Capn Design

February 2005

This month I posted 27 entries, listened to 738 songs, watched 3 videos and took 17 photos.

The S710a is Coming

Posted February 28, 2005

Tomorrow morning, I will receive my s710a from Cingular. I am super excited to a) have a phone that works and b) I'm going love. I'll give you the full update tomorrow night when I have some time to play with it. If you can't wait, read Matt's review of the s700i, the European version.

Update (3/1/05): It is here and it is awesome. I'm still trying to iron out issues with sending emails, but I'll give you a full report after I have some time to play with all of the features.

Halle Berry Accepts Worst Actress Award in Person

She brought her agent on stage and said, "next time read the script first" [via waxy]

Mermaid Dresses and Predictable Winners

Posted February 28, 2005

I'll definitely talk about the winners, but I must first point out that virtually every single woman who appeared on stage was wearing a mermaid dress. Is that its real name? Prolly not, but they were flared at the bottom and strapless so I gave it a catchy name. And while I'm talking about fashion, was it opposite day in the hair department? There was way too much bleached blonde out there. But I digress.

Generally, I'm happy with the winners tonight. I was happy to see Born into Brothels win as it has something of a personal connection. My only real disappointment was that House of Flying Daggers didn't win cinematography. The plot put me to sleep, but it was one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen.

In regards to Chris Rock, I'd take him every year. He was funny without being cheesy. I loved the "man on the street" bit when he talked to real people about their favorite movies. I wouldn't mind just watching that for three hours next year. I guess that's kinda like the People's Choice Awards, but less stupid.

Most importantly, I highly recommend watching awards shows with Tivo. I watched the whole thing in a little over a hour and a half. I guarantee your butt is number than mine.

I'm on the Bandwagon

Posted February 23, 2005

After last night's win over the Heat, I am officially on the Chicago Bulls bandwagon.

For those who don't care about NBA basketball, I'm assuming that's most of us, the Bulls have been completely abismal since their last NBA championship in 1998. In fact, January 24th was the first time the Bulls had a winning record in six years. You can see why I haven't cared until now.

So, with the Bears coming off a crappy year and the Cubs looking like they could be significantly worse this season, I'm hoisting my Chicago pride on the Bulls for now. That could chance come April, when the Cubs get crankin', but for now I'm rooting for my boys, Hinrich and Gordon.

Oh, and if there was a hockey season this year, I probably wouldn't have mentioned the Blackhawks at all. Sorry Canada.

Screw Choice

Posted February 22, 2005

While visiting Robbie in Toronto this weekend, I visited close to ten book and music stores. They varied in size and scope -- some were clones of Barnes & Nobles while others were little mom and pop outfits -- and I took notice of the amount of time I spent in each. I was spending significantly more time in the smaller shops than the large ones. While in a new city, I didn't need to have every book on the planet, just a select group of really good ones.

After some more thought, I wondered why I need these brick and mortar superstores at all. If I am looking for a specific book or album, I can go online and likely get it for cheaper and without stepping out into the frigid New York winter. I want an experience when I decide to spend time in a bookstore. In other words, I want more than a warehouse filled with endless rows of The Davinci Code; I want a store that will give me a unique perspective.

The first store that struck me was Penguin Music. It was a small, out-of-the-way shop in a hip shopping district. There were probably only a couple thousand albums out and only one person, the owner, manning the store. While there, I listened to a few different albums that I found interesting and the owner actually had a conversation with me, which is rare even at small stores these days. Another great record shop was Soundscapes, which offered 15-20 CDs in listening stations that were seemingly handpicked, instead of being filled with payola selections like Tower Records. As a result of these, I bought three CDs.*

The best example of quality over quantity was Nicholas Hoare, a Canadian bookseller. I fell in love when I walked in, as every book was showing its cover as opposed to its spine. The store was a good size, but by displaying books in this way they probably lost anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3 of the space they'd have otherwise, resulting in an incredibly pleasing browsing experience. Instead of seeing a rainbow-colored row of spines, I could clearly see book titles and jacket art. Also, the staff was approachable and there was plenty of room to sit down and read a book for a little while. If the books hadn't been signifcantly cheaper in the US, I would have walked home with half a dozen instead of just one. (I'd also definitely recommend Pages Bookstore.)

