Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pink Floyd For A New Generation

Growing up I remember the release of Pink Floyd’s The Wall and listening to that album over and over again.  I never saw the group perform it live, but from what I’ve heard (and seen on YouTube) it was spectacular.  One particular song that was visually stunning was the album’s climax, “The Trial”.  Throughout the concert, a giant white brick wall stood, towering over the performers, at the back of the stage.  For “The Trial”, it becomes a giant screen on which is projected the animated story in Imax fashion.  (The sequence is the same as was shown in the movie version.)  At the end of the song the entire wall comes crumbling down onto the stage.  Entertaining and spectacular!

Also, entertaining, if not as spectacular, is another “live” performance of “The Trial” which features Sesame Street’s Elmo as the Judge, a couple of teddy bears as the Schoolmaster and the Mother, and other dolls and action figures in various roles.  I am talking about the performance posted on YouTube of 4-year-old Tristan singing the song himself while acting out the parts in puppet show fashion.  Tristan begins by introducing the toy actors and explains that he will be telling the story of a trial.  Next, this cute boy starts singing the classic Pink Floyd song.  At first he mumbles a lot of the words, pauses often and you have to listen closely to figure it out, but bear with it, for the real payoff comes in last minute and a half of the video.

The first thing that came to mind as I started watching this video was the beginning of the second verse.  In the first line, the lyrics contain the slang term for excrement.  Was this boy actually going to sing that line accurately?  Would Tristan’s mother actually post a video of her 4-year-old cussing on YouTube?  Well, when the time came there was a convenient skip in the video which picks up midway through the line, after the word in question.  Way to go Mom, using your “Movie Maker” skills to keep the mystery alive.  (Doesn’t matter.  We know you said it, Tristan.)

As mentioned before, the highlight of this video for me has to be when Tristan sings the part of the Judge.  He picks up a karaoke microphone, which gives his voice a booming, reverberating quality.  He becomes really intense as he sings about his disgust with Pink, eventually turning his vehemence toward his brother Dylan, who falls backwards as Tristan glares at him, yelling “Tear Down the Wall!”  Each repetition of the command sends Dylan squirming as he tries to retreat further and further into the carpet in an effort to back away from “Judge” Tristan.

There are many other gems, as you can see for yourself in the video below, like Tristan singing the chorus (“Crazy.  Toys in the attic, I am crazy.”) or brother Dylan interrupting the show halfway through.  Next up, I would like see Tristan sing “Young Lust”.

In Bachelor News . . .

This week the moment I’ve been waiting for finally happened on ABC’s The Bachelor, Michelle was sent packing.  Almost from the beginning, this girl was nothing but annoying.  She believed that she was the only girl for Brad and that she couldn’t see anyone else with him.  Sure, you would expect every contestant might think that, but Michelle had a way of expressing it that just oozed with arrogance.  Furthermore, she was manipulative, sneaking time with Brad when she should have been minding her own business.  And what did she use this time for?  Listing out to Brad in what order he should eliminate the other girls.  And the annoyances with Michelle go on, as you know if you’ve been watching this season.

I knew that she wasn’t going to end up in the final two.  What I wasn’t sure about was just how long she was going to last.  Every week I hoped would be her last, yelling at Brad (well, the TV actually) when he kept her that he was an idiot.  Finally, Monday night he wizened up and let her go.  For once, I actually wanted to hear what Michelle had to say.  I was all prepared for her tirade.  I wanted to laugh as she chewed Brad out to his face.  I wanted to see her spew her insults in the limo.  But what did I get instead?  The silent treatment!  Other than a “No” here and there to Brad’s invitations to “talk”, Michelle didn’t say a word.  In the limo she laid down and stared blankly into space.  I felt ripped off!  I felt cheated!  Where’s that crazy woman when you want her?

In post show interviews, Michelle has stated that she and Brad did talk and that she wished him well, but the producers of The Bachelor decided not to show that conversation on television.  In past seasons I would have believed this statement and earnestly defended it, simply because it is most likely true.  But this season I want to play the role of the naive viewer who believes everything I am seeing is as it happened and am holding out hope that Brad will find true love and live happily every after, just like all the other bachelors and bachelorettes before him.  (Well, one, at least.)  So, in that spirit I say . . .

Boo, Michelle!  Go home!  We’re glad you’re gone!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

House Hunting

I have always prided myself on my research skills and have often been surprised at some of the things I am able to find out.  Sometimes I like the challenge of finding information that is obscure or buried deep.  I had the opportunity to do exactly that over the past couple of days.

Hopie and I enjoy watching several reality television shows and one in particular follows the lives of several people who live in an area she is familiar with.  As a way of introducing a particular character, the show often presents a shot of the front of her house.  Hopie always liked this particular house and wondered what part of town it was located in.  So, we decided to go on the hunt.

This past week the show shot several scenes in the neighborhood that surrounds the home.  From the scenes we could see the type of architecture in the neighborhood and a playground that had some easily identifiable equipment.  However, we needed more.  So Hopie kept her eyes open for any signs or text that might give us a clue as to where this neighborhood was located.  If you watch any of these shows you know they go to great lengths to blur out anything that might be used to track someone or result in legal issues.  Still, we were lucky enough to find an unblurred street sign in the background and freeze the scene.  The sign was partially obscured, but we were able to make out “ewis”.  I assumed the name of the road was “Lewis”.

Next we went to Google maps and typed in Lewis and the city we believed it was located in.  The search produced several results, such as Lewis Ave., Lewis LN, Lewis St., etc..  We clicked on each one and, using the aerial imagery provided by Google, tried to see if we could identify any parks.  One hit not only showed a park, but also listed the park’s name.  Next, we dragged the little person icon onto the street to access Google’s street view.  This is a handy tool that gives you a 360 degree view the surrounding area from street level, as though you were actually standing right there.  Panning around we looked at the park.  The equipment looked similar to what we saw on the show.  Next, I tried to position myself in relation to the “Lewis LN” street sign to match the camera angle in the show.  Both Hopie and I agreed that this was definitely the neighborhood.

So, we had the general location.  Now we needed the specific house.  We started by pulling up the Property Appraiser’s website for the area.  Searching by street we could pull up all the addresses and some basic information about them, such as owner.  We thought this was a long shot, but we perused the information for the four or five streets near the park.  As we suspected, none of them listed a name that was familiar to us.  The next step was good old fashion “footwork,” but with a modern tech twist.  Hopie began to walk the streets looking for a house that matched the one we saw on television.  She did this by clicking in the Google street view window and panning around.  Eventually, she found it.  Now that we knew where it was, we could go to sites like and Zillow to find out some information about the residence, such as when it had been bought and sold, for how much and what it is currently worth.

Is there any point to this or any lessons to be learned?  Not really.  Hopie and I were just proud of our results and found the whole thing interesting.  And if you ever wanted to some of your own “House Hunting”, we though we would give you some helpful hints.

Happy researching!
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