Goodbye, Instagram. Hello again, Flickr.

Hello, Flickr my dear. I've missed you.

Hello, Flickr my dear. I’ve missed you.

Earlier this week, the Internet was abuzz with news of new terms of service from Instagram. At first glance, the new terms seemed to indicate that Instagram could sell user photos as stock photography, without compensation to the user. It probably wasn’t that simple, as the legalese of the new terms was unclear, but users balked, and eventually Instagram backed down.

My personal guess was that the stunt was an attempted rights grab. Instagram was trying to see what it could get away with without anyone noticing. However, it’s also possible it was just a legal PR blunder, of the breed we Internet-heads see every couple of months these days. Either way, it boils down to the fact that nobody trusts Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, with rights or privacy anymore.

I liked Instagram. It was extremely simple to use. The social network aspect was also clean and simple. I’m even a defender of the often-derided overused photo filters. Yeah, few people could truly make magic happen with the photo tools, but that’s the nature of, well, everything.

Yet in the midst of the rights kerfuffle, I deleted my Instagram account. I didn’t wait to see if the company would revise their stance, nor did I give them the benefit of the doubt. I just up and killed the account.

Why? I had a few reasons: Continue Reading →

Butt-Numb-a-Thon 2012

BNAT 2012

Eric “Superfly” Burgess, myself, and Brian Day outside the Alamo Drafthouse after being in a movie theater for over 24 hours.

The Butt-Numb-a-Thon film event is part sheer unadulterated glee, part gruelling endurance test. First, you have to apply to attend, and then hope desperately that you make it in. Then, assuming all goes well, you arrive at the theater at noon on one day, and exit sometime after noon on the next day. In between, Harry Knowles just shows you stuff. You don’t know what he’s going to show you. It might be a sneak premier. It might be a vintage film. It might be awesome. It might be horrible. You don’t know. You just need to summon all your zen powers and enjoy the rollercoaster ride.

Butt-Numb-a-Thon 2012, aka BNAT 14, is the 11th BNAT I’ve attended. I’m one of the lucky few to be invited back year after year, but I honestly never want to take that for granted. I consider the event my Christmas, where I spend a weekend in Austin, TX with my cinematic family. I’m lucky to be part of a large group of Minnesotans that also get to attend every year (and who are the original reason I was first able to attend the event), and this is the event where I actually get to spend time with them. Thanks to BNAT, this group of friends has expanded to include people who live all over the country and all over the world.

So, I love BNAT, and deeply thank Harry Knowles for turning his birthday into an amazing event that actually gives back to everyone who attends.

Continue Reading →

Butt-Numb-a-Thon 14 Prelude and Aftermath

Moose and I are at #BNAT14!I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’m still recovering from my trip to Austin. A lot went on, it was pretty much all awesome, and I had very, very little sleep.

I’ll tackle BNAT itself and the Open Windows movie shoot in separate posts (mostly because my notes are still hiding somewhere in my camera bag), but I have tales to tell/photos to show about the swirl of events that cropped up around BNAT this year.

You’ll probably notice that most of the items below are centered around eating establishments. That’s because you eat in Austin. You eat a lot. Continue Reading →

Review: Les Miserables (2012 Movie)

Les-mis

Before you ask: no, this wasn’t the secret film at the Butt-Numb-a-Thon this year. I just was lucky enough to be in the room with an Oscar screener during my recent travels.

The gigantic Victor Hugo book Les Miserables has had a long history of adaptation. Aside from the massively popular musical/opera that has been filling theaters since 1980, a film adaptation seems to crop up every couple of decades or so. This time, the musical itself has been turned into a film, which should be hitting theaters a week from now, on Christmas Day.

The opera, like the book, is a daunting project to adapt. The theater spectacle is a massive endeavor involving a large ensemble cast, 50 songs, a rotating stage, and something like 4 hours of runtime. The storyline covers several decades of French history. Performers are required to have tremendous talent both as actors and as vocalists.

Continue Reading →

Meghan made me adorable!

One of the many amazing people I’ve met through Butt-Numb-a-Thon is artist Meghan Murphy, the pink-haired madwoman behind the Kawaii Not webcomic. She is a creator of unreasonably adorable visual arts as well as a film geek and a generally nifty person.

Every once in a while, she offers custom avatar design, so you can sport an unreasonably adorable image of yourself on the Internet. I finally had some cash to spare when she opened up one of her avatar offers, so I splurged a little.

Behold, this is me as Queen of the Road, by way of Frankenstein’s navigator from Death Race 2000:

…and here I am as Queen of the Lizard People:

In real life, could be buried in an avalanche of puppies and still not be this adorable.

If you envy my adorableness, Meghan is running a $20 custom avatar offer right now. (And if you reach this post after the offer closes, just watch Kawaii Not for week or two. Her avatar offers re-open pretty frequently.)