to see if they repeated or skipped any part of the hallway to make sure the length of the hallway matches the time it takes to finish talking and go from the starting point to the destination. And yes, they did match up correctly. I wonder if they tried it out in rehearsal to figure out if the hallway is of the right length. See? I am doing something.

My friend just had a birthday party this past week and we also did an White Elephant thing. It was quite fun. The rule was that the gifts had to be used items and no new wrapping was allowed (so I wrapped mine in ad paper). You could either pick a gift at random or steal someone else’s. With more than 30 presents there, it was quite entertaining with random gifts like mugs that look like a snowman, etch-a-sketch, Aspirin, coffee-flavored vodka, and some interesting looking books. The game ended when the final present was unwrapped and it was… post-its. What a great way to end the game after all the anticipation! So what did I get? Well, you could see what I got here: a book and some beans in a fancy container. The book is Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott. I’ve never heard of the book before, but it called itself a “romance” and yet it was full of geometric diagrams. It even called itself “unabridged” while it was less than 100 pages long. I think it would be an interesting read. And the beans… I honestly have no idea what to do with them (now that’s a true white elephant), but I already said they will make a repeat appearance at the next potluck. Eh, I’ll figure something out.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Hopefully work becomes less crazy soon!

Watch A Muppets Christmas: Letters To Santa on Hulu

letters_to_santaLast year, the Muppets did a new Christmas TV special called “A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa”. I was not able to watch it when it was on, so I tried to tape it. Alas, the VCR failed me. So imagine my delight to see it on Hulu today.

The movie started out with Kermit and other Muppets standing in line at the post office to send out Christmas cards, but then due to a mix-up, the somehow ended up with other people’s mail that’s addressed to Santa in North Pole. By the time they found out, the post office was already closed, so Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo the Great, Rizzo the Rat, and Pepe the Prawn did the only thing that made sense to do (in the Muppet world): they decided to go to North Pole themselves to deliver those letters to Santa. Of course, there would be challenges along the way, but let me just spoil the ending for you (since it’s a Christmas special, and with Muppets) by saying that everything worked out in the end.

The movie was really cute. I had a smile on my face throughout the movie. The movie was full of silly puns, which I loved. (I have a love for taking things literally and out of context, which Muppets seems to love doing, a lot.) Somehow the Halle Berry referenced cracked me up. And I also loved Nathan Lane’s “ding ding ding” moment. Besides Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, Rizzo, and Pepe, lots of other characters also appeared in the film, such as Miss Piggy, Sam the Eagle, the Swedish Chef, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Scooter, Rowlf the Dog, Statler and Waldorf, Animal, Beaker, etc. Guest stars included Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg, Uma Thurman, Jane Krakowski, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, etc. I feel like they were thinking, hey, it’s Christmas. Might as well let everyone make a cameo!

If you would like to see it, here’s the link. Oh, and I also watched A Charlie Brown Christmas (again). Actually, A Charlie Brown Christmas was featured on Hulu’s front page. They have a page for holidays, so I clicked on it to see what else they have. I was looking for Muppet Christmas specials. I actually thought they would have one of the older ones but they had the new one. That worked for me too. 😀 If you want to see more info about the movie and some behind-the-scenes pictures, check out the Muppet Wiki page.