Archives: January 2009

50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2008


Malkin runs on crazy21. Michelle Malkin

Charges: It’s a remarkable achievement in unconscious projection that the author of a book called Unhinged could lose her fucking marbles over a patterned scarf in a donut ad, but that’s what Michelle Malkin did when she sounded the nutbar clarion call and sicced her half-cocked league of masturbators on Rachel Ray and Dunkin Donuts for the flatly absurd notion that they were sending a message of solidarity with Palestinians. Right, Michelle—you just can’t sell donuts without joining the intifada these days. What did the nauseously spunky Ray do to incur the wrath of the Malkinoids? She wore a black and white scarf. A paisley scarf. A scarf that was clearly not a kaffiyeh, which, by the way, is just a hat that Arabs wear, not some universal symbol of jihad. In terms of completely false outrage, the only thing that rivaled this travesty of reason this year was the “lipstick on a pig” metaphor panic. But what puts this embarrassing sham over the top is that Dunkin Donuts actually apologized and pulled the ad, rather than try to explain to the fact-phobic horde that they were just blind, raging idiots with the collective brain-power of a lobotomized howler monkey.

Exhibit A: “If your neighbor’s got an “Obama ’08″ bumper sticker or lawn sign, you might want to double-check your door locks at night.”

Sentence: Deported to China for wearing red T-shirt.

Link (

Baby Teeth – Celebrity Wedding

Baby Teeth – Celebrity Wedding from Mayor Awesome on Vimeo.

I was goofing around one weekend, and made this video. I tried using Kinetic Typography in this video. It’s an unsolicited fan video. I used Illustrator to make the text and imported it into After Effects. And yes, that’s me dancing like a fool in the video.
I was goofing around one weekend, and came up with this. The song is called Celebrity Wedding by a swell bunch of guys that call themselves Baby Teeth(MySpaceLastFM). You can actually download the MP3 here. I’ve seen a bunch of these kinetic typography videos in music, movies, and I’ve seen a lot lately in commercials. Since the style has trickled down into the main stream media, it’s probably not cool anymore, but what the heck, it was fun.

First of, if you’re going to do this, make sure you have the lyrics exactly correct before you start anything. Going back later and changing text isn’t a HUGE deal (I’ll get to that later), but it’s a pain in the ass just the same. I emailed the band and asked them, but I was too stoked to do the project, I just listened to the song over and over until I could hear the words. For instance, the line: “Nursing all the old wounds of a Hollywood attaché” was actually: “Just another old ruins of a Hollywood out of shape.” and had to go back later and change it once I heard from the band.

So I’m going to do this in an ordered list just for those who might be trying to recreate this. To make this video, I used Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effects.

  1. First, get a font you like. I got mine from
  2. Get all your lyrics written down in notepad or something similar and paste it into Illustrator.
  3. Convert all of the text to outlines (Type->Create Outlines)
  4. The text will all be in one group so you’ll have to select it and ungroup it all.
  5. Now each letter will be its own group. You’ll have to go through each word, select all of the letters and group them, so each word is its own group. (Ctrl – G)
  6. You’ll want all of the words on their own layer now. So open up the layers menu. All of your words should be in Layer 1. Click the little drill down arrow and right click Layer 1.
  7. Click Options->Release to Layers->Sequence
  8. All of the words are now on their own layer, but they’re all within Layer 1. So select the first word, scroll down to the last word and select them all. Drag them out above Layer 1 so they’re outside of it. Now delete Layer 1
  9. Now you’ll have to lay the words out so they look nice and not in a paragraph.
  10. One note here: I found that importing the whole song into After Effects choked up my computer pretty good. I eventually had to cut/paste each stanza of the lyrics into its own Illustrator file (and oddly put it in its own directory, not sure why but it helped with the import). This way, when you’re animating the text later on in After Effects, you can do it piece by piece and your computer wont choke.
  11. So lay out your text so it looks nice. You’ll lay it out they way you want it to look when it’s done being animated.
  12. Go into After Effects and create a new composition that’s the same length as the music or source material you’re going to use.
  13. Import your Illustrator files one by one. And make sure you import them as Composition with Cropped Layers
  14. Now you’ll go into each composition and animate the words. Go about 15 frames into the composition and select all of the layers of words and hit P for position. Hit the stop watch icon to make a key frame and go back to the first frame.
  15. For each word, drag it out or away (preferably off the screen of the composition so they don’t show up before they’re ready to fly in and they appear to come in from off screen) from it’s initial position so it flies into place.
  16. You want the words to appear to ease in, so select the second keyframe of each word and right click. Select Keyframe Assistant->Easy Ease In. You’ll see they slow down as they come in.
  17. You’ll want to insert the audio into the composition at this point to get the timing of the words just right. This is the hardest part of the whole thing. You’ll have to adjust the timing of the animation so that words are in place at the same moment the voice says them. This involves a lot of previewing (Hit ’0′ on the keypad) and tweaking to get it just right. Make your workspace a reasonable size (the white bar on top of the timeline) for your previews. Take your time here and make sure everything is accurate to the frame. Drag the whole layer so the end point matches up.
  18. Once you have all of your compositions set up, you’ll want to go into your main composition and drop in all of the compositions. Make sure to remove the audio from each composition or turn it off so they’re not playing in the main comp.
  19. Another note: Make sure you have the Continually Rasterize option set on (looks like a /) so when you zoom in, the text appears smooth.
  20. Now you can go through and animate all of the comps. Make them visible only when they should be.
  21. This take a bit of tweaking, but you can set the position, scale, and rotation of each comp to create nice effects. You’ll have to play around with animating the anchor point to to get it to rotate at different points. This will take a little doing if you go this route. If you rotate the layer, move it and want to rotate it again, you’ll have to set a key frame just before you want to rotate it, go to the next frame, move the anchor point and adjust the position of the layer so it’s in the same position it was in before. You’ll have to eyeball this, but if you zoom in and flip between the frame before and the next frame you can do it.
  22. You’ll want to create keyframes on the composition so there are some points where the comp isn’t moving. This way you can actually read the text and it’s not always shifting around.
  23. Turn on motion blur.
  24. Make sure you import the audio into the main composition.
  25. That’s pretty much it. You should be able to make your own using those instructions. The dancing part of the movie is me in my kitchen. I hung up some red bedsheets and used them for a green screen. Here’s a link to apretty good tutorial that you can use. Have it open while you’re working and follow along, step by step.