Stores like the ones I've mentioned make me yearn for a resurgence of smaller stores with better, not larger, selections. I can't see it happening in Little Farm Town, Iowa, but I wouldn't be surprised if big cities start rejecting warehouse stores once online shopping become completely ubiquitous. Okay, I would be a little surprised, but I would just love a little more diversity and some folks who can help me wade through the nonstop assault of information that comes my way these days. Please, help me filter.

*Final Fantasy, LCD Soundsystem, Black Mountain

Font Leech

A free font blog

Jason is Doing Full-Time

He's asking for donations in lieu of advertising and I've already contributed.

Google Cheatsheet

Some good tricks

Canon Digital Rebel XT

Wow, I want this now. I don't need it, but that doesn't matter, right? [via engadget]

I'm a Traveling Fool

Posted February 15, 2005

On Friday, I leave for Toronto to visit my friend Robbie. I have never been before, so if you have any suggestions for food, sights or otherwise, I would be very appreciative.

On March 9th, I'm going to Israel with work. I have only been once and we're going to have a chance to check out all of our various projects. I'm excited and I know I'll take a ridiculous amount of pictures. Although the trip won't cost me anything, I think I'm going to have to buy another battery and CF card for my camera.

Speaking of work, it's been nutty lately. I do have some plans for the blog though. I'm going to become an mp3 blog for either a week or a month, I can't decide. Either way, I'm working out the setlist now. Also, a redesign is in the works. It's completely in my head, but it'll be happening sometime in the next few months. I owe my lady a site first, though.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled silence.

My Interview with Brendan Benson
Spaceballs: The TV Show

Here is my guarded excited. Could be awesome/horrible. [via boing boing]

Only in New York vol. 1

Posted February 10, 2005

Today I saw a man playing Hava Nagila on his steel drums to a listless set of subway travelers waiting for their trains.

Collaborative Music Ranking

Posted February 10, 2005

After browsing through the results of this year's Pazz & Jop Poll, I started thinking about the best way to do collaborative ranking. What system will provide you with the most accurate results?

The Voice chose a system that gives the participating critics a fair amount of freedom. Each entry divides 100 points among ten albums, with the maximum for any one album being thirty points and the minimum being five.

In this system, I can choose to give a lot of points to a couple artists and stiff the rest with five points. Craig Marks (Blender) is an example of someone who did this. Another option is giving every album equal weight, like Sia Michel, (Spin). Personally, I think this method is a cop-out, but that could be a whole other conversation. Stephen Thompson (The Onion) decided to give sequential values for each album (as you go down in the list, a point is dropped). Finally, you could defy a specific convention, like Greg Kot (Chicago Tribune), and carefully doll out points among your ten albums.

Without a doubt, this freedom makes each lists unique, but does it give the most accurate tallies? If you were to switch to a standard ranking system (#1 album gets 10 points, #10 album gets 1, or something), would the results change much? I would love to grab all of this data and try it out.

What's more interesting is what it would mean if the rankings are almost the same. Does that mean that all of the different ranking techniques cancel each other out? I would love to hear what James Surowiecki, the author of The Wisdom of Crowds, has to say about this.

There is likely one system that is more telling than any other, but I haven't a clue what that is. Also, each system would tell a different side of the story (which album was the most talked about, which was the favorite, etc.). If we were to use a number of different systems on the same set of data, looking at the results of each side by side would likely provide a pretty good answer.

That being said, if anyone's willing to figure out how to get the data out then I'll run the numbers and see how the lists compare. I might try to email the Voice to see if they'd let me give it a shot. Let me know if you have any pull.

National Lampoon's Blackball Will Be in Theaters on Friday and on DVD on Tuesday

That's crazy. This movie must be horrid.

