Saturday, 28 February 2009

3 Solid Boxing Combinations + (Kick) Boxing Defense Techniques

I've got less than four weeks to go until my White Collar Charity boxing event and I'm feeling good. Lots of training, conditioning, washing wraps, getting punched in the jaw and ribs, puking blood, you know the regular stuff.

I can say that I'm not as into boxing as I am kickboxing frankly because I think it's less versatile since you can only really work with half the weapons of kickboxing (some would argue more if you consider knees and elbows). But I have no doubt that I'll be a better kickboxer as result of this experience.

This is a fantastic video on basic boxing combinations that I've been working on:

And here's a clip of some solid defensive techniques I hope I'll remember when I'm in the ring:

TRAILER: Waltz with Bashir (November 2008)

My Papi told me about this film so I wanted to post it and see if anyone out there has seen it and what they thought. The trailer looks fantastic so I hope I can find a copy of it somewhere.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Paul Krugman on the Stimulus Plan

I'm really not a fear monger so I'm not posting this to scare anyone. But I do know enough to know that Nobel Prize winner and NY Times Columnist Paul Krugman knows economics much better than probably 99% of the politicians (the 1% may be AS smart as him) so I think it's worth hearing what he has to say on what is going to be the largest stimulus plan EVER.

In the above clip, he addresses the following questions (I find his answers to the last 3 the most interesting):

  1. Why is the stimulus package not enough?
  2. How big should the stimulus be?
  3. What lessons can be learned from Japan's recession in the 1990s?
  4. Will the US economy grow in 2009?
  5. Did you think the crisis would be this bad?
  6. Who is to blame for the crisis?
  7. What would your economic plan be?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Chloe Bruce Martial Arts Demonstration

Chloe Bruce has trained in Korean Tang Soo Do and mixed martial arts for the past 18 years. She also eats a bowl of nails and drinks Drano for breakfast. I'm still convinced though that if I had to open a can of whoop-ass on her, I could probably take at least two strikes to the face before I died. I don't know about, you but I think that's pretty good stamina.

My two favorite things of this video: her hoop ear-rings (if you're gonna kick some serious ass, always make sure that you do it in hoop ear-rings) and the miniature UFO flying around her after the first set ("We come in peace, show us how you kick ass").

Katie Couric Interviews Sarah Silverman

I've always been a fan of Sarah Silverman because she offends everyone equally. I really enjoyed this interview that Katie Couric did with her because it's unscripted, sincere and covers a lot of topics. When a comic's material is as over-the-line as Silverman's, it's always a challenge to see through the act and get a real sense for the person but I think this interview does a pretty good job.

Monday, 23 February 2009

There There: Thom Yorke (live acoustic)

I love everything that Radiohead does, but this is probably one of my top three favorite songs that they've ever done. I'm particularly enthralled by this live set done in Paris a few years ago. If you can't already tell, I most enjoy really crisp acoustic sets vs. music videos as these days you can never really tell what is done in the studio and what is actual talent. But with Radiohead, it's pretty clear. Enjoy!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

TRAILER: Miss March + Audition Clip (Lesbians + Horsedick.mpegs)

Miss March, courtesy of the Comedy Troupe Whitest Kids U'Know, looks awesome. Best line of the trailer: "Stupid fireman, can't turn their fire trucks around."

Directed by Zach Cregger and Trevor Moore; Starring: Zach Cregger, Trevor Moore, Raquel Alessi, Molly Stanton, Holly Hindman and Craig Robinson; more here.

Whitest Kids U'Know is based in New York City and was originally founded at the city's School of Visual Arts; they won "Best Sketch Group" in 2006 at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival. Check out their official site.

As a bonus, below is an outtake audition clip from the movie that I find funnier than the actual trailer:

Saturday, 21 February 2009

TIME interviews Thomas Friedman (Sept 2008)

NY Times Columnist and Best-selling author Thomas Friedman, author of 'Hot, Flat and Crowded - Why We Need a Green Revolution - and How It Can Renew America' speaks to TIME Magazine about his latest work and answers some reader-submitted questions. Flat is an adjective that Friedman has used in the title of his other international bestseller 'The World is Flat' (published 2005); in this interview, he explains how his use of flat is simply a short-hand for the rise of middle classes around the world, that are increasingly able to live like Americans, with the same consumption demands and energy patterns. This sudden increase in the global middle class is dramatically accelerating the pace of climate change and Friedman argues it is high time for America to redesign the current model which cannot sustain current growth and demand patterns.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Learning Guitar

Few know that I'm an aspiring rock star. My current 9-to-5 is just something to do until I hit it big, sell trillions of records, go on tour, have lots and lots of sexually unfulfilling encounters with countless roadies, develop a drug addiction problem, commit myself and become clean, do some commercials, a reality show, and get committed to the Rock and Roll hall of fame. And also until I learn how to play guitar well enough to make it through an entire song.