    If you make a video using this method, I’d like to hear about it. Drop me a line.

    About changing the text after you’ve done all of this: You can go back into your Illustrator files and change things and the changes will propagate into your After Effects composition. You might have to go back and tweak the animation and you’ll have to re-render the file, but it’s not a huge pain in the butt.

Big Ideas (don’t get any)

Big Ideas (don’t get any) from James Houston on Vimeo.
From the author:

I’ve just graduated from the Glasgow School of Art’s graphic design course. This was my final project.


Radiohead held an online contest to remix “Nude” from their album – “In Rainbows” This was quite a difficult task for everybody that entered, as Nude is in 6/8 timing, and 63bpm. Most music that’s played in clubs is around 120bpm and usually 4/4 timing. It’s pretty difficult to seamlessly mix a waltz beat into a DJ set.

This resulted in lots of generic entries consisting of a typical 4/4 beat, but with arbitrary clips from “Nude” thrown in so that they qualified for the contest.

Thom Yorke joked at the ridiculousness of it in an interview for NPR radio, hinting that they set the competition to find out how people would approach such a challenging task.

I decided to take the piss a bit, as the contest seemed to be in that spirit.

Based on the lyric (and alternate title) “Big Ideas: Don’t get any” I grouped together a collection of old redundant hardware, and placed them in a situation where they’re trying their best to do something that they’re not exactly designed to do, and not quite getting there.

It doesn’t sound great, as it’s not supposed to.

I missed the contest deadline, so I’m offering it here for you to enjoy.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum – Guitars (rhythm & lead)
Epson LX-81 Dot Matrix Printer – Drums
HP Scanjet 3c – Bass Guitar
Hard Drive array – Act as a collection of bad speakers – Vocals & FX

Shouting at Disks Causes Latency

Here’s something I’ve experienced first hand and it was a head-scratcher to be sure. I was video taping a concert with my camera (Canon HG20) and after a while, it would freak out. It would complain of a buffer overflow. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? I asked myself. I was trying to trouble shoot it while loosing some really nice footage of a live concert. I downgraded the data rate on my camera for a while and broke out my phone in the mean time to try to figure out what was going on. I found this guy’s blog who had a similar problem. Basically, the noise from the concert was causing the hard drive to vibrate. The fellow on that blog theorized the drop sensor was kicking in, and causing the hard drive to park itself, and video to go into a buffer. It happened so much the buffer would fill up and the camera would have to stop recording. I tried turning off the drop sensor (in addition to lowering the data rate). It might have helped the situation a little bit, but it still happened. I think the only solution to recording a concert or loud event like that with a hard drive camera is to get some foam padding around the camera and cover everything up except the lens and get an external mic for the sound.

To demonstrate this theory, check out this video: