Monday, December 31, 2007

A scorching New Year

We're having extremely warm weather in Melbourne at the moment. To rub it in for people from the Northern hemisphere I mad this video the other day:

I think I'm being punished for it now - we're having one of the hottest New Year's Eves on record. It's been over 40 degrees Celsius (or 100 Fahrenheit) for most of the afternoon. And I can't remember the last time the humidity was so low. It feels like the moisture is being sucked out of my body every time I go outside.

I actually had an episode in a shop earlier when I went in to buy something. The shop assistant said the usual "How are you?" greeting and I tried to say "Fine," but all that came out was a strangled croak. I had to swallow a few times to create enough moisture in my throat to talk.

I don't really make New Year's resolutions. I suppose I could resolve to getting back to writing for this blog properly but I don't really need to. I'm going back to work on Jan 7th and that will put me back in the rhythm to write more regularly.

But it's interesting to look back on the year. My readership fairly exploded, thanks mainly to two posts, the Alli diet pill one and the "When insults had class" quotes. I've had a little bit of attention from media (which may still go somewhere - who knows?) My profile on YouTube has also gone through the roof since the gathering in Melbourne on December 1st.

So 2008 is looking interesting. I want to thank everyone who reads and comments regularly, it's that sort of contact that makes putting time into this blog worthwhile. I hope everyone has a great 2008 and hopefully I'll get to meet a few of you this year.

Stay safe!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The truth about UFOs

Every now and then I like to really blow the lid off a sensitive topic. UFOs: are they real? Is there a government cover-up? And perhaps the most important question of all:

What would the Japanese government do if Godzilla attacked?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Childhood memories

Sharp eyed viewers will good memories will have spotted tributes to XKCD cartoons in previous videos I have uploaded. The Christmas season had me thinking about what's different now compared to when I was a child.

You know how when you're a child everything seems so big and when you go back to visit places from your childhood things can seem so small? There's a particular XKCD comic that sums up how subjective our sense of size is and the difference in perspective that adulthood brings:

And there's a park I know that also illustrates the point perfectly. I shot this video to show what I mean:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Creatures of the night

Have you ever seen the movie "The Blair Witch Project"? That movies isn't scary. What happened to me the other night is scary.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas shopping

I'm having a small Christmas this year - I only have to buy presents for about half a dozen people. I come from a big family so if I happen to be having a family reunion type of Christmas that easily turns into a 30-40 present nightmare.

But the trouble with not having to buy many presents is a was lulled into a false sense of security. My complacency means I'm approaching Christmas Eve having done NO shopping. None. Zilch. Nada. My worst effort ever.

I've been spending extra time with my kids this week which has been great but it also means I haven't been able to dedicate any time to shopping. I thought I'd make a late rally tonight by going to the huge mall a couple of suburbs away that's having 24 hour trading. I waited until nearly midnight in the hope it would be relatively quiet.

It seemed like a good idea but the line for parking started about a kilometre away from the fucking mall! I turned around and came home. There's no way I'm putting up with that shit. Having to search for parking for an hour then dealing with huge crowds of desperate people does not mesh with my temperament.

There would have been blood on the walls.

This is going to require some creativity tomorrow. I wonder what people would think of handmade gifts hastily put together from twigs and leaves?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Nerds FTW!

I have had an extremely busy day on YouTube. Namely, I've been watching a mountain of response videos and laughing my arse off. When I issued my nerd-off challenge I kind of thought it would be popular but the YouTubers have gone nuts for it.

I got 17 video responses in the first 24 hours and many more people are promising to respond over the next few days. The claims for nerd superiority follow a few different paths but for me, the frontrunners fall into one of two categories. They either have MASSES of nerdish goodies (Magic the Gathering seems to figure prominently) or they have some incredible obscure and rare stuff.

Oh, and tattoos. Anyone who gets a really nerdy tattoo scores big with me. If you have the time, I recommend following this link and checking out the responses. They offer some amazing insights and some of them are downright hilarious.

After I uploaded the original challenge video a few people said they wanted to know what the prize was before they dived in. I figured this was fair enough - I probably should have decided on a prize before announcing the competition. So first thing this morning I put my thinking cap on and came up with some possible prizes. And also to prove this would be no easy competition, I made a video giving some more depth to my nerdiness.

It's going to take some sort of super-nerd to out-nerd me!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm a bigger nerd than you

A recent purchase has led me to believe I may actually be a (shock, horror) nerd! So much so that I've thrown out a challenge: can you out-nerd me?

And I really do promise to start writing longer pieces again.


Monday, December 17, 2007

The wisdom of the Blogging Bot From The Future

The Blogging Bot From The Future knows everything that will ever happen to you. Because he's from the future. But he won't tell you what happens because that's against the rules.

And everyone looks like this in the future. Don't ask. And everyone talks really fast too. Because it's the future. If you' can't understand him, that's because you're not from the future. Deal.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Leaving YouTube

Every now and then someone declares they're going to leave YouTube or at least take a break. There are many and varied reasons people give and, hey, what ever is a valid reason to you is a good reason. But what really pisses me off is when someone does a completely self-indulgent grab for attention so everyone will go "Oh no, don't leave, YouTube won't be the same without you - You're the heart and soul of YouTube."

You know what? There are a lot of reasons to get the shits with YouTube. Hell, if you enter "YouTube sucks" into Google you'll find my blog. And a couple of times when people have said they couldn't take certain aspects of YT any more I've encouraged them to take a break and if it ever felt right, come back when they were ready.

But I have no time at all for drama queens who throw a hissy fit because things don't work the way they want them to. They aren't getting the attention they feel they deserve so they throw a tantrum. The message these people send out is clear: you'd better tell me you love me! I'm standing on this ledge and I really mean it! I'll jump! This isn't just some self-indulgent grandstanding to get everyone's attention. I really, really mean it. I'm going to jump!

This post and the attached video are not about any one person, there are too many of these fucking idiots to name. But just for a laugh I'll tell you two people it's NOT about: TheHill88 and JustA11en. Only YouTube tragics like me will know those names.

TheHill88 (Caitlin) has announced she'll be retiring TheHill88 at the end of the year. She said it without drama and gives every indication of making a sincere decision. I got to talk to her at the Sydney YT launch party and she seems to be doing absolutely the right thing. For her. Everyone else needs to deal with it.

JustA11en (Allen) recently took a break. He needed time to think about what it really meant to be on YT and whether all the stupid shit was worth the effort. In his own time he decided to come back stronger than ever. But he didn't throw a hissy fit!

In simple terms, if you were planning to drop out of YT, either permanently or for a break, your regular viewers would want to know why. But this "me me me me me" bullshit pisses me off! So I needed to get my frustration out of my system the best way I know how. And I'm wearing my mask in this video - that's how you can tell how angry I am!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fuck Microsoft

Seriously. My next desktop is definitely going to be a Mac. probably one of those big screen iMacs. I was exposed to Windows Vista at a friend's place recently and there's no way I'm having that horror inflicted on me.

The following video may or may not be a factual account of what happened.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

What the hell is wrong with your face?

The title of this post is a reference to the single most stupid recurring comment I get on my YouTube videos. The Mr Angry mask seems to really confound some people. Some people really can't work out what it is (I'm consistently surprised by how many people think it's makeup or the markings are drawn directly onto my face) and others can't wrap their head around why I would wear a mask.

Before I started this blog I made the decision to keep it anonymous (as much as possible). The IT job market in Melbourne (where I work) is small, conservative and gossipy. I planned from start to write some fairly outrageous stuff and I figured some people might have trouble separating the character of Mr Angry from the "real" me.

That, and I thought people wouldn't want to talk to me if they thought they might end up as blog fodder. And who could blame them?

So it was simpler all around to blog anonymously. That worked well for a few months then I decided to complicate things by broadening the world of Mr Angry to encompass YouTube. When I was thinking about how to preserve some level of anonymity while making videos I went back for my college days.

I actually did a theatre degree back in the day (a few more years ago than I care to admit) which covered training in a range of performance styles including traditional Medieval mask work AKA Commedia dell'arte. While I was in one traditional play, a piece that always stayed with me was one done by another group where they used cheap plastic store-bought masks. Cutting the lower jaw out of these masks shows the actors' real mouths and has the effect of making something completely inanimate look incredibly alive.

And so Mr Angry was born. A cheap translucent mask (the visage is based on the actor Clark Gable for the trivia minded) has the jaw cut out and some angry lines drawn on. And the rest is some rather confusing history.

All of which is a slightly drawn out way of saying things are changing. When I organised a gathering for YouTube users in Melbourne I knew my cover would be blown. I had no intention of wearing the mask to a public gathering and so I knew there would end up being a lot of videos of me without a mask (although not as many as I expected - it seemed like there were only about 20 cameras at the gathering and I thought there would be closer to 100).

So, seeing as I was effectively unmasked I thought I'd make a "coming out" video. This was an explanation to any longer term viewers who didn't know my back story as well as an introduction to the thousand or so new subscribers that came my way courtesy of Mr Safety.

Who knows, even the old hands at this blog might learn something new.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More job interview shenanigans

Well, it looks like I might be starting a new job on Monday. I've been going through interviews and now there are two contenders who seem to want me so it's down to who makes the best offer.

I don't know if I'm getting mellower (wouldn't that be a terrible thing?) but the questions seem to be getting less stupid. Astute readers will know that my pet hate is being asked "what are your weaknesses?" Why do morons who ask that question think I'm going to honestly tell them something bad about myself?

Anyway, in this round of interviews one highlight stands out. The interview team were following a smart path as far as I'm concerned. After establishing my basic competence they spent more time focusing on whether they could stand to be around me rather than obsessing over technical details.

This is a small startup so one technical genius who happens to be an obnoxious fuck-up could destroy the company. Whereas a decent, intelligent human doesn't have to be a rocket scientist to make a positive contribution to the company. So we've progressed to a fairly relaxed, chatty stage of the interview when the CEO of the startup leans over to me and says (I swear I'm not making this up):

"Tell me about a time when you really fucked something up."

I like these guys.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Back on deck


I'm decompressing from the weekend. Two major events have come to pass. First, I finally got to meet one of my favourite people on YouTube; Cory Williams AKA MR Safety of SMP Films. Second was the gathering we organised for YouTube users and viewers to get together in Melbourne is finally over.

The first thing we did when Cory landed was make some videos even though he was jet lagged. We had fun playing up the stereotype that Americans don't know anything about Australia. This one is short and sweet:

This one has a longer set-up but is rapidly becoming the most popular video ever uploaded to my YouTube channel:

Cory's "endorsement" of me has meant a doubling of my subscriber numbers in a really short time frame which is both weird and incredibly gratifying to someone as vain as me. Anyway, I'll round off with my video from the gathering at the weekend. I'm almost sure I'm going to start writing regularly again tomorrow.

Oh, by the way, don't watch this video if you're easily shocked. I'm not wearing a mask!