Media Nerds Podcast

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The Media Nerds on Shaw TV Episode 2

Here is our 2nd episode to air on Shaw TV, originally recorded January 6th, 2017.

Subscribe to the Shaw TV YouTube channel to be notified as soon as these go up, and to watch all the other awesome local content produced at Shaw!

The Media Nerds on TV!

The Media Nerds television show is on the air!

Check your local Shaw TV listings to catch the show in it’s natural environment, or just watch the first episode here!

Special thanks to Billy and the crew at Shaw TV Winnipeg for making this possible. Keep checking back, new episodes will be airing every week!

 

Rate the Media Nerds on iTunes!

Independent podcasts like ours owe a lot to Apple. Without the immensely popular iTunes program, almost no one would be able to listen to us. However it is tough for smaller shows to stand out among the thousands of podcasts featured on iTunes.

One way to increase the visibility and awareness of a podcast on iTunes is to have listeners rate it. The more ratings a podcast receives, the higher it moves up in the search results, and the more new people discover us! It’s a win-win for everybody!

So, we would like to ask you, dear Media Nerds or Star Wars Nerds listener, to give us a rating. It only takes a few minutes and it would help us so much! Don’t know how to do it? I’m not surprised, it isn’t exactly the most intuitive rating system. We know you can do better, Apple!

On your computer or laptop:

Okay, first follow these links to the Media Nerds and Star Wars Nerds pages on the iTunes website. Then, click on the button that says “view in iTunes.” This will open the iTunes program on your computer.

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Be sure that you are signed into your iTunes account, then click on “Ratings and Reviews.”

 

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After that, all you have to do is click on the stars! Click on the fifth star to give us a five star rating, or click on the first star to give us a one star rating. Obviously, we’d love to have all five star ratings, but we want you to be honest. Give us the rating this podcast deserves, not the one it needs. There is also a space for comments, feel free to provide some more detailed feedback. We want to get better and we might even feature your comment on the podcast!

 

On your iPhone:

Open the Podcasts app and tap the Search tab. Search for Media Nerds podcast and Star Wars Nerds podcast. Tap the album art for the podcast.

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Tap the Reviews tab and then Write a Review at the bottom.

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Tap the Stars to leave a rating and enter the title text and content to leave a review. Tap Send.

 

That’s it! Wasn’t that easy? Thank you so much for listening and for your continued support. Your feedback means a lot to us and it helps us make our podcasts even better!

 

Don’t let the door/force hit you in the ass!

Kenton & Dan

 

The Nerds Do Comic Con!

We will once again be podcasting live from the Central Canada Comic Con, October 30th – November 1st at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg. As the Manitoba Podcast Network will not have a table at C4 this year, the Nerds will be podcasting “guerrilla style,” setting up and recording wherever we damn well see fit, or are (ahem) allowed.

Check out pics from last year’s C4 here.

We’ve got some awesome guests lined up, including Lucasfilm’s Star Wars continuity/canon guru Pablo Hidalgo, award-winning artist and graphic novelist Nicholas Burns, and author of the Thunder Road Trilogy Chadwick Ginther.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for updates on guests and locations.

And yes, we promise a better cosplay effort this year.

See you at the Con!

 

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Kenton & Dan attempt a “poor man’s cosplay” as Hoodie Chewbacca and Evil Luke Skywalker With Toy Lightsaber at last year’s C4. The elf in the middle can’t believe the apathy of these guys!

 

 

Ode to the meter reader

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There is a fellow dressed in yellow
Who creeps around all day
While others work, he’s the jerk
Who tows their cars away

From far and wide, the people hide
When e’er he comes around
For they all know, his wont’s to go
And ticket all he’s found

What makes this fellow dressed in yellow
Ply his nasty trade?
What makes this jerk make his life’s work
To make good folks afraid?

With my resolve, I tried to solve
The riddles posed above
So I asked the reader at my meter
Where ’twas that he got off

To my surprise, his yellow eyes
Were actually dead and grey
His ticket stack was damp and whack
His waistline curds and whey

Are you the jerk whose nasty work
Makes men cry in their beds?
Are you the ass whose smelly gas
Makes children shake with dread?

And then the fellow dressed in yellow
For a moment scratched his head
Looked to the sky tho’ wondering why
Then the bastard turned yellow and fled.

Free Press Radio (originally posted Sept. 23, 2012)

The following was posted two-and-a-half years ago on my old blog, after a massive round of layoffs at the Winnipeg Free Press. At the time, the local Twittersphere exploded in passionate debate, much like last weekend after the Freep announced its new paywall. Some of this is dated, but I think the central concept holds: the Free Press can’t be just in the journalism business anymore. They have to branch out, create different content. As Kenton would say, it’s Edutainment time!

– Dan

With all the hullabaloo and talk about the “future of print journalism” after last week’s Winnipeg Free Press layoffs, ideas are flying around the Twitterverse about how the storied publication can survive in the new online world order.

Here’s my unsolicited suggestion to help save the Freep: they should get into the radio business.

It’s not that much of a stretch, really. In the early days of radio, many newspapers did in fact start up or buy stations so they could preview the next day’s stories on the air and get more people reading their newspaper. It was the birth of news radio as we know it. They’d read headlines on the radio and tell people to buy the paper to get the full story the next morning.

Seems to me like they were way ahead of their time.

Cross-platform journalism is the future of this industry, especially in our Internet-driven 24-hour news cycle. Reporters have to be able to write for print, television, radio AND the web. And they have to do it all in the same day.

At least that what they should be doing. It’s not happening as much as I thought it would. Some media outlets see the opportunities, Global TV and CJOB 68 for example. They cross-promote each other, use each others reporters and stories, and basically drive their viewers/listeners to each others platform.

Seems like a really good idea, but I wonder how the advertising side of it works. Do they share clients? Part of me thinks no, but I’m really not sure.

Advertising drives the media business. It pays the reporters’ salaries and makes the owners’ profits. That part of the industry will never change. But, as Dan Lett so eloquently put it in his blog Saturday, online ad revenues don’t generate enough money to pay for the content they’re producing. Papers can’t charge as much for web advertising as they do for print ad space, because the Internet busted the print advertising mythos wide open. Online advertising prices are based on an “actual value” model – how many impressions/click-throughs, etc… You pay for what you get. Traditional print advertising prices are based on some “magical” circulation number the paper’s ad salesmen put out there: “300,000 people read our paper so that’s how many people are going to see your ad!” Sadly, this was never true. Or at least, there was never any way to prove it.

So the Freep needs to bring in more ad dollars. Why not open up a whole new revenue stream by crossing over to a new medium? I know, I know – they already tried WFP TV, producing web videos on community news stories. That was a foray into the television world, wasn’t it?

Not really. It was still web-based, I never saw it on my actual TV.

No, I’m talking about really crossing over to another medium. We’ve already determined that print advertising is a dead duck, and TV advertising isn’t doing much better. That leaves radio.

Radio’s actually in pretty good shape in the new world order. It’s still the only medium that can be safely consumed while driving, and for that reason it’s not going anywhere. Sure, I know people now have their iPods plugged into their car stereos to listen to music, etc. but that’s not our target audience here. Personally-chosen music has been competing with radio since they days of the eight-track cassette.

There’s a very large portion of Winnipeg’s radio listeners that love the news/talk radio format. It’s huge here, more so than any other Canadian market. CJOB 68 and CBC Radio One are perennially at the top of the ratings. If their numbers have been dropping recently, it’s only because they program content more relevant to the older “baby boomer” demographic.

I’ve been saying for years that if anyone had the guts to start up a news/talk format station for Winnipeg’s younger audience, that station would clean up. There’s a demand for this kind of programming that is not being met. CJOB and CBC are trying to shift their programming to target the younger listener, but it’s been a very slow transition – they have to do it without alienating their core listeners.

Concerts or interviews at the WFP Cafe could be broadcast on the radio. Photo: Winnipeg Free Press

The Winnipeg Free Press on the radio would be a great fit, I think. Their reporters would call in live reports or make appearances on the air while they’re gathering for their news story. They’d write the same news stories for radio, print and web. Even the Freep’s columnists would have something to do: host the talk shows. I could totally see Dan Lett or Doug Speirs taking live calls, talking about the issues that matter most to young Winnipeggers. Gary Lawless already has his own successful radio show on TSN 1290 and many of the reporters currently working at the Freep have made appearances on both CJOB or CBC radio. They’d have their own hourly news and sports readers, all already working for the publication. The only additional costs would be the purchase of the CRTC license, maybe a few board operators, etc… and leasing a broadcasting facility. The new radio advertising revenue stream would cover those costs and more.

There could even be some cool cross over with the WFP News Café (which hopefully is not a victim in the next round of cuts.) A live concert or interview at the café could be broadcast on the radio, as well as on the web.

Cross-media journalism is the answer to the problems faced by today’s traditional media. Every media outlet should be reporting across multiple platforms, and I’m not just talking about their “home” medium and the web. Every company in this field should have their fingers in the web, radio, TV and print.

CBC currently has a pretty good model. We all know that CBC isn’t in the money-making business, but if they were, I think they’d be doing well. They report on TV, radio and the web and their reporters work in all three. If they were bringing in ad revenue on all three of those platforms, they’d be killing it!

So that’s my two cents. Free Press Radio – I like the sound of that!

And hey – if the Bell/Astral merger is approved by the CRTC, it sounds like a few FM frequencies will be opening up in the Winnipeg market.

The timing couldn’t be better.

Day 8 – The Muppet Christmas Carol

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I’m going to make this one short and sweet, because while I have no problem watching all of these movies in the evenings after the kids go to bed, this whole “blogging about each one” thing is pretty time consuming. I’ve got last minute shopping to do!

Anyhoo, The Muppet Christmas Carol is one of many, many film adaptations of the Charles Dickens classic novella. Since we’re all familiar with the story of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and his moral redemption via the visitation of three ghosts, I’ll skip the summary and just talk about why this particular adaptation is one of my all-time favorites.

Released in 1992, The Muppet Christmas Carol was the first Muppet movie to be released after the death of Jim Henson. It was directed by his son Brian (now Chairman of the Jim Henson Company) and stars Michael Caine as Scrooge, along with the usual Muppet suspects. I watched it with my kids via my cable provider’s on demand rental service.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jzsKJvWiEI&w=853&h=480]

Simply put, this is a fun and uplifting version of an age-old story. While other adaptations take a decidedly dark tone at times, this film does not, even during the Ghost of Christmas Future scene. The original “Muppetized” content, namely the songs, keep this film light-hearted and family-friendly. The music is awesome, in true Muppet fashion and the dialogue and side jokes (particularly between Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat) are very funny.

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And Michael Caine! Best. Scrooge. Ever. Without a doubt. This is only my second-favourite version of A Christmas Carol (Scrooged being #1) but it’s my favorite portrayal of the traditional Ebenezer Scrooge. Caine plays it perfectly and sincerely, as though he’s talking to real people instead of three-foot-tall felt puppets. He is what makes this film so good.

So give it a try if you’ve never seen it before, or re-watch it if its been a few years. The Muppet Christmas Carol is absolutely a film that will give you all the Christmas warm fuzzies that you can handle.

Next up, I go dark again with the Finnish film Rare Exports.

Day 7 – Bad Santa

Finally, a Christmas movie that properly conveys the spirit of the season – Bad Santa!

bad-santa-wideDirected by Terry Zwigoff (Crumb, Ghost World), Bad Santa stars Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Bernie Mac, John Ritter and Lauren Graham. Joel and Ethan Coen were executive producers of the film, and it was John Ritter’s last movie before his untimely death in 2003. I PVR’d it from the W Movies channel.

In this film, Billy Bob plays Willie T. Stokes, a safe-cracking con man who is pretty much a walking train wreck. He drinks, swears, pees his pants, has sex in public, screams at kids and let’s just say that personal hygiene is nowhere near the top of his list of priorities. Who better to work as a department store Santa during the holiday season? You see, Willie and his partner Marcus (Cox) run an annual scam in which they case major retail outlets working as Santa and elf, then they rob the store blind on Christmas Eve when the safe is crammed full of consumers’ cash. Willie spends the year drinking away the money he made from the job, and they repeat the cycle the following December.

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This time around, Willie is worse than ever. His drinking, swearing and public sex make him the target of Store Manager Bob Chipeska (Ritter) who voices his concerns to store security chief Gin Slagel (Mac) in some of the best scenes in the movie. As I mentioned, this was Ritter’s final film, and considering that Bernie Mac also died prematurely in his 50s, these scenes were both hilarious and chilling to watch.

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Things begin to turn around for Willie as he and Marcus case their latest target. Enter Sue (Graham), Willie’s love interest of sorts, a bartender with a serious Santa fetish. And enter the Kid, otherwise known as Thurman Merman, who believes Willie is the real Santa and befriends him in an annoyingly sincere way. As these two relationships grow, we start to see Willie change (albeit marginally) for the better. These two give him a reason to care about his life.

eb20fcc83115528f63edd8faa2000833dc08f6c4e6c4ea62043cf24baa3da54cI wasn’t kidding when I said that this film conveyed the spirit of the season – it absolutely does! If a complete piece-of-shit person like Willie Stokes can feel the Christmas spirit, anyone can. This movie is funny, disgusting and heart-warming all at the same time. The performances are outstanding (Billy Bob is really on his game here) the dialogue is snappy and interesting, and it’s just an all around good movie. Not for kids though. It’s not even remotely appropriate for children, and I include in that any pre-teens that may be in the household.

I just watched this movie for the first time last year, and I can’t believe that it took me 10 years to get around to it. Bad Santa is an instant classic, and it’s worked its way into my annual Christmas movie list. I highly recommend it.

Next up: The Muppet Christmas Carol

Day 6 – Trading Places

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Trading Places stars Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy and was directed by John Landis. It was Murphy’s second blockbuster in a row (after 48 Hours) and provided Aykroyd with a much-needed boost in popularity, as his post-SNL career (Blues Brothers notwithstanding) seemed to be floundering, Trading Places was released on June 8, 1983 and placed third at the box office that weekend after Superman 3 and Return of the Jedi. I rented it on iTunes.

From IMDB:

Louis Winthorpe III is a successful Philadelphia commodity broker with mansion, manservant and girlfriend to match. Billy Ray Valentine is a hustling beggar. Winthorpe’s employers, the elderly Duke brothers, make a bet that by switching the lifestyle of the two Billy Ray will make good and their man will take to a life of crime. Suddenly Louis finds himself uncomprehendingly with no job, no home and only a new acquaintance, glamorous hooker Ophelia, prepared to help him. So at least in one way things could actually be worse.  – Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

I hadn’t watched this film in a number of years, and I’m pretty sure that I’ve only ever seen the “edited for television” version. I certainly don’t remember seeing Jamie Lee Curtis’ breasts, and holy crap are there a ton of uncomfortable racial jokes (Dan Aykroyd in black face, anyone?) I imagine that this film was pretty edgy in its day, and to