Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Oh, Google

You have to admire their sense of humor.

Google Custom Time

Saturday, March 29, 2008

No Outside Colors

This is going to be a tremendous spectacle adventure. I'll tell you
about it later. If I don't, ask me.

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Friday, March 28, 2008

New to Me

Yesterday was rather eventful. I had a few totally new experiences.

-I woke up in bed after accidentally hitting my face against our stucko

-I asked a girl out whom I'd never met before.

-I got rejected because she already had a boyfriend.

-I met and talked to the co-founder and president of Pixar and Disney
Animation Studios
, Ed Catmull.

Fun, huh? Okay, only the last one was any fun. But they were all

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

On the Clock

I really have a great job. The President of Pixar, Ed Catmull, is coming
to speak to the animation students. I'm not in animation, but pretty
much, I get to come with a camera to anything exciting on campus. We've
been watching some of the Pixar animated shorts (a form they single
handedly re-popularized), and I'm getting paid.

I overheard somebody walking in call it "Geekfest 2008", a title I think
more aptly applied to the Sci-fi and Fantasy Convention of a couple months
ago. But even if it is Geekfest, is there anywhere I'd rather be?

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Miss Teskie

This is a party Dave and I went to last Saturday. I brought along my camera (surprise) and got most of the fun on tape. I'm sure everybody thought I was a freak. Pointing a camera in somebody's face isn't a great first impression, but hopefully they'll enjoy the video. Hope you do too.

Playtime is 11 min 25 sec. Highlights at 3:35, 4:48, 5:41, 10:30.

P.S. For those of you reading this on Facebook or VIRB, you might have to go to the original Blogger post to see the embedded video. Anybody who would like a DVD of this, just let me know.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


We Did It! Sidekick is Back! Alive!

Okay, well, I'll try not to get melodramatic. The story goes, I have a
very very small hex screwdriver that I bought for just such an occasion.
I fished it out from a box of assorted junk, and disected the poor
remains of Sidekick. I couldn't find anything really broken, so I put it
back together and plugged it in. LIFE!

Good thing, too, because I can't afford to buy a new smartphone till
later on this summer, and I didn't want to get anything before the
Android platform is released. I'm pretty excited for that one.

Time to back up everything I've got on this. Can't afford to lose my
(electronic) mind again.
-Sent from Austin's phone.

The Seat Takes You

There is so much fun to be had with Love Sac's other than just lovin'. For instance, this is a great prank, if you can handle how uncomfortable it can be.
  1. Unzip a Love Sac.
  2. Crawl inside.
  3. Lay down flat.
  4. Wait for somebody to sit.
  5. Scare them to death.
  6. Laugh hysterically.

This was two years ago at Liberty Square. I believe these are in chronological order, top to bottom.

Jess weighs nothing, but makes a big sound.

Sara V. is always a riot. A good little screamer.

Lara is usually very reserved. Not then, though.

Ben was (and usually is) obstinate.

Val was so polite about the whole thing.

Sara B. was scared good.

NOTE: Remember those logic puzzles they tortured us with through standard testing? "If Johnny sits to the left of Cathy, and Cathy is to the Right of Frederick" etc. etc.? Well, I actually used that to figure out the chronological order for the videos. If a person A was in the room when person B got scared, then person A came before person B. What I got was:
  • Val was after Jess and Ben
  • Lara was after Jess and Sara V.
  • Ben was after Lara
  • Sara V. was after Jess
  • Sara B. was after Jess
Did I get the order right?

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Call to Move On: R.I.P. SK II

I knew this day was coming, but didn't want to believe it. It had to happen sooner or later.

I think my phone is broken. Dead. I'm not sure what to tell you if you want to get a hold of me. Maybe walk outside and yell my name. E-mail is pretty good too, but you'll have to wait for me to get to an actual computer to answer.

It's bittersweet. My dear Sidekick was getting on in years. We were close to his third birthday. While I have to admit I'm the second owner, I think we developed a special bond. We've been through a lot together. You might even say he made me famous.

Sidekick and I were inseparable, like a cowboy and his six-shooter. He came with me everywhere, always answered my questions, and really helped me talk to people. He helped me remember all my great ideas and keep me on schedule. Sometimes we'd sit down and look through old pictures he took, remembering the fun, the good laughs. Other times we'd peruse the silly texts we got from silly girls. That guy...he hated basements and concrete buildings, and was even more afraid of water. He may look old and worn now, but you should have seen him when he was young. Sleek, powerful, always ready to answer and do what you needed.