Village Voice's Pazz and Jop Results

Kanye and Brian Wilson top the albums while Franz and Jay-Z top the singles

Tivo Looks at the Most Watched Commercials/Moments of the Superbowl

[via engadget]

The Thin Line Between Movies and Games

Posted February 8, 2005

Once again, I'm drawn back into the world of converging mediums. While reading this NYT article on movies and video games I started to think about the problems with product tie-ins. It's nothing all that earth-shattering, but I feel it needs to be said.

Not every game should be a movie and not every movie should be a game.

There, I said it. It's off my chest. Knowing I shared this with you will make me feel better if Disney ever releases an Armageddon video game, as the NYT article suggests. I am all for sharing ideas between mediums and capitalizing on a successful brand, but no one wants to see Ben Affleck in a side-scrolling shooter. No one.

If you are making a game from your movie purely for promotional reasons, just don't. I can pretty much guarantee it's going to suck. If you want to make a movie out a successful video game franchise, please be wary. Everyone has a place in their heart for Mairo and Luigi but it's tough to say you sincerely liked the movie.

There are always exceptions to the rule. The first Resident Evil movie was entertaining in its own right and everyone seems to think the Spider-man video games are quite good (I've yet to play them). Still, I will always be skeptical of these crossover products.

One aspect that has yet to be done, which could be very cool, is a movie/game development that is done at the same time. The Wachowski brothers tried to do this with the Matrix sequels, but both the games and the movies were underwhelming. Another attempt was .hack, which was both a multi-part video game and tv show. Unfortunately, that wasn't as great as most had hoped.

I'd love to see a great game development studio team with with a movie production team to brainstorm from the get-go. Movies and games are unique mediums with unique benefits and exploits, which is why shaping plot and character before developing either will help integrate the two. Each aspect may not be able to stand up on its own, but it would provide an experience and tie-in that no one else has been able to create.

ESPN Interviews Malcolm Gladwell About Sports and his New Book, Blink
Interview with Roger Black, Magazine Design Guru
Nintendo to Open Retail Store in NYC
Rock and Roll Fonts

Fonts uses in band logos [via west wash]

NFL Network Will Air Every Super Bowl Ad Back-to-Back Immediately Following the Game

They say that will happen around 10pm

Defective Yeti's State of the Union Commentary

Funny, poignant

PSP Will be Available March 24th for $250

Boo. At $200 I would have bought it, but the extra $50 is tough to swallow [via engadget]

The Baxter

A new movie from Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer, the State)

Some Music Notes

Posted February 2, 2005

Get it? Music notes? Oh man, I am hilarious.

1. Music Magazines

As of today I subscribe to three music magazines: Spin, Rolling Stone and Blender. I recently subscribed to the last two due to ridiculously low prices at After reading the three most recent issues in my position over the last two days, I'm ready to crown one of them as my favorite.

Blender was by far the most interesting. Despite having a ton of half-naked influence from its evil step-brother, Maxim, it manages to have smart writing and interesting articles. I loved reading about how Led Zeppelin created the song "Black Dog". Rolling Stone was good, but had a little too much fluff. They have solid writing but are a bit too mainstream for me. Spin has totally dropped the ball. The people who work there are all really nice and talented people, but the magazine lacks cohesiveness. It's all over the place. The only article I found mildly interesting was their "Ten Records You Haven't Heard from 2004" article. Making matters worse, their website is a joke. Do it right or don't do it at all.

Another magazine I have been enjoying but don't subscribe to is Paste. It doesn't really cover any one genre, but it's really entertaining.

2. Spring is Looking Good

I've just noticed that there are a ton of great records coming out over the next four months. Instead of listing them all here, I made a ta-da list. I'm sure this is only half of what I'll buy, which means I'll be poor very soon.

3. I Miss My Car

I'm listening to Weezer's Pinkerton right now and I'm really missing my car. When you ride the subway with your iPod, it's a little tough to be singing along at the top of your lungs. I wonder if anyone would notice? I could do it at home but I have two roommates. I could do it at work, but I'm pretty sure I'd be fired. And thus, I am without a place to belt out "The Good Life". If you know of a good spot, bring it on.


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