Monday, December 31, 2007

Highly Recommended: Infinite Solutions

I somehow stumbled upon a video by a fellow named Mark Erickson of Infinite Solutions claiming to be a how-to on setting your YouTube subscriptions to upload automatically as a podcast in iTunes. I mean, who wouldn't want that, right? You subscribe to the tag "weekendatbernies" in YouTube and whenever someone uploads new video with that tag, whoot, there it is on your iPod ready for the giggle party every time you sync up. When the video started rolling, I first thought "Wow this guy is a hopeless nerd" but I kept on watching because I really did think it was a cool idea, and besides, everyone knows that hopeless nerds make the best YouTube how-to videos.

So, I followed the instructions and it definitely did not work. Then I started to think about it and realized that there was no logical reason why it should work, given the steps he outlines (How would YouTube communicate updates to iTunes? Isn't YouTube Flash video the wrong format for an iPod? Hasn't YouTube been actively preventing users from saving video content? I've tried scraping updates from YouTube before, and it didn't work at all.). I looked at some of the comments on the video (there were like 1,700 of them), and it was full of people either claiming that it really does in fact work, or being pissed because they thought the video was a hoax.

After viewing the other videos by Infinite Solutions, I soon realized that the whole series was in fact a joke, albeit an elaborate and articulate one. The most representative example of the absurdity/genius of it all would have to be this video on how to prepare your computer for daylight savings:

If you go here you can see all of his videos. They are pretty damn funny, but what's weird is that while they are all kind of out there, sometimes he really cleverly plays on the desires of the nerd set, posting fake how-to videos for things that a lot of people have probably wished did exist (I mean, turning YouTube subscriptions into a podcast that loads onto your iPod would be pretty sweet, right?). The most classic example of his ability to clown on the dreams of internet geeks would be his how-to on procuring a "Google TV" invite:

On this one, I actually kind of felt bad for unsuspecting viewers because in addition to being somewhat believable, he makes the fictional Google TV seem so cool that people would actually want to try and do this, logging in and out of their Gmail accounts 11 times just trying to get it to work. It's a prank that borders on Andy Kaufman-style brilliance, the way he gets the fake website to look so Google-esque, the way that he blends weird reality with plausible fiction (Loco Google, for example, is real). It's wickedly clever, at least once you stop trying to actually get it to work and start being in on the joke, anyway.

I don't know... I haven't laughed this hard at one person's YouTube videos since discovering Ronald Jenkees (another YouTuber [<-- did I really just use that word?] who bends reality in a way that is distinctly Web 2.0). Thank you, Mark Erickson! Once it had all settled in, I went back and left a comment on the YouTube podcast video. I said "thanks man, this totally works." It felt good to be in on the joke.

I saw Juno today. It was as good as I suspected. Michael Cera has really cornered the market for awkward teenage boy roles in movies, of which it seems like there have been many lately. It begs a chicken vs. the egg type question though: Which came first, Michael Cera, or roles in movies that seem perfect for him? Perhaps his existence as an actor has caused writers to write movies just so he can be in them. I will go on record as saying this about Juno: Kimya Dawson overload! Demasiado! I'm sure Plan-It-X fans across the nation are getting a huge kick out of being able to clearly hear Paul Baribeau's name sung out in the middle of a major motion picture, but here's what I really want to know: When she sings "I never met a Tobey that I didn't like" do you think that she might be talking about Matt and Erin? What this really means for many people is that liking Kimya Dawson will soon become kind of like that moment when your uncle or whoever tries to add you as a friend on what up until that moment was the cool new social networking site: It's just not the same anymore.

I had a good time watching this movie, but I found myself laughing at things that nobody else in the theater seemed to think were very funny. Like when she is yelling at Jason Bateman and she says "Oh yeah, and by the way, I bought a Sonic Youth album, and it was just a bunch of noise!" It's strange to hear your own laugh, your own voice echoing off the walls of a movie theater. It's like "Whoa, does my laugh really sound that weird?" "Are there really no other Sonic Youth fans in the theater?" Maybe there were, but they were serious fans who had taken offense at her seemingly naive comment, thinking "How can she say that? She obviously didn't listen to Sister."

I also let out a hearty laugh solo when Jason Bateman said that his band opened up for the Melvins in Chicago. I know that it wasn't supposed to be funny, but I just think they are a cool band, and I guess laughing made more sense than being all like "Whoo! Yeah! The Melvins!"


Chris Foresman said...

Re: Juno,

I just saw this last weekend, and I loved it too. I also laughed out loud at several moments when it seemed most of the audience did not, including the joke about Sonic Youth. My girlfriend delighted in the fact she caught me crying at a movie (the ending was the proverbial straw). I loved every actor, every performance, and every nuance of this film.

Shannon said...

(Sorry I keep popping into your blog with comments and you don't even know me, but you're funny, and you talk about things I'm interested in, and I like that.) We saw Juno last week and my fiancee and I and two people next to us were mostly the only people in the entire theatre laughing. I think it's the area we live in -- they just don't get it or something?? I don't know.

And I agree with Juno -- Sonic Youth is just a bunch of noise. So I probably laughed harder at that than anything else.

David said...

According to Michael J. Harpring, Dawson does make reference to the Tobeys of our acquaintance.