Remember, "Sent from Austin's phone"? We thought we were so cool when we came up with that! I remember we were trying to figure out if ol' Sidekick could manage mobile blogging. I just knew he could, despite not having any firmware updates for ages. And he did, the rascal. Who says you can't teach old tech new tricks?

This morning at about 10:20, Sidekick took a fall that proved to be his last. As his many scars will testify, he wasn't any stranger to rough and tumble, but this one bumped him just so. I feel it almost an insult to his memory that it was only a two foot drop that broke his neck. I must have looked like a kid who can't understand why the doggie won't wake up. I kept trying to reboot it, power off and back on, remove the SIM card, anything. I guess it was just his time.

There was never a better Sidekick anywhere. Not Sancho Panza, not Dr. Watson, not even Robin. You beat 'em all. We'll miss you, buddy.

Just the Answer

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
The Inland North
North Central
The South
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

How could they possibly know I have a good voice for TV or radio from a 13 question quiz? I'm not doubting the results. I'm just saying it's a rather presumptuous statement. The data are accurate enough, the methods are suspect.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Right now, on the BYU main page, one of the featured news stories is about a recent publication about findings of a BYU Professor and a former student/colleague. Kudos to Professor Erin Bigler for his discoveries, Good Job, Professor! There is so much amazing work that is done at BYU every day, and this is an exceptional example.

However, as an aside, I'd like to point out a striking similarity. By raise of hands, how many of you ever watched Boy Meets World growing up? Oh, it looks like there were a lot. Me too. And our Professor Bigler sure reminds me of one Mr. George Feeny. The likeness is unmistakable, at least in the picture used on the main page.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

If You Could See the Moon Right Now

I can't. Nobody in Provo can. But if you look up, you'll know where it
is. The light it casts over the East mountain tops is so bright with a
cloudless sky. If you woke from a daze to see this, you might think it
was some strange secluded sunrise, only illuminating a single peak. It
must be a full moon, or close to it. I don't know. Maybe I'm glad I
can't really see it.

But there it is. Lifting now, just barely visible. I paused and watched
long enough, I suppose. It's not often one sees the heaven's literally
move. Not often I stop to watch when it does.

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Big Bite

This is a great idea.

It is not an idea worth paying $50.00 for.

I'll just make one myself, thank you very much.

In a similar vein (garnering a similar reaction) are the HeadHoods.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I didn't know I'd be here till an hour ago. I'll tell more later, but
I'm at the Energy Solutions Arena for a Collective Soul concert. Frank
is opening.
-Sent from Austin's phone.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gets Me Every Time


This is the first piece I did for BYU TV. It's about a very impressive genealogy project on campus, called the Immigrant Ancestor Project. Great folks involved in, all of them.

A worthy subject, even if the reporter was (and is) still learning.

Dear Arthur C. Clarke,


This is an old piece I did on the 2006 Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization on campus. Second piece I ever did for BYUTV. It took me forever to finish. Unforseen obstacles, technical mistakes, personal clashes. Actually, it was all pretty unpleasant. One of the worst experiences of my college career.

Nothing against the club.

Take special note of my awesome standup at 2:16 in.

On a weirdly related note, remember a couple years ago when a local couple kidnapped their daughter to prevent her marriage? The groom they were avoiding was none other than the gentleman in our video here.

Perry really isn't a bad guy. I imagine the bride's parents are just super protective. I hope it isn't hereditary, for Perry's children's sake, and mine. You see, I'm related to those parents. I don't know exactly how, but the father is a Mormon named "Lemuel Redd". Such a unique family name, I promise we're not too distant kin.

I'm also related to one of the club advisors. And one of the club members was a missionary in my home ward. And I took a class from one of the judges.

So much for objective reporting, right?

Monday, March 17, 2008

I Want My FHE

Our ward is having a film contest. Always fun. The trick is keeping it that way. Instead of laboring and striving for a masterpiece, in a setting like this, it's best just to throw together whatever you can in a few hours and not worry too much about the outcome. We filmed Monday night, and edited last Saturday. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Special thanks to Michael Jackson and Erasure.

UPDATE 18 MARCH 2008: Jasie called me out. This is mostly inspired by the work of friend of a friend. I don't think he'll mind (I'm not any competition to him).