Until then, I wanted to share some of the resources I've found useful as an aspiring rock-star and some of the songs I'm working on for your musical enjoyment.

First things first, anyone interested in playing guitar for the non-deaf has to be obsessed with being in tune; this site is a great resource for that as it plays WAV files of all in-tune strings.

As far as learning songs is concerned, YouTube wins the gold for educational resource as there are countless videos of aspiring rockers like me offering great instructional videos, as well as showing off their talents (or lack there of in certain instances). I find that Justin Sandercoe's videos are the easiest and clearest to follow. He has a great site with tons of useful information, like this article on how to change your acoustic guitar's strings.

Here are the current songs I'm working on from his series:

Easy Songs 1

Easy Songs 2

Coldplay - Trouble

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Colbert vs. Conan - String Dance Off

The tension between Stephen Colbert and Conan O'Brien over their string dancing abilities finally comes to a head in this clip filmed earlier this week. If you're a fan of Colbert's genius, I'd also recommend checking out this awesome clip of him appearing on The O'Reilly Factor.

Marylin Manson on the O'Reilly Factor (Summer 2006)

This is a very interesting clip of two polar opposites having a reasonably civil conversation. Bill O'Reilly, the conservative host of The O'Reilly Factor on FOX, interviews Marilyn Manson, controversially famous American musician whose work, persona and following have been described as everything from genious to satanic or worse. O'Reilly, despite still asking leading questions in an accusatory fashion, actually does a respectable job of engaging Manson (born Brian Hugh Warner) on his musical style and lyrics, the intent behind his music, and the degree that musicians and the media at large effect the actions and psyche of those exposed.

I have seen more of O'Reilly since coming to Hong Kong as Fox is two channels past CNN and I can't help but channel flip and get exposed from time to time. But the more I hear and see of him, the less impressed I am; I find him to be a bully, mean and irrational. Manson, on the other hand, impressed me with his composure, sincerity, and occasional eloquence during an interview taking place on a show (and network) that any rational person would certainly describe as "hostile territory". I don't fancy his music much, but he strikes me as an original, and an artist at heart with a genuine desire for expression.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

7 Habits of Highly Effective Advertising (SE Land)

Gord Hotckiss penned an interesting article that appeared in Search Engine Land, in which he dissects some of the reasons why search marketing continues to weather the economic melt-down. He discusses seven habits unique to search marketing that make it more resilient (i.e. effective) than other mediums during times like these (summarized here for your laziness):
  1. Search captures demand: able to harvest demand, created by other channelse
  2. Search is category agnostic: effective in mapping objective with intent, whether motivated by gain or preventing loss
  3. Search is democratic: big and small advertisers play on the same field
  4. Search is proactive/interactive: search demand equates to user demand/intent
  5. Search gets our attention: we are accustomed and used to the process of searching
  6. Search is ubiqutous/focused: everyone does it and increasingly so in the future
  7. Search is friction-free: very few barriers to entry/maintenance

He also argues, correctly in my view, that companies abandoning their search campaigns either weren't doing it efficiently in the first place or were already going out of business to begin with.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Vampire Weekend - A-Punk

Vampire Weekend was formed in New York by four musicians who attended Columbia University together. Their music is influenced by both African popular music (Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa) and Western classical music. A-Punk is one of their more well known creations and it makes me want to change into shorts, flip-flops and start sipping drinks with little tiny umbrellas coming out of them. That or maybe I'm just really tired of work already and looking for an escape (uh oh!). Enjoy!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Richard Dawkins Interviews (author of The God Delusion)

"The God Delusion" is on my to-read list as I have always been enthralled by religious debate. I found this interview very interesting and provocative as the questions that Dawkins addresses are clearly compelling and sincere, but so to are his responses and the logic behind them. Anyone that has read Dawkins' book, please let me know what you thought!

Below is also another interview that I found similarly fascinating.

