Russian (Chat) Roulette

A few weeks ago I fired off the random tweet that I’d be wasting some time on ChatRoulette and that fact garnered me a few snickers, snide remarks and general head-shaking.

I had no desire to see nudity or bad behavior (though you’ll definitely see both) but I did want to play around a bit. There’s no better way to waste an afternoon than on a simple, single-serving concept that’s fresh each time. Simply turn on your webcam, stare into the abyss and wait to laugh, cry, cringe or type with your new best friend.

To me, ChatRoulette offered the allure of all the things that made email (yes, email) so cool the first time I saw it.

Or HTML/The Web
Or Napster
Or … you get the picture

The first thing everyone does with a new internet toy is lurk. Lurkers/lurking is still the predominate mode of internet usage (even for “social” folks) and what better way to explore video (without having to make your own viral video hit) than to stare blankly at your webcam and wait for something to happen.

Seems pretty much standard operating procedure to me. No matter how “lean forward” some web experiences can be, we’d all like to just be entertained once in a while.

For my part, I was more than happy to play the part of the merry trickster, holding this candy wrapper up to the green-lighted eye of my webcam for folks to read. It got just as many leans forward and head nods as it did “Next” clicks.

Then I saw this amazing PianoChatImprov video (Via Brand Flakes For Breakfast) and my brain exploded a little bit:

What an awesome outlet for his creativity and a way to engage folks by giving them something (delight? surprise?) they didn’t even know they were looking for. And who knows, maybe some of those folks even decided to go do something creative themselves, either on ChatRoulette or off of it.

If the first step to getting more folks in the mode of creating things was text-based (BBS led to Blogs led to Twitter & Facebook) then the evolution naturally moves toward audio (podcasting, which is bigger than ever) and video, which is still growing.

Granted, the “content” (such an ugly word) won’t all be great, but that’s not the point. The point is the lowering of the barrier to entry so that those with latent talent and dreams can realize fulfillment (and fulfill others) where previously they couldn’t.

Democratization of media and whatnot.

For my part, I think I’m finally feeling the real urge to do a certain passion project that I’ve been rolling over in my head since last year’s SXSW. Stay tuned.

Are we likely to see some guy’s business or the random boob on ChatRoulette? Sure.
Will we see a live death (a real Russian Roulette) a la Abraham Biggs on Probably.
Could we get the next Seinfeld or Tarantino or Shakespeare here too? Hyperbole aside, new mediums produce new stars, so yes.

I’m not saying this one site will change the world (or even the internet) but it’s a bell-weather moment, a road sign pointing towards a future where TV plays less of a creative, cultural role and people entertain one another, either solely friend-to-friend (see: Facebook) or in new creative venues/enterprises.

And if you don’t believe all the squishy hype (or don’t like the piano guy) at least you can geek out on a map data mash-up, watch videos from the site or see the “best” screencaps from the site.

Happy Webcamming!

UPDATE: Ben Folds gets in on the action, pulling his own Merton at a concert in Charlotte!

Kermit & Fozzie visit my blog

Well, not really, but an embedded customized video will have to do.

No word yet if a Disney attorney will C&D me on the blog name, but I’m hopeful that won’t happen.

Anyhow, the video is in support of the Disney Parks “Give A Day. Get A Day.” volunteerism program. You might have seen the Muppets in TV ads featuring celebrities and folks from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Anyhow, it’s a good cause (and you can win a ticket to a Disney Park for a day by volunteering for a day). Check it out.

Get your own video here.

[Via Theme Park Mom]

Making Athens, Georgia Proud

I’m only recently aware of Allison Weiss and her music, but I’m wowed by her sound, her aesthetic and her approach to making music and connecting with her fans.

I’d actually heard of her before – on Twitter – through a semi-acquaintance brokered by an ex-professor. Quite random, I know.

Her main appeal at the moment is for folks – you or me – to donate to the creation of an EP. In exchange for our cash, she’ll give us (assuming we participate) access to cool exclusives and, for a price, inclusion in the liner notes and beyond (depending on the amount).

Here’s her video explaining the whole deal with Kickstarter:

This is an ingenious way for an obviously talented, albeit cash-strapped college student to raise the funds necessary to pursue her dreams. I know I’ve got a few dollars burning a hole in my pocket to contribute to the cause. For another perspective on an artist doing her own thing and connecting with her fans, check out David Meerman Scott’s interview with Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls.

I won’t be able to catch her Quest For Glory tour in Atlanta or Athens due to a vacation, but I may try to make the “internet” date. 😉

All of this is made that much better for me because of the Athens, GA connections (see above: professor, semi-acquaintance & Allison herself) involved.

My Alma Mater.
My Other Mother.
My home away from home.

And if you need further proof of Allison’s bonafides, here she is doing a cover of Elliott Smith’s Between The Bars:

Additional props to Athens for getting top-billing on’s Big Picture blog. Lightning downtown never looked so eerily cool.

Have I mentioned that Football is only 38 days away? Go Dawgs! [Via Georgia Sports Blog]

Hope you’re having a wild, wacky Wednesday, just like me.

Muppets, 30 Rock and Gay Bars

I’m a few weeks late to the whole “30 Rock is a ripoff of The Muppet Show” meme, but I think I agree. [Via Kottke].

Here are the highlights, but please read the original source:

The premises (both the studio locales and the backstory of a weekly show) are the same.
Liz Lemon == Kermit the Frog
Jenna == Miss Piggy

Seriously. Read the rest of it.

I’m only a recent convert to 30 Rock (another reason you shouldn’t judge a new show solely on the basis of the pilot) and I think the similarities are stunning.

Given the blog’s name and my affinity for both shows, I’m just sorry I didn’t mention this earlier.

It’s also a good time to point out that 30 Rock even had Muppets on an episode last season as a part of Kenneth’s daydream sequence.

And then there’s this, which defies all logic that it should exist at all, but I’m very happy that it does:

[Via Testspiel]

I don’t know what it has to do with 30 Rock, but it’s an excellent appropriation of the theme song to The Muppet Show.

On another tangent, I’m trying to pull all the Muppet posts from my ALL-MUPPET Tumblr account, which is ironically called Mostly Muppets onto this NON-MUPPET blog (apart from this post) you’re reading right now.


Me too.

Go watch 30 Rock.
Or The Muppet Show.
Or go to a Gay Bar.

Good Day!

Lost plus Muppet Babies equals Crazy Delicious

These are the kind of videos that seem tailor-made for this exact blog.  They’re so thematically-targeted and ridiculous, I couldn’t have done a better job if I’d done them myself.

See for yourself:

LOST Babies – Let The Fear In:

LOST Babies – He’s Yellow, Man:

The videos are the work of David Goodberg.

[Via Blog@Newsarama who got them from EW’s Popwatch]