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Paint the Town

While maybe not as flashy or eyecatching as the grafitti I already posted about, I've seen some examples closer to home. I try to catch them on camera when they're there to be caught. Most seem to be hasty, faded, and short lived, but they're fun while they last.

I wonder if it isn't the same artist responsible for most of what I see.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


You may know Feist from one of the newest Apple ad. It caught my attention. I like the video they used, and I like the one I've posted below even more. They're each one long take. I'm almost always a fan of that. I also like their straightforwardness. She makes no pretense about what a music video is, simply a silly song and dance number. No more, no less. I appreciate the simultaneous simplicity and originality. She does a really great job with it.

I've been listening to this song a lot lately, and feeling pretty melancholy. You can criticize me for seeming emo or sounding trite, but that is the word I'm choosing. I feel melancholy.


I'm running the Rex Lee 5K in about 10 minutes. Wish me luck.
-Sent from Austin's phone.

He's YOURS Too?

I haven't been recording my dreams as much lately, but I couldn't let
this one get away.

Dreamt last night that a whole bunch of people really wanted to buy
"Cecil is my Homeboy" shirts
, and they all were coming over to my house
to buy them. Men, women, young, old, all walks of life. They thought the
Cecil shirts
were great. A hispanic family came and wanted to get one
for each family member, from ninos to abuelos, and I started to run out
of some sizes and colors, didn't have enough for all of them. Then Conan
came and wanted to get one. I asked, really embarrassed, if I
could get a picture with him before he left. He answered
matter-of-factly, "Well, ya, that's what I was thinking we'd do." I was
also embarrassed/worried because we were running out, and I didn't think
we'd have one in his size.

I'm sure this dreams comes from there having been a strange resurgence
in T-shirt orders over the past couple weeks, and I am actually running
out of inventory.

Also, this gave me another idea for a shirt design and how to sell it. I
should do that ASAP. It'd be a huge hit. Let's just say it has something
to do with the Presidential Elections.

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Friday, March 14, 2008

You've done it too (I'm talking to you)

How was I supposed to know he wasn't talking to me? There didn't appear
to be anybody else around, and when a hooded, hated figure looks my way
and starts on a fraternal sounding greeting, I'm going to respond. As he
got closer, his gaze became evidently diverted. He was talking to the
silent walker behind me, and smiled at my mistake as he passed. No real
reason to be embarrassed, but I am.
-Sent from Austin's phone.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I had the idea for this exact same screen saver well over a year ago.
Maybe it's existed that long anyway, but I wad the idea independent of
anybody else. At least as independantly as ideas come.
-Sent from Austin's phone.
P.S. I didn't really explain the concept. It's a perpetually expanding photomosaic, where the composed image shrinks and becomes a component of a greater image.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Review: Bee Movie

This will be one of my shortest reviews ever.

I almost forgot I even saw this. It was...dumb. The jokes Jerry Seinfeld tells on stage, doing his stand-up thing, just don't work when played out in front of you...by animated bees. It was dumb. The only reason I stuck around for the whole thing was the company.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Rubble and Paint

There are things to see in Utah. There are the obvious sights. Delicate Arch, Goblin Valley, the Uintah Mountains, The Great Salt Lake, Brigham Young University. There are things to see in Utah. But not all of them so obvious, not all of them so popular.
I'd heard about a spot around here that was some structure long ago leveled, and is nothing now but fallen bricks and graffiti. I found it the other day, prompted by simple curiosity. Must be a whole city block at least, demolished and never cleaned up. Now it's a playground of sorts for the derelict. Dave, Mylee, Dan and I went.

I think it would be a great location to shoot a movie if you could secure the spot. Really, these few stills don't do the area justice. It doesn't look like the United States, it doesn't look like now. It feels more like a bombed out future, in someplace...other.

I've ben noticing a lot of the urban decay lately, but this is the pinacle. It would be an interesting motif to center around. I'll have to write something soon. Maybe Tyson would want to shoot a short there when he gets to Utah.

I'll be going back for sure. There is more here that should be caught on camera before it's gone. Aside from crumbling to pieces, one can only assume the real estate value will some day attract an ambitions developer, and all of this will actually be leveled, to make way for something like "Sunset Creek Village: Condos starting at $200,000".

There were also a number of sights on the way to our main attraction.

We'll be back there. Soon. Anticipate an update.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Review: Be Kind Rewind

I had been anticipating this movie for a while. Months, actually. So to say that this is a bias-free review would be a lie.