To me, the intense response that Richard Dawkins' claims have brought out are just as interesting and fascinating as the actual claims themselves. It's ironic and true that it's almost less offensive (and more accepted) to tell someone "I believe in witches or dwarves (let alone Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist)" then it is to reveal that you're an aetheist. In other words, you're more likely to be accepted if you indicate that you believe in something (anything, even magical Sharks) as opposed to revealing that you believe there likely is NO higher being.

I haven't quite figured out why this is but I suspect it may have something to do with a fear that (assuming I believe in a God), an aetheist's assertion of a God-less universe would inherently and unequivocally invalidate my own. What confuses me however is why this would be less the case when compared to a Buddhist's assertions or Wicken's? Perhaps with those examples, there is some consideration left for the possibility that the God is the same, just interpreted/addressed differently?

And just in case you can't get enough Dawkins, take a listen to this NPR interview.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Does It Offend You, Yeah? - Let's Make Out

Thanks for the recommendation Joey boy. This is just one of the songs from "Does It Offend You, Yeah?" that's been running around in my head since I first heard it. And I don't know about you, but this music video kinda reminds me of a cracked-out version of the pod race-scene from Star Wars Phanton Mennace.....Enjoy!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

I'm on a Boat - SNL (Andy Samberg featuring T-Pain)

Seems like half of Andy Samberg's job on SNL is now to simply star in ridiculous music videos. This digital short (the edited version) appeared on the Feb 7 episode of Saturday Night Live.

Best line (courtesy of T-Pain): "Believe me when I say I f*cked a mermaid"

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Missed Opportunities: Super-Bowl Ads Tied to Search (AdAge)

AdAge's Michael Learnmonth examines which Super Bowl advertisers took advantage of the buzz their $100k USD-per-second investments and ran search campaigns to capture the resulting interest. Citing research by search-marketing firm Reprise Media, the article suggests that most large advertisers still do an ineffective job of tying their largest marketing efforts back to search, failing to make the most of their costly commercials (though there are exceptions).

The largest brands that fumbled?

  • CPG: Coca Cola, Budweiser, Heineken, Bud Light, Denny's, Taco Bell
  • Finance: Chase Bank
  • Technology: Pixar, Vizio
  • Entertainment: Year One, Angels & Demons, Transformers 2
  • Tuesday, 10 February 2009

    Most Influential Companies - BusinessWeek

    And the winners are:

    Read the original article here.

    In the below video, Jena McGregor discusses with one of the consulting panelists , Andrew Zolli of Z + Partners, on the logic behind choosing the winners. According to Zolli, he defined Influential as "production of durable ideas that define the terms of competition", thus these companies through their action and success define and redefine the rules of the game specific to their verticals. As a result, these 25 aren't necessarily the largest companies (although many of them certainly qualify), they're the ones that everyone is watching and (correctly or not) factoring them in to their competitive execution strategies.

    TRAILER: Monsters Vs. Aliens (March 2009)

    Directed by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon. Starring voices of: Seth Rogen, Keifer Sutherland, Hugh Laurie, Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Rainn Wilson, Will Arnett and Stephen Colbert.

    Sunday, 8 February 2009

    Kings of Leon - Sex On Fire (Letterman)

    That's the biggest problem that I have: catching on fire when I make love (that and crying after the act but that's another post). That's why I only engage in said activity by a body of water (pond, lake, sewer) and also half the reason I wear a fireman's jacket. Every woman that I've been with though claims that the ensuing third degree burns are a small price to pay for my rocking their world for almost 2.5 minutes.

    The Kings are rocking out in Europe this spring but looks like they may make it over to Asia (AU) in March; check them out here.

    Saturday, 7 February 2009

    Hulu: Alec in Huluwood

    I love Alex Baldwin. I have a feeling I'd love as well if they allowed non-US based users to use their service (sigh).

    Agency: Crispin, Porter and Bogusky

    Friday, 6 February 2009

    White Collar Boxing Charity and Jumping Jacks Fail

    So I'm training for a White Collar Charity Boxing Match and have been doing some pretty hard-core training, just like above. The fight requires me to last three 2-minute rounds of full contact regulation boxing. I'm hoping I retain all my ears and don't experience any serious, lasting head trauma. The event itself is fantastic; portions of the proceeds will go towards the Children's Surgical Center and attendees get treated to a 4-course dinner including beer, wine at the ritzy (or rather, Intercocontinentally) InterContientnal Hong Kong.

    Click here for more information on the event and lemme know via a comment if you may be interested in attending.

    Keiffer Sutherland on Free Radio - Vh1

    I haven't seen a whole episode of this show but they're starting to air it on FX in Hong Kong (11pm HKT) so I'm super excited. It looks uncomfortably funny, which I'm all about. If you've seen the show, lemme know if it's as funny as this clip.

    Thursday, 5 February 2009

    Stiglitz on the Economy (PBS 12.24.08)

    This video interview asks Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz the following important questions pertaining to the current financial crisis:

    1. What's your view of the bailout?
    2. Do you think it's money well spent?
    3. Why didn't financial regulators intervene?
    4. What role did the SEC play?
    5. What can the Obama administration do to fix this?
    6. What's the solution to protect ourselves from a future financial crisis?

    His answers are depressing, sobering and insightful. Let's hope they get the bailout right, otherwise it's likely that our kids and the world at large will continue to pay the consequences.

    Wednesday, 4 February 2009

    Passion Pit - Sleepyhead

    My papi passed along this video to me and I think it's pretty wicket. It kinda makes me think of the movies The Cell with J Lo and Superman II (the one with the 3 evil bad guys, well 2 guys and a girl actually).

    David After Dentist

    Apparently, this kid had a tooth removed and he got the good stuff during the procedure. Lucky guy. This video totally reminds me of my college days....ahem....when I also had a tooth removed. Yah, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    My Favorite Lines:

    "Is this real life?"
    "Ok now.....Ok now I.....I have two fingers."
    "Why is this happening to me?"
    "Is this gonna be forever?"

    I guess someone else liked it so much that they made a remix to the video which I like almost as much as the original video. What do you think?

    This seems to be going around lately; Chad Vader looks to have also paid a visit to the dentist and had a near identical experience. Love it.

    CMO Roundtable: Marketing Through a Recession

    Watch this video of Jonah Bloom of AdAge sitting down with three CMOs to discuss their various marketing strategies during a recession. Feedback is provided from Mark Chmiel of Denny's, Tom O'Toole of Global Hyatt, and Ranjana Clark of Wachovia.

    What seems consistent with all sentiments shared in this clip is that regardless of the decision being made, it's based on detailed awareness and knowledge of exactly where they're sitting in relation to their profits as well as their competition. Tom O'Toole also gives some good feedback on their decision to move more budget away from other mediums, specifically to search advertising, citing both ROI and visibility as the two largest influencers in that decision.

    Tuesday, 3 February 2009

    MGMT - Time to Pretend

    A work buddy of mine whose musical preferences I respect deeply recommended some MGMT to me, and I'm digging them. This American band is based in Brooklyn, NY and consists of Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden. Some good-old modern psychedelic pop. Enjoy!

    Sunday, 1 February 2009

    E*TRADE - 2008 Trading Baby Commercial plus 2009 Outtakes

    E*TRADE had a successful 2008 Super Bowl with their Trading Baby commercials (see above). According to a recent article by AdAge, they saw a 32% increase in funded accounts opened following the game. Will they have the same return this year with their spots, and even if so, will it be enough to make up for a dismal economy that has investors petrified? Who knows - but, I do love me a talking baby.

    Here are some of the outtakes that likely won't air during the Super Bowl - I'm confident that these are better than the actual commercials.

    Super Bowl Statistics

    1. #1: Super Bowl tops New Year's Eve as America's at-home party event of the year.

    2. 17: the average number of people attending a Super Bowl party

    3. $55m: the estimated expenditure on Super Bowl food

    4. Only Thanksgiving beats out Super Bowl Sunday when it comes to most food consumed by Americans in a single day.

    5. 15,000 tons of chips and 4,000 tons of popcorn are consumed.

    6. 12m pounds of Avocados are sold in preparation for a feast of guacamole that Americans prepare to watch the game (approx 8m pounds).

    7. 20%: increase in antacid sales at 7-Eleven stores on Monday after Super Bowl

    8. 2m: number of pizzas Pizza Hut expects to prepare for the deluge of deliveries.

    Heineken: Walk in Fridge Commercial

    So the Superbowl is happening shortly, and while I'm not necessarily a huge American Football fan (or really any traditional American sport fan), I do LOVE the American institution of the Super Bowl and will definitely miss not being in the States for it. What's not to love - parties, drinking, good half-time shows, and ofcourse: hilarious commercials. Since I will miss them this year, I'm hoping I run across them via YouTube or friends forwarding them to me and if so, I plan on posting them here. So Enjoy!