DashCam footage now in movie form: “The Road Movie”

I have to admit that one of my big guilty pleasures is watching compilations of dashcam footage on YouTube. If nothing else, it’s a reminder of why I need to avoid distractions while driving. It’s also prompted me to look into acquiring my own dashcam.

Given the huge number of other people who also watch these videos I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone decided to throw a bunch of clips together and release it as a full length movie. The Road Movie does just that and it does it specifically with footage out of Russia where, thanks to rampant attempts at insurance fraud and a particularly inebriated citizenry, dashcams have become ubiquitous resulting in a wealth of weirdness caught on video. Check it:

I’m not sure this will be successful as a theatrical release, but I could see it doing well on streaming services and home video. I won’t be seeing it in theaters because I know most, if not all, of these clips are available for free on YouTube. In fact, there’s dozens of clips in this I know I’ve already seen.

That said, these videos are hugely popular. There are dozens of channels on YouTube that do nothing but compile these clips and have subscriber numbers well into the tens of thousands. Some of them specialize with clips exclusively from Russia or the United States and others will take clips from anywhere they can find them. The better channels give credit to the folks who originally uploaded them, but some just rip off whatever they can find.

One of the channels I watch regularly is Road Cam Videos which publishes the CAR CRASHES IN AMERICA USA series. Their most recent collection includes footage of an accident just up the road from where I work. There’s a bridge over I-96 in Brighton for Pleasant Valley Road that was struck by someone in September doing enough damage that they had to close the bridge and take out the section over the eastbound side so they could rebuild it. You can imagine my surprise to find out some trucker caught the accident on their dashcam:

I’ve linked right to the start of the video clip of that accident and you can see the aftermath in the thumbnail above. It doesn’t look like it did that much damage, but here’s some pics from the Michigan Department of Transportation that shows why they had to demolish that part of the bridge:

Oh, yeah, that’s bad.

This next pic of them demolishing this section of the bridge had me wondering about their judgement on placing heavy equipment, but I suppose they know what they are doing:

This seems unwise.

Another shot of the demolition:

At the moment they haven’t started rebuilding it yet, but I suspect they’ll get around to it soon.

So, yeah, they’ve gone and made a movie out of videos like this. Again, no idea if it’ll be successful but I can see the logic behind the decision. These videos are hugely popular on YouTube so a movie should also be hugely popular, right? If they’ve managed to come up with a way to tell some sort of story with the clips that might end up working in their favor, but if it’s just clip after clip after clip then I’m not sure I see why anyone wouldn’t just turn to YouTube for that.

What do you think?

The Idiot’s Guide to Japanese Apartments

Back in my early 20’s when I was big into anime and manga I would occasionally entertain the idea of moving to Japan and living the life of an expatriate. Then I looked into what it immigrating to Japan would require and opted to just live in Japan vicariously through anime and manga. The more I learned about Japan the more confident I became in my decision.

However, every now and then I wonder if I didn’t make the wrong decision. Then I see something like this video by Rachel and Jun and any doubts vanish:

In comparison to Japanese apartments (at least in the larger cities), the places I’ve rented are almost palatial in size. Which isn’t to say there aren’t a few features in this video I wouldn’t mind having in my own place. That control panel for filling the tub from any room is pretty wicked cool. That said, living in Michigan our earthquakes are rare and rather timid so all the earthquake proofing stuff is nothing I need worry about.

I only just discovered their YouTube channel and I’m loving it. They’ve been at it for the last 4 years so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, but they tackle all sorts of interesting topics from modern Japanese table manners to gender equality in Japan to how to get an apartment in Japan. Being a Japanophile who decided staying home was a better option, this scratches a long standing itch and is just generally fascinating.

A couple more that I found very fascinating:

There’s several forms of Japanese clothing that I’ve always wanted to try because of how they look or how comfortable they appear to be. I wasn’t aware there had been controversies about it here in the States.

There’s a lot of “trivia” about Japan that makes the rounds. This video takes on some of those claims and whether they’re true.

I don’t know how many other folks who drop by are as fascinated by Japan as I am, but I’m in heaven watching these videos.

John Oliver interview with Edward Snowden.

John Oliver has been knocking it out of the park ever since he left The Daily Show to start his own comedy news show on HBO. Last Week Tonight manages to both entertain and inform and, in some ways, is a better show than TDS. Best of all, HBO and Oliver makes full length segments of the show available on YouTube so you don’t have to pay for HBO to see it.

Each week Oliver picks a topic and does a deep dive on it and this week he’s tackling surveillance and Section 215 of the Patriot Act and how we’re not having the debate we should be about the NSA and domestic spying. It’s a great segment, but it’s even better because he managed to score an interview with the man who arguably made it possible to have this debate, Edward Snowden, and he doesn’t pull any punches with his questions:

Once again I have to marvel at how a comedy news program manages to do better journalism than the supposed news channels. It also breaks things down into a context that is not only funny, but which the average person can comprehend.

As Oliver points out, part of the reason we’re not having this debate is because the subject matter is so highly technical and hard to understand for most folks. It’s doesn’t help that too many people barely pay attention to what’s going on around them. Ask them who Taylor Swift is and they can recite lyrics from her latest single, but ask who Edward Snowden is and too many don’t have a clue. These programs need to be seriously revised and given more transparency, but that’s not going to happen so long as we don’t bother to talk about them.

Finally, this gives me a chance to make use of this:

Would've been funnier back when it was still winter, but fuck it.

Would’ve been funnier back when it was still winter, but fuck it.

YouTube arguments as read by two old guys.

I make of point of not reading the comments left on YouTube videos because they have a tendency to damage your IQ if you read too many of them. To say that the majority of comments left on any particular YouTube video are less than helpful is an overstatement of stunning proportions. You’d probably learn more by hitting yourself repeatedly in the head with a ballpeen hammer than you would by reading the comments left on the average YouTube video.

That said, when you take an example of said comments — say an argument between two One Direction fans — and reconstruct it using two old guys, the results are surprisingly entertaining while also reinforcing just how useless such comments are.

Note: There is some NSFW language in this clip.

I suppose if YouTube comments can’t rise above the level of drooling psychophants, at least they can be entertaining when handled properly by professionals.

Here’s a perfect example…

… of the problem with stupid people being too stupid to realize how stupid they are that I talked about in my previous entry. Meet the girl who doesn’t understand why we have Leap Years: H0tAndDanger0us (that’s about half right).

Holy crap that’s some Grade-A stupid right there. It’s also inexcusable in this day and age when she obviously has the tools of her salvation from ignorance sitting right in front of her. A simple Google search would turn up all manner of explanations to enlighten her with and if reading comprehension is a hurdle she finds insurmountable then there are several YouTube videos which will make it all clear.

Here’s one that I watched myself just yesterday:

And, in case she’s too stupid to know what a year is, here’s a video that explains that (with bonus black hole goodness!):

Seriously, there’s no good excuse for the ignorance — not to mention the sense of self-entitlement — of H0tAndDanger0us. For a moment I considered the possibility that she could be a particularly effective Poe, but then I took a look at her Tumblr page and the possibility that it could just be a clever act evaporated.

Here’s a big surprise: Serbian video of dead “alien” is a hoax.

Over the weekend one of my relatives asked me if I had seen that Russian dead alien video that’s been racking up hits on YouTube. I replied that I had not. Then they asked me if I thought it was a fake. Absolutely, I said.

But how can you be so sure when you haven’t seen the video, they asked. Because it would take more than a video clip by some random yahoo on the Internet to convince me, I said. At which point the conversation got into whether or not I think life exists elsewhere in the Universe (I do) and if so then why can’t they have visited us (because I understand the problems of travel between star systems and while life may be abundant, sentient life may be less so). So on and so forth.

And it turns out I was right:

A video of what was claimed to be a mutilated alien corpse, which scored hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, has turned out to be fake.

The tiny “dead alien” is just skin from chicken filled with bread, reports the website 7d.org.ua. Police questioned the men who claimed to have found the “body” and they allegedly confessed to creating it themselves.

It’s amazing how quickly some hoaxers will fess up when they think they’re about to be charged with a crime”

The chief editor of the local Kabansk-Info newspaper initially thought that it was the body of an infant in the video and alerted the police.  Officers immediately started the investigation and identified the alleged author.

They went to his house and asked him about the infant’s body.  The scared man reportedly showed a fake alien corpse.  It was even painted in “alien colors”.  Scolding is the only possible punishment for such a stunt as it cannot be considered a crime, the report says.

Yes, even in Russia, stupidity still isn’t a crime.

Google Zeitgeist 2010

One of the upsides of being the world’s most popular search engine is that you get a good idea of what the world is paying attention to. Which brings us to the Google Zeitgeist 2010. An aggregation of the billions of searches done at Google over the past year which you can browse to see what it is people were looking for.

The YouTube video Google put together to promote the site is both interesting and stunning as it drives home just how big Google has become in terms of different ways to access and view their database. Check it:

I have to admit that there’s a lot of tools Google offers that I don’t use on a regular basis. Seeing them used in this video piques my curiosity. It’s also a reminder of just how much data Google has on all of us.

Christian YouTuber rants on atheists before committing murder-suicide.

This one happened close to home for me. Anthony Powell was a prolific YouTuber known for his misogyny and ant-atheist rants. He attended Henry Ford Community College and last Friday—ironically Good Friday no less—he posted his last YouTube rant before heading to school armed with a shotgun. There he tracked down Asia McGowan, a fellow student whom he had apparently attempted to strike up a relationship with previously, and proceeded to kill her before turning the shotgun on himself:

DEARBORN, Mich.— The man police said is accused of a murder-suicide at Henry Ford Community College left a videotape message on YouTube shortly before the crimes.

Anthony Powell suffered from chronic depression. His mother, Doris Powell said she thought her son would kill himself.

“I’m really thinking about killing myself. I think I am going to do it. I’m just scared.” Powell stated on YouTube.

[…] Police said they got a call about 12:30 p.m. on a report of an assault. En route, they got another report of shots being fired at the college’s MacKenzie fine arts center.

When police arrived, they found theater student Asia McGowan, 20, and Anthony Powell, 28, dead.

Police said Powell used a shotgun to shoot McGowan and himself.

Local 4 has learned the two students had a theater class together.

Reports are that Powell suffered from depression for many years and it doesn’t take many of his videos to see the man was unbalanced. Near as anyone can tell Powell’s religious fanaticism had less to do with his chosen target than his obsession with Asia McGowan. Still watching some of his YouTube clips it’s amazing that he didn’t target an atheist. Here’s a compilation of some of his rants by Think Atheist:

It occurs to me, given the thread DOF started on why Christians are considered the bad guys by some of us, that this is a prime example for consideration.

Best. “Doctor Who.” Episode. Ever.

A bunch of kids, with some help from Dad no doubt, film their own episode of Doctor Who versus the Daleks complete with music and appropriately low-budget special effects. It is a six minute and forty-three second tour de force:

The thing that makes this so cool to me is I can remember desperately wanting a film, and later a video, camera as a kid so I could make my own movies. My brother actually had a silent Super 8MM film camera that I used a couple of times to make small movies with, one of which was my own episode of the Mr. Bill Show of which I was a big fan*. I spent hours trying to figure out cheap ways of doing the special effects I’d need for my up and coming Space Epic, building ships out of Styrofoam, putting together model kits and so on, all for naught as in the end I didn’t have access to a camera with enough running time to do what I wanted to do. Nothing I did manage to put together comes close to what these kids have got up on YouTube. It’s a testament to how far technology has come in both ease of use and price that these kids put together a complete film that’s easily as entertaining as anything on prime time American television, if not more so.  The fact that millions of people around the world are also able to view it, whereas most of my attempts were barely watched by my own family, is also pretty amazing. Wish we had had this kind of stuff when I was a kid.

Found over at Boing Boing.

*I actually dressed up as Mr. Bill for Halloween one year. No one had a clue who the fuck I was supposed to be.

E.A. goes for the “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature” argument.

Apparently there was a small bug in the Tiger Woods ‘08 golf simulation which allowed Tiger Woods to walk on water. Someone using the nick Levinator25 filmed the glitch and posted it to YouTube as the “Jesus Shot.” EA noticed the video and responded with one of their own:

Gotta admit, that’s pretty funny.