I found myself (unexpectedly) with nothing to do last Friday, so after a long undeserved nap, my roommates and I drove up to the Jordan Commons theaters to see Michel Gondry's latest. I've mentioned him and this film a few times on here before. We got there too late to see the trailer for the new Indiana Jones movie, but I was still excited.

Be Kind Rewind centers around Mike (Mos Def), Jerry (Jack Black), and Mr. Fletcher (Danny Glover). Mr. Fletcher is the owner of a run-down, behind the times video store (the film's namesake) in the middle of Harlem. Supposedly, that's where Fats Waller was born, right in that store. Mike is the assistant at the shop to help the customers (all two of them). Jerry is...well...cracked. His conspiracy theories are more feuled by the "the power plant" he lives under in his decaying camper, though it looks more like a transformer station.

When Mr. Fletcher goes on a little investigation vacation to research what other video stores are doing to keep business afloat, Mike is left in charge. He does his best. Really, you can't blame the guy for what happens. But Jerry manages to erase every tape in the store when he accidentally becomes magnetized after an unsuccessful sabatoge on the mind-controlling power plant. Cracked, like I said.

When one of their (very few) customers wants to rent Ghost Busters, Mike desperately concocts a plan. She'd never seen Ghost Busters before. Heck, she may have never seen a science fiction movie before. So, they do what any self respecting video clerk would do. They decide to shoot the movie themselves with an old VHS camcorder and try to pass it off as the real deal.

Their work, in all it's amateurish grandeur, becomes wildly popular. Everybody wants to have their own version made of their favorite movie.

I came into the movie with high expectations, and was not disappointed at all. Other reviews will cite a number of shortcomings. I understand those problems, I saw them myself. I don't care, it was a great movie.

One thing you'll hear is the movie was too sentimental. It was very sentimental. But when did that ever hurt anybody? When so many sterile, hollow Wes Anderson films are seen as the pinacle of genius, I'm more than willing to forgive a movie that tries to get you to like the idiot characters. I was suckered in, and loved it all the way through. When they smiled, so did I. When they were heartbroken, so was I. What was the last Wes Anderson movie you saw where any of the caracters gave a real, big, genuine smile? For all the intellectual capacity of film, I think the greatest strength of the medium is emotional. There are few other things anywhere that can bring a group of strangers together and have them all walk away laughing, crying, joking like old friends, or in simple, complete, utter silence.

Be Kind Rewind made me laugh and love the characters, and I'm glad it did. In the words of one of Mike and Jerry's patrons, Cheers "to movies with heart, and soul". Even if the heart is bleeding a bit.

Another reason I loved it was how much the characters reminded me of...me. Okay, on the surface, we're pretty different. They were a couple nobody's from the inner city taking their time going nowhere in life. I've hardly ever seen any "inner city" and I'm at college in Utah. But when they grab a camera and run outside to shoot a stupid movie, any differences between us disappear. They immediately look a lot like me and my friends on the weekend. I love making dumb movies with my buddies, I've been doing it since high school. I love telling stories, even if my friends and I are the only ones who will enjoy it.

So for all it's "failings" it is a fun movie, which is just what it sets out to be. Watch it, even if you wait for the dollars, or even when it comes out on video. Then, if you feel so inspired, go out and shoot one of your own. Trust me, it's just as much fun as it looks.


Dreamt last night that I was part of a Conservative roundtable
discussion with Mitt Romney. We were talking about the presidential race
as it stands now. Mitt was clearly of the opinion that John McCain was
the man to back, and I had to respond honestly that voters may have a
very difficult time doing that. Here's why.

While McCain may be the last man standing for Conservatives, there
certainly isn't any kind of consent that he is the best man for the job.
On the contrary, people have a hard time getting past his moderate
background, though he is outspoken on following through with the War,
one of the most right wing stances there are.

He is clearly driven by political motives. That is, of course, the most
obvious thing you could say about a person running for President of the
United States of America. But all candidates claim a desire to serve and
give back to the country and the world that have given them so much. I
am less persuaded by his claim than others.

