The Insects will Prevail

What better attire for
watching golden oldies?
The Insects T-Shirt
The Insects T-Shirt!
Okay, gang. Here’s the Insects appearance on the Night Shift television show in its entirety. Complete with closed captioned lyrics!

The video previews appear in the order the songs were played on the show. My apologies for the low resolution- but they’re good enough to get the general idea.

Enjoy!

 

 

Forget Your Orders

Sofas in Motion

Space-Age Pumps

So Many People

Vampire For You

Insects Music from the Video Vault

Got a DVD from Buck the other day. It was a dub from the 1984 episode of Night Shift featuring my old band, the Insects. This was a local show on KTUL channel 8 that was hosted by Greg Roach and Jeanne Tripplehorn. Shots of the crowd offer a virtual time capsule of Tulsa’s new wave scene.

I immediately digitized the DVD and started posting clips on Google Video. Here’s a video of all the songs we did that night: Insects will Prevail. This was just before we changed the name to Radio Milan, and went completely overboard with the Italian theme.

With this crew the band was probably at its zenith- David’s guitar chops added rhythm and Les’ undulating drum style seemed to mesh perfectly with the odd tunes Scott and I wrote. All while Tony commanded a powerful stage presence (plus he could remember all those weird lyrics I dreamed up). The previous incarnations of the group had never quite mustered the overall sound like you see on this video.

A year or so later Tony would leave the band and be replaced by our sound man, Eric Kehr. David also bowed out to do his own thing, along with a couple of “one night wonders” that were thoroughly enjoyable (one was called Roger Staubach for Rolaids). We went on to play regionally and opened for Lords of the New Church at the Cains and The Fleshtones in Oklahoma City. We became minor superstars in Stillwater playing at a club called Nuevo Wavo. The songwriting matured over the next three years, but later versions of the band never quite had that “between the eyes” punch. In 1987 we opened for Wang Chung at the Riverparks Amphitheater and it would be our last gig.

Buy the Insects/Radio Milan CDIf you’re interested in hearing more tunes I’ve made a CD available through Cafe Press. The Jim Anthology includes the songs from the Night Shift performance, plus live tracks from a Crystal Pistol gig and seven songs from Radio Milan studio recordings. I’ve also posted some Radio Milan T-shirt designs based on the popular window sticker.

SELL-yoo-lar tell-UH-fone

One of my favorite bits from the Red Dirt Roundup television experience was the rural morning show sketch called Agricast. The first one featured Randy Brumley playing a technology reporter and showing off a new gadget called a “cellular telephone.”
Let’s watch!
http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=9209748079811192484&hl=en

This video interlude brought to you by Let’s Talk: the smater way to buy wireless!

Save on cell phones & plans for the whole family.

True Beauty

Over the last several years I’ve noticed an odd evolution in photos of scantily clad women.

Where once were curves and soft mounds of erotica I see hip bones. The body shapes you see today are more akin to a 14-year-old boy than a woman (the bags of saline known as “boobs” are being ignored for the purpose of this comparison). Models that look like real women are forced to work for “plus size” catalogs.

Dove, the soap people, have launched a campaign of sorts to challenge our current perception of what a women is supposed to look like. This short film is part of their Campaign for Real Beauty. It shows, in compressed time, the evolution of a normal woman into a fashion magazine tart.

I thought their film was excellent. Their goal is to expose our current perception of beauty for the heavily retouched photo it really is. They seek to showcase true beauty. Raise self-esteem. Exalt curves.

I applaud them.

UPDATE: March 3, 2017— The video above is more than 10 years old, but its message still rings true. Dove has produced a new portfolio of photographs by Mario Testino that depict #RealBeauty

60 Years of Real Beauty

Pennytech: My Five Dollar Teleprompter

This article was originally posted June 2005 on the Red Dirt Roundup TV show website. Since then the original images have been lost. I will be improving the design and will be sure to post photos when I do.
— Rex

The need for a teleprompter becomes pretty obvious the minute you start doing any sort of video. After some research I discovered that there were two options:

a) spend a buttload of money

b) make one myself

After a little research I discovered several homemade examples of teleprompters and tons of advice on using a teleprompter. The most helpful articles I found were Brian Lawler’s Forget Cue Cards, Make a Teleprompter! and the Plasti-Prompter devised by video blogger Max Rottersman. The latter was especially helpful because I was under the impression that a one-way mirror was required. After seeing what Max had done with nothing more than a lid from a CD jewel case I realized this was not rocket science.

No Rockets, Some Science
Here’s the basic idea of my teleprompter made from a wine box, packing tape and a $5 piece of glass. A piece of glass held at a 45° angle to our laptop screen reflects the image toward our talented viewer. On the other side of the glass is a camera to take it all in. But for some magical reason the camera doesn’t see that reflected image on the glass. Maybe this is some rocket science after all?

My first challenge was to determine the optimum size for the piece of glass. I wanted it as large as possible to show the entire display of my laptop. The 15″ display on my Dell Inspiron 5500 was about 12 inches wide and 9 inches tall. So the width was easy- about 12.25 inches would be great. That would allow my “frame” to be about 12.5 inches wide, which would fit perfectly on the bezel surrounding the laptop’s display. But the height was another matter.

The glass needs to be set at 45° to the display. So I drew a right triangle with a base of 9.5 inches (the laptop display) and a leg of 9.5 inches (distance to the glass) which left the size of the glass a mystery. I knew the answer involved calculating the length of the hypotenuse and the Pythagorean theorem was involved. After a search on Google all that math fun came rolling back: A² + B² = C² That calculation gave me 13.435 which I rounded to 13 7/16 inches and called the glass shop. $4.68 later I was rummaging around for something to mount the glass in.

A wine box for 6 of the 1.5 liter bottles happened to be almost exactly 12.5 inches across. The top flap was already cut off, as is the custom at most fine liquor stores. So I cut the front and back out which leaves us 3 sides of the wine box. Then I cut a couple of thin strips from the scrap to make a pair of supports. These are taped inside the box at the magical 45° angle, then the glass rests on them. A couple more pieces of tape keep the glass from bouncing out of place.

After about 15 minutes of slicing and taping we had the laptop fired up and made some final adjustments. To get it just right I ended up trimming a couple of inches off the box, giving it a final overall height of 11 inches. You’ll notice I used Priority Mail tape, and since the wine box was also free I’m actually under budget. So my teleprompter actually cost less than $5, but I allowed a little leeway for those of you that splurge for packing tape.

For displaying our script we use Prompt! on the PC and Mac. It runs the script mirrored with one click and allows the operator to adjust the speed easily via mouse or keyboard. The basic version is free and the only drawback is a 2500 character limit. If you plan to do War and Peace you’ll need to pay, but even so it’s quite reasonable. Once you learn about 4 of the hotkey combinations you can easily operate the camera and the `prompter from behind the laptop.

Materials Needed:

Glass, plain old window pane, thinner the better, cut to 12 1/4″ x 13 7/16″

Wine Box

Packing Tape

Originally published at www.reddirtroundup.com/2005/06/my-five-dollar-teleprompter.htm