Entries from February 2010 ↓

Jigg A Sketch.


That’s a Limited Edition Jay Z Etch A Sketch Artwork, above, as rendered by George Vlosich III, of GV Art and Design. (You may recall seeing him on Oprah, earlier this week.)

The giclee print is 1 of 20. Says Vlosich, in his somewhat emphatic style,

A giclee is the highest quality print available. Printed on textured paper, it shows the detail of each line. (16″x 20″) Signed by artist. Only 20 of these have been created. A must have for any collector. No matter what you have in your collection, George’s work will be the most talked about piece.

There’s also “a limited number (1 of 50) digital prints (12″×16″),” but that’s strictly for non-ballers. Jay-Z  Etch A Sketch Giclée Print, $325. Digital Print, $85.

Take a Look at the Real Set of Avatar.


At this point, millions have visited the glowing world of Pandora, in director James Cameron’s Avatar. The highest grossing film in history, with nearly $2.5 billion earned worldwide, it is, as of this past weekend, still the third-most popular film in the U.S., and has been nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

avatarWhat fewer have seen, however, is the real glimmering world of Avatar, namely, the humming, 10,000 square-foot server farm at WETA Digital, in Miramar, New Zealand, above, where the film’s photo-realistic images, above right, were wholly generated. The system literally “occupies spots 193 through 197 on the Top 500 list of the most powerful supercomputers.

As reported on datacenterknowledge.com,

Thirty four racks comprise the computing core, made of 32 machines each with 40,000 processors and 104 terabytes of memory. Weta systems administrator Paul Gunn said that heat exchange for their servers had to be enclosed. The “industry standard of raised floors and forced-air cooling could not keep up with the constant heat coming off the machines,” said Gunn. “We need to stack the gear closely to get the bandwidth we need and, because the data flows are so great, the storage has to be local.”

By the time the production was in its

last month or more of production those 40,000 processors were handling 7 or 8 gigabytes of data per second, running 24 hours a day. A final copy of Avatar equated to 17.28 gigabytes per minute of storage.

That’s. A. Big. File. Imagine if someone accidentally deleted it.

Jay-Z Tells All About Beyonce…That Is, Tells All You Need To Know, Nosey.


O.K.: In fact, he wasn’t actually all that forthcoming, which should be expected at this point, right?

But, as someone who’s interviewed Jay-Z on TV before, what’s extremely cool to me about his humorous chat with the BBC’s Jonathan Ross—of Friday Night with… fame—is watching Jigga’s charm on open display.

As Mr. Carter parries with the chummy Brit, endlessly deferring Ross’s faux-friendly entreaties, his timing is impeccable, with each pause and sideways glance as perfectly placed as they are in his raps. Indeed, it’s a whole performance, yet a good part of it is silent.

But what most dawns on this writer as I watch the clip is that Jay didn’t merely become “the biggest rapper on the planet,” as the show’s web site notes, by clever alliterations, a clothing line, or, again, marrying one of music’s biggest stars.

In part, he did it by being a nice guy. Which sounds like a cliché, until you think of the fact that, in a field whose artists are lampooned for their ice grills, he smiles more than almost anybody. Now, laught at that.

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Still Greedy, Still No Good: In New Teaser for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Gordon Gekko Shows He’s Still Got A Lot of Lizard In Him.


wall_street_money_never_sleeps_ver2What absolutely thrills me about the teaser for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, right, Oliver Stone’s follow-up to his 1987 classic, Wall Street, are two hilarious sight gags that take place near the 1:00 mark. Both have to do with the release of corporate raider Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) from prison. (Lovers of the first film, below right, know that it ended with Gekko’s protegé, Bud Fox [Charlie Sheen], turning over information to the Feds that would put Gekko away for a long time.)

Of course, the short’s best visual effect—Douglas’ nearly quarter-century older face—isn’t one, and in a powerful close-up, above, Stone and the actor put it to tremendous use, to convey both the unrecoupable passage of years, Gekko’s great humiliation, and his desire for infinitely lucrative revenge.

wall_street_filmOne of the most fascinating aspects of revisiting definitive works is learning, as one inevitably does, how fungible they were when created. Few, now, could imagine anyone but Michael Douglas as the oily and sinister Gekko, and, ultimately, Douglas was given an Academy Award for his portrayal.

But as noted in Wikipedia, referencing James Riordan’s Stone: A Biography of Oliver Stone and other sources,

the studio wanted Warren Beatty to play Gekko but he was not interested. Stone initially wanted Richard Gere but the actor passed, so the director went with Douglas despite having been advised by others in Hollywood not to cast him. Stone remembers, “I was warned by everyone in Hollywood that Michael couldn’t act, that he was a producer more than an actor and would spend all his time in his trailer on the phone”. But the director found out that “when he’s acting he gives it his all”. The director says that he saw “that villain quality” in the actor and always thought he was a smart businessman.

In Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Shia LeBoeuf co-stars as Jacob “Jake” Moore, a Wall St. trader on the come-up, engaged to Gekko’s daughter, Winnie (Carey Mulligan). From the looks of things, this apparently gives Gekko more than usual parental concerns. Check out the teaser, then the trailer, below.

Also, as a special bonus, watch the original trailer for the first film, also below. When you do, keep an eye out for the very first, brief image after the logo and, realize, yes, that was a different world.

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Wow: I Guess I Was Completely Wrong About Tiger’s Apology.

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Last week on MEDIA ASSASSIN, I did a brief analysis of Tiger Woods’ press conference apology. Though, admittedly, Woods’ recitation of his written statement was wooden and lacked warmth, I judged that, in his words, he took appropriate responsibility for what he’d done, and spoke to the need for personal change.

Well, boy was I wrong! As this piece of video from the event reveals, above, there was more to Tiger’s talk than meets the eye or ear. Wow. How did he fool us all again?

[via brokencool.com]

The “I”s Have It: What Tiger Woods Really Said At His Press Conference.


You don’t have to go very far into reading the text of Tiger Woods’ apologetic press conference statement, made earlier today, to realize that either he, his handlers, or both, knew the word the disgraced athlete needed to say most, in order to win back public trust, was “I.”

However, it’s only with a textual analyisis of the statement, such as the one I put together, above, courtesy of IBM’s Many Eyes software, that it becomes clear how much Woods was relying on conveying a repentant, personal account.

He used the pronoun “I” 105 times in the short, 13 1/2-minute statement, or an average of about once ever eight seconds. Looking at his most common subjective couplet, “I have,” below—said 16 times—it appears that Woods was attempting to forge an empathetic bond with those listening to his statement by affirming the words they had probably said about him in his absence: You bitterly disappointed us…you brought this on yourself.


Or check out Woods second-most frequently-used couplet, “I am,” below, where he talks about his present state.


Finally, study Tiger’s mentions of his wife’s name, Elin, and the complimentary contexts within which Woods praised her.


Verbally, at least, it seems like Woods knew what he had to say about what he did, how he feels about it, and how he feels about his wife. These were the most important statements for him to make, it can be argued. (He certainly seemed to think so: He only mentioned “golf” twice.)

Though you heard it, and read it in the statement, the Many Eyes software, with this straightforward formatting, creates a slightly better sense of how Woods’ words were organized, and to what end. Indeed, IBM calls Many Eyes “a bet on the power of human visual intelligence to find patterns.”

Funny: That’s what Woods has got to apply, now, towards his own transgressive behavior and missteps.

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A Fly Girl: In Her New Ad, Gretchen Bleiler Catches Light-Years of Air.


You’ve gotta hi-def this one-minute version of Gretchen Bleiler‘s ethereal spot for AT&T. The 28-year-old, 5’5″ snowboarder, above, is competing in Vancouver today, Thursday, hoping to follow-up her silver Torino win by popping a 1080 in Olympic competition. If she does it, it’ll be a women’s first.

Until then, consider this, below, her practice run: To the tune of Lou Reed’s somber 1972 hit, “Perfect Day,” watch as the phenom hits the half-pipe…and goes boldly where no man has gone before.

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You Go, Girl.


If you’ve read previous MEDIA ASSASSIN write-ups on the upcoming Kick-Ass, including a look at one of its R-rated trailers, featuring Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz), above, you know I can’t even wait for this movie to be out.

[via IMP Awards]

Don’t You Wish Your Boyfriend Was Hot Like Me?


Old Spice, the legendary men’s grooming products company, should give Wieden + Kennedy, their current ad agency, a massive raise.

You may know W+K as the immaculately creative shop that, for all intent and purposes, invented Nike as a brand. Now, they’ve delivered a series of commercials which make the decrepit, aforementioned manufacturer of shaving powder actually seem hip again.

Here, on MEDIA ASSASSIN, we’ve already covered one of the spots from their blazingly satirical “Different Scents” campaign. Now, check out this, above, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” their latest pitch for O.S. body wash, and take in all the eyefuls of luscious man meat you can.

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Next & Last Stop: Omicron Centauri.


Though I’ve never ridden the London Tube, I ride the New York City subway system all the time. So, this graphic by Samuel Arbesman, postdoctoral fellow at Harvard studying computational sociology, hit me like a little blitz of genius.

It’s a map of our Milky Way galaxy, done in the style of those in the UK underground trains system, published by Arbesman’s imaginary “Milky Way Transit Authority.” He says his map is

an attempt to approach our galaxy with a bit more familiarity than usual and get people thinking about long-term possibilities in outer space. Hopefully it can provide as a useful shorthand for our place in the Milky Way, the ‘important’ sights, and make inconceivable distances a bit less daunting. And while convenient interstellar travel is nothing more than a murky dream, and might always be that way, there is power in creating tools for beginning to wrap our minds around the interconnections of our galactic neighborhood.

Since you’re looking, the red arm, in the Orion belt, pictures Sol, the scientific name of our own star, the Sun. Heading left, the Orion Nebula is the next stop, 1,344 light years away. In other words, traveling 186,282 miles a second, it would take you over 1300 years to get there. Better pack a lunch.

[via collisiondetection.net]