And here is what I told Mitt. He didn't like it, but didn't refute it. I
told him that a country so divided by every issue under the sun may opt
for the unifying candidate, and McCain isn't it. Barack Obama is a
charismatic orator who knows what words to use. He defers credit for his
campaign's successes. He calls them "our successes". He talks about
change in an atmosphere of widespread discontent with the status quo.
The nation hates the government, and the world hates America, but nobody
hates Obama. McCain isn't doing much to invite people to his support
that doesn't alienate his existing supporters, while Obama is keeping it
all vague enough that nobody feels betrayed by specifics. I don't agree
with almost any of his policy, but I trust what little I can see of his
character. I agree with more of McCains policy, but I'm extremely
skeptical of him personally. Who do you vote for, the man you disagree
with but trust, or the man you agree with but doubt?

I don't ally myself with any candidate just yet, but I presented this to
Mitt across the table as the problem Conservative voters face.

As an aside, I feel like Hillary Clinton is hands down the most divisive
candidate left. She does it intentionally. She pulls supporters in by
stating that We're not like Them. They are Stupid, We have the Answer.
Most often with her, Them means Republicans, but I think she uses this
as a general technique in whatever setting she is in. It makes me sick.
She makes me sick.

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


There are few things I enjoy more than impressing a teacher that I
respect. It happens every now and then. Maybe once or twice a semester,
and I always love it.

I'm in my Horror Film class. It's not a class I'm really enrolled in,
but come on, how could I miss this? We come, talk about myth and what
makes us afraid of anything, then we watch old campy horror movies. And
despite what you may think, there is plenty of material for academic
study here.

Did I mention that I probably shouldn't be here? I should be at home or
the library, reading the subjects I'm actually accountable for. I was
debating leaving class to go read, but had to consider what movies we
would be watching. At the class break, I asked the teacher. On the
docket was The Fall of the House of Usher with Vincent Price*, and The
Carnival of Souls.

I asked, "Wasn't The Carnival of Souls filmed in Utah? Just West of
Salt Lake
, right?"
"Yes...it was. You must be some aficionado to know that"
"No, I'm a fake. I know just enough to fake."
"That's what aficionados do."

-Sent from Austin's phone.

*Screenplay by one Richard Matheson.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

These Men Work Magic

The song rocks to begin with. It does. But this video...this video:
Justice - DVNO

Everything about Justice comes straight out of past decades, but somehow manages to seem fresh every time. They effortlessly (at least it looks effortless) exude cool. I've mentioned them on here before, and do so again, because I'm genuinely fascinated.

In case you weren't watching anything in the 80's or 90's, what you're seeing is an homage/montage of production and distribution companies' intros from VHS days. I'm serious, bust out the tapes, I'm sure you'll recognize some of the motion graphic sequences that play before the feature film, or better yet, your favorite taped episode of The A-Team.

There is a short portion most of the way through when the video rewinds, a practice that is obsolete now, but recalls the time they are aesthetically emulating.

The audio is more than just the song. There are places where the music is distorted or accompanied by clips of chimes, sirens, etc. Whatever the video called for. I feel the fact that they were willing to compromise the songs fidelity shows dedication to what they were doing. They were making a video, the song was already written and recorded.

There is more going on here than what I'm catching now, just a few minutes after seeing it for the first time. That or I've taken too many film classes.

Another bonus of this style is...I actually know what they're saying now.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Redefining Plagiarism

I suppose we could call it homage, in a respectful French sense. Those wacky folks over at BYUSA have put together this most inspiring piece of work to persuade students to be more overtly kind/neighborly on campus. Thats nice and all, but I'm not sure I'm going to start talking to strangers. However, please note:

This ad was ripped off. Ripped clean off from another commercial. This commercial.

It's one of my favorite ad campaigns. It pulls me in like a sucker every time, it's just so poignant and sappy. Very effective, and interesting storytelling (David Bordwell talks about it here). So how could I miss a stright up copy?

Thematically identical, exactly the same execution, full circle story. The differences are there, but the similarities are glaring.

The Beginning of a Beautiful Career

We did it. A. Kouts is a model. Just ask Amy or Dave.

First Story

If any of you are interested, you can go to the BYU Weekly website and see my first piece for them. It is about the Marion K. "Doc" Smith Symposium on Science Fiction and Fatasy at BYU. I can't imagine all of my stories will be as fun as this one was. I got to interview Orson Scott Card, my friend Jake, and several other authors, and generally participate in the whole thing. I learned a lot about writing (a personal area of interest) and enjoy the unique company.

It will play occasionally on BYUTV, including this Wednesday at 4:30. If you're really dying to see it on an actual television, come on over. I have it on DVR.