I just pledged to help fund Dashkin, the upcoming Brackenwood Flash game by Adam Phillips (Flash animator and friend of a friend), and Sean McGee (fellow Flash developer). Please pledge at KickStarter.com:
After waiting over a decade for it to become available, I finally caved and paid the cyber-squatter who owned JoshMorgan.com the ransom.
Now if I ever find the time, I'm gonna update this site with the new domain...
[illustration by Mike Mitchell @ sirmikeofmitchell.com]
Conan's press release:
People of Earth:
In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky. That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.
Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over “The Tonight Show” in June of 2009. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching Johnny Carson every night and the chance to one day sit in that chair has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004, I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30 is impossible without both.
But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my “Tonight Show” in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.
Last Thursday, NBC executives told me they intended to move the “Tonight Show” to 12:05 to accommodate the “Jay Leno Show” at 11:35. For 60 years, the “Tonight Show” has aired immediately following the late local news. I sincerely believe that delaying the “Tonight Show” into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. The “Tonight Show” at 12:05 simply isn’t the “Tonight Show.” Also, if I accept this move I will be knocking the “Late Night” show, which I inherited from David Letterman and passed on to Jimmy Fallon, out of its long-held time slot. That would hurt the other NBC franchise that I love, and it would be unfair to Jimmy.
So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy hosting this program and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard, and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of “The Tonight Show.” But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction. Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet, a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the “Tonight Show,” I believe nothing could matter more.
There has been speculation about my going to another network but, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that NBC and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can do a show we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.
Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about my hair; it’s always been that way.
A comment from a visitor to my blog posted a link to this cool new TV ad for Shane Acker's 9:
It's great to see Focus Features is giving 9 a good marketing blitz comparable to their other recent releases.
UPDATE: It turns out the comment was posted by Justin Boreta from the band The Glitch Mob, whose remix of the TV on the Radio song "Red Dress" is featured in the above 9 ad. I'm a huge fan of TVotR, and this TGM remix is very fitting for the ad. Thanks for the tip, Justin!
One of my favorite indie rockers, Jeff Hanson, was found dead on Friday in his new concrete-floored apartment of an apparent accidental fall, reports the St. Paul, Minnesota Star Tribune (via The Onion A.V. Club).
I was first introduced to Jeff Hanson's music by fellow UCLA Animator, Lena Podesta, who used Hanson's song "Just Like Me" for her film Dead Girl + Live Boy. I was blown away by the delicate vocals so I asked Lena, "who's the chick that does the song for your film?" but Lena corrected me and said "believe it or not, it's a dude" and she lent me Hanson's debut solo CD Son, which is one of my all-time favorites.
Jeff Hanson's death reminds me of Elliott Smith, who also died at a tragically young age, though Hanson did not have the life-long battle with drugs and depression that plagued Smith, and Hanson's death was probably an accident while Smith's was ruled a suicide. Still, Hanson and Smith had very similar guitar and vocal styles and they were both talented musicians, playing almost all of the instruments on the albums they each recorded for the indie label Kill Rock Stars.
MTV.com just released an exclusive clip from 9 that features my favorite character in the film: a sewing snake-like beast that Shane dubbed "the Seamstress." Throughout production, I kept begging for more Seamstress, and now to see it fully animated and rendered, it gives me chills. It's so exciting because I got to hobnob with the storyboard artists while they were boarding and re-boarding this sequence, watching it evolve up until the last year of production, and apparently Shane has added a little twist to the sequence since that last time I saw it. I can't wait to see what other surprises are in the final film. 09/09/09 is just a few months away...
Barack Obama: 3
G.W. Bush, et al: 0
Actually, this chart conveniently leaves off Thomas Jefferson, who waged war against the "Barbary states", which supported pirates, so presumably pirates were killed because of Jefferson's actions.
Still, the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips by US Navy SEAL snipers is clearly a victory for Obama that is rare among US Presidents.
I'm nearing my own birthday in a few days (the dreaded dirty thirty), but today, February 12th, is the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution through natural selection is easily one of the greatest discoveries in the history of human knowledge.
In celebration of Darwin Day 2009, my fellow Americans should watch the Nova special about the debate surrounding evolution in America called Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial on the PBS website. I especially recommend Chapter 6, which explains the difference between the common everyday use of the term "theory" (which implies unsupported "speculation") versus a scientific theory (which, according to the National Academy of Sciences, is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment"). Chapter 6 also presents one of the most compelling facts to support human evolution: the existence of vestigial centromeres and telomeres in Chromosome 2.
Sadly, 150 years after the first publication of Darwin's seminal book On the Origin of Species, many Americans still refuse to accept evolution as fact despite the (literally) mountains of evidence to support Darwin's theory. I spent last Thanksgiving arguing with a family friend who defiantly dismissed evolution as "just a theory" despite my futile attempts to educate her. She, like so many Americans, defies rationality and reason by subscribing to the so-called "Intelligent Design" theory, which is hardly a theory at all because it cannot be confirmed through observation and experiment nor can it make any predictions about the natural world. Evolution, however, has been confirmed over and over with each new piece of genetic and fossil evidence (e.g. Tiktaalik) and it can make accurate predictions about the natural world (i.e. Chromosome 2).
Happy Birthday Charles Darwin!!!
Free-thinking YouTuber TheraminTrees created this brilliant metaphoric animation, which really resonates with my own personal experience:
I like TheraminTrees' use of speech bubbles, especially when the dad's bubble silences the kid.
The cupboard metaphor works quite nicely, especially the part when the kid follows the exact word of the "instruction manual" only to discover he's built something unbalanced and dysfunctional. Clearly, people pick and choose instructions from their manuals (scriptures) to construct cabinets (world-views/moralities) that are most practical for their own needs, and yet they pass judgment against others who find different interpretations from the same manual or follow a different manual altogether.
What a wonderfully diverse the world would be if everyone chose to build their cupboards according to universal design fundamentals and were free to express themselves adorn their cupboards with their own personal decoration?! I chose long ago to put my Bible (and its antiquated rules) away and to instead live my life according to the fundamental "Golden Rule" of reciprocity (which is universal to all major religions and has been the foundation of ethics long before Jesus said "love thy neighbor").