Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

My Year End Wrap Up 2012

Another year has slipped away, and here I sit, reflecting back on what entertained me in 2012.  I always start my wrap up by going back to the beginning of the year, to see how my interests have changed.  I began the year dividing my time between British stuff and vintage television shows…and that’s exactly where I find myself now.  Only the faces have changed!

Best Books:  Might as well get the embarrassment out of the way first.  Normally I read a couple of books a week, but I went 8 months out of the last 12 without finishing a single book!  Oh, the shame.  I could blame my eyes, since I need new glasses, but the real truth is that I spend too much time online.  Making videos has also sucked up my reading time, but that’s for another category.  Of the small selection of books read this year, I really enjoyed Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt, Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth, and Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim.  (More about Arngrim’s book in an upcoming post.)  The biggest disappointment was Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James.

Best Television:  My television is usually always tuned to either Me-TV or CBS, except on Sunday night, when I watch Masterpiece on PBS.  I still enjoy The Big Bang Theory, but I do think it’s losing something from having too many separate storylines, with the characters spending less time gathered in the same living room.  More characters means less screen time for favorites Sheldon and Raj.  I discovered Leverage in reruns just as the show got cancelled, but at least I have five seasons to explore further.  Since September, I’ve been enjoying reruns of Emergency! on Me-TV.  Another season of Sherlock brought more delight, as well as more Inspector Lewis.  Thanks to a friend, I’m now back to enjoying EastEnders, the British serial drama, and already my life wouldn’t be complete without weekly visits to Albert Square.   This year’s favorite program was Call the Midwife, featuring new favorite Miranda Hart as the wonderful Chummy.  I can’t wait for more of this series!

Best Twitter:   I’m very picky about twitter.  Too much shameless self-promotion?  Unfollow.   Too many retweets?  Unfollow.   Too many conversations that should be private?  Unfollow.  No sense of humor?  I shouldn’t have been following in the first place!  I enjoy humor, whimsy,  and folks who don’t take themselves too seriously.   The most consistently entertaining tweets this year have come from Josh Groban.  I’ve also enjoyed following Russell Tovey.  I can count on a friend to share the best of Demetri Martin and The Onion, so I guess they count, too!

Best Theatre:  Oops.  Didn’t see any.  Never mind.

Best Movies:   I had good luck with the movies I saw in the cinema this year.  Mind you, I still haven’t seen three of the four films I was most looking forward to in 2012, so they will have to wait until 2013!  The Avengers was terrific, and I also enjoyed Life of PiThe Dark Knight Rises wasn’t a favorite, but Tom Conti and Joseph Gordon-Levitt made it worthwhile for me.   I saw my first 3D movie, John Carter, but I’m not a fan of the technology.  It was a great year for silents: Napoleon was stunning, and I also saw three films at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, with The Canadian (1926) making the deepest impression.   Shah Rukh Khan’s Jab Tak Hai Jaan had an entertaining beginning and middle, but I was disappointed by the third act.  The best new film I saw in 2012 was Argo.

Best DVDs:  I spent six months of this year with Wagon Train at the top of my Netflix queue.  They never sent me any on the discs, and my queue always said “short wait.”  I could have bought the DVDs for the money I spent on my Netflix plan, especially since I wasn’t watching the discs they sent me instead.  I cancelled my account.   This means I can’t go look at my history for this year to review, but this an easy category.  The best DVDs of my year have been the classic television western Laramie, particularly seasons one and two.  When I’m not watching the episodes again and again, I’m making tribute videos and posting them on YouTube.  I now have more YouTube followers than blog followers!   Which leads me to a new category…

Best Time-Sucker-Upper:  Call it a hobby, a passion, an obsession, a skill or an art.  But this year I started making videos, and now I can’t stop.  I’d been making slideshows using still images at animoto.com, and this summer I tried using their template program for short video clips.  It was okay, but I didn’t like their wide border which wasted space, so it forced me to try Windows Movie Maker.  I had no idea it would be so much fun!  My Laramie tribute videos aren’t very interesting to people who aren’t fans of the series, but I’m proud of my channel and grateful for all my followers.

Best Music:  Mostly I’ve listened to older stuff this year.  When Davy Jones died, I started listening to lots of the Monkees.  I love Gaelic Storm’s album How Are We Getting Home? (2004), discovered in a stack of my own CDs that I never got around to hearing.  I’m definitely going to listen to more of this group in 2013.  I’ve also been enjoying lots of Kate Rusby.  One of my favorite new old songs is “Can’t Turn My Heart Away” by Art Garfunkel.  I’m still enjoying The Book of Mormon Broadway soundtrack, but I learned the hard way not to listen to it in public.  Even with earphones, you look like a nutter snickering at the lyrics.

Best Music Video:  My choices are never conventional, but that’s what you get for taking musical advice from me!   Here’s my favorite:

Never mind that it was uploaded in 2008.  It’s still the most adorable video I’ve seen on YouTube this year!  If you don’t know it, this is India’s national anthem.

Best New-To-Me Software:   Handbrake for ripping DVDs, and Google Talk for saving me a fortune on phone bills.  I chat now with friends around the world, without the complications of installing Skype, and no webcam to show everyone how hideous I look through a fisheye lens.

Entertainer of the Year:  Honorable Mention this year goes to Miranda Hart.  I discovered her in Call the Midwife, and now I’m enjoying her comedy on YouTube and her BBC series Miranda.  The winner is an easy choice.  In April, I purchased season one of Laramie on DVD, and by the end of May, I was a member of Robert Fuller’s official fan group.  While my favorite role is Jess Harper in Laramie, I’ve been enjoying Wagon Train, Emergency!, and all of Fuller’s other television shows and movies.   I’ve spent hours chatting with other fans, making tribute videos and collages, and searching ebay for vintage photos.  For so much entertainment in so many different ways, Robert Fuller is my Entertainer of the Year.  Thank you, Mr. Fuller!

Jess Harper whip blog crp

Robert Fuller in Laramie

Two Very Different Videos

Last week, the first trailer for Les Misérables hit the internet.  I’m late in sharing it, and I assume most of the folks who are keen about the upcoming film will have seen it already.  My feelings about the trailer are very mixed, but I will wait for the actual movie before judging.  I’ll always have the original London production and cast in my heart, but I was able to embrace most of the 25th anniversary production.  The movie is yet another step in the musical journey.

 

My obsession with the TV western Laramie and star Robert Fuller continues.  I made a little tribute video on YouTube.  The quality of the images reflect the fuzzy nature of the DVDs, but I just love this character!

A Little Bit You, Davy Jones

I heard the news about Davy Jones just before noon on Wednesday.  I was caught off guard by the strength of my feelings about his death.  When The Monkees (1966-68) originally aired on television, I was too young.  I watched later, when it was in daytime syndication with shows like The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, and Gilligan’s Island.  It was a fun show, and Davy Jones was the most appealing to me.  When The Monkees made a big comeback and started touring, I didn’t go to any of the concerts.  I never owned a record or CD, but I enjoyed songs like Daydream Believer on the radio.  So, why am I so moved by the death of Davy Jones?  I don’t really know, but perhaps it’s that sense we have of losing a little bit of ourselves when someone from our youth passes away.  Davy Jones was talented and adorable, and he will remain eternally young in our collective memory—too young to leave us already.  It’s a reminder to appreciate the special people in our lives while they’re still here.

I was searching for something that would best pay tribute to his special appeal.  This little video captures it perfectly.  Rest in peace, Davy.

“The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.”   – George Eliot

Because YouTube Doesn’t Have Enough Dogs

I spent Christmas Day with good friends, and my gift to them was this video slideshow.  Homemade gifts are always the best, don’t you think?  I took the photos last spring when I was dogsitting Rosie, their cocker spaniel.  She was so sad without them, and she spent most of her time watching the door.  Just so you know, the music and theme of this video are OTT (over the top!) on purpose.

 

One Year Old

Reflections on my first year of blogging

Today is the one year anniversary of The Ugly Bug Ball.  I wasn’t sure I could keep it going, but here we are on post number 95.  100 would have been a nicer number, but I’m not complaining.  Honestly, my only goal a year ago was to find a way to stop driving my boss crazy.  She was tired of all my entertainment chitchat, so I took it online. 

A year ago, I was obsessing over Matthew Goode and Michael Sheen, and I was mourning the cancellation of EastEnders on my local PBS station.  I think I can be forgiven for neglecting Matthew Goode, since he hasn’t released any new movies.  Michael Sheen has been very busy, but I have to confess, I didn’t finish watching A Special Relationship.  All the politics went right over my head.  I still miss Albert Square.

A year ago, I’d never heard of Jonathan Jackson or his band Enation.  I didn’t know I’d be spending every weekday afternoon watching General Hospital to see Jackson as Lucky Spencer.   I was so excited when Enation tweeted links to my blog and even commented on one of my posts.  Now my current obsession is the Les Misérables 25th anniversary concert and some of the West End actors who performed in it.   Who knows what will entertain me next.  I try to “spread the love” by having lots of favorites, so there is always something new just around the corner.

I wish I didn’t feel compelled to check my blog stats so often.  I’m fascinated by how many visitors I get, and what brings them here.  It took me a long time to figure out that a portion of my “visitors” weren’t real, but spam referrers and creepy link posters.  Once I got over that disappointment, I soldiered on.  A dramatic change came a few months after I started, when the UK dating site with the same name was launched.   Suddenly, I had a dramatic increase in visits, but it wasn’t my Bug Ball they wanted.  Google soon sorted them out, although I still get a few strays.  My other wish?  That more people would leave comments.   Even after a year, it’s a thrill to know that people from all over the world are looking at my pages.

 I never really planned to be “Ugly Bug,”  but that’s become my username in various forums and sites that I visit, and when I leave comments on other blogs.  My gravatar photo is a damselfly, and I quite like that for a name, but I never got around to trying it.  It amuses me how some folks are uncomfortable with the word ugly.  I’m usually addressed as UB or Bug, which is fine, too.  I’m fond 0f that old saying, call me anything except late for dinner!

My most popular post this first year is  A Silent Scream, which talks about silent film.  Lots of folks out there are googling “Louise Brooks.”  A surprisingly popular one is All Thumbs, simply because of the photo of Hrithik Roshan’s double thumb.   Another entry that gets a lot of visits is In Remembrance: Armistice Day due to the WWI art.   My Les Mis posts have brought in a lot of new people, too.  I’m not sure how many more screencaps I will add, but at least my photoshop skills keep improving. 

New technology has brought big changes to my blog and what entertains me.  Last summer I got my first mp3 player.  Then my brother gave me my first digital camera, so I was able to start adding fresh photos.  I got a new Epson scanner, so old photos and slides were resurrected and added to these pages.  I learned how to make screencaps using Paint and Photoshop, and I learned that YouTube videos could be converted into mp3s.   Speaking of YouTube, I had no idea until last summer what treasures could be found there.  

Another big blogging milestone was when I started writing about personal subjects.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there.   Writing about my favorite uncle, Dennis Severs, was a wonderful way to share a few memories, and I found it deeply satisfying.   I’ve been neglecting my Stage Door Encounter series, but it’s been a fun way to combine personal experiences with my interest in actors.  

So here’s to one year and counting, and hopefully the best is yet to come!

Playing With Photoshop

Enation performing Eyes of Grace

Enation performing Eyes of Grace (click to see larger)

Enation just posted a new video on YouTube, performing Eyes of Grace in concert.  My friend recently taught me how to make screencaps, so I had some fun putting this together in photoshop.

The Enation Tutorial

A beginner’s guide and 12 step program for becoming a fan of the indie band Enation.

1.  Watch General Hospital and become intrigued by Lucky Spencer and Jonathan Jackson.  (This first step can be swapped with many others, such as watch One Tree Hill, watch Saved By The Bell: The New Class, eat at Galeotti’s Restaurant, hear about this band from a friend, etc.)

2.  Visit the official Enation website.  Follow the link to CD Baby to check out the music.  Listen to the music samples.  Order three of the CDs because you can’t resist a good sale, but don’t tell anyone because it’s embarrassing to buy three CDs before you’ve heard a full song.

3.  Receive your three CDs in the mail and start playing them constantly.  Find a small problem with one of the CDs and feel delighted, because it means you get to send the band an email.  Get a response to your email and feel stupidly excited.

4.  Go to Ustream and watch the archived live concert, live rehearsal and live interview.  Find the answer to the question, what does the name Enation mean?  Then go to YouTube and watch the videos on EnationMusic’s channel, Daniel Sweatt’s channel (which are the funniest!), Jonathan Jackson’s channel, and then check out the fan videos.

5.  Go to facebook and “like” Enation’s fan page, and while you’re at it, “like” Jonathan Jackson’s page and Richard Lee Jackson’s page.  

6.  Go to twitter and “follow” Enation, Jonathan Jackson, Richard Lee Jackson, and Daniel Sweatt.  Add their twitter feeds to your Google Reader.

7.  Go back to the Enation official website and join Enation Army.  Don’t hold your breath waiting for your first “monthly” newsletter. 

8.  Go to the band’s Myspace page, if you can remember how, just because it’s there and you’re obsessed now.   Find some other fans online to chat with about the band, because you’re starting to annoy your friends and co-workers.

9.  Go to Amazon.com and order your first mp3 player so you can buy the Enation albums at CD Baby that are only available as downloads. 

10.  Go back to the official Enation website, order an autographed Enation photo from the band’s store.  Feel a little bit of disappointment when the photo arrives because it doesn’t have Luke Galeotti’s autograph on it.  Then see it as an opportunity to get it autographed when you finally see the band perform live.  Print out a small photo of Luke, because you’ve downloaded hundreds of photos off the internet, then stick it on the band photo and pretend he’s in the picture.

11.  Start buying lottery tickets, and hold off planning your vacation until the band announces another set of tour dates.

12.  Wait patiently (or impatiently) for the next concert, the next CD, the next tee shirt, the next tweet, the next DVD, the next book of poetry, the next video, the next monthly(?) newsletter…because now you’re hooked.

Enation (click to see big and even bigger)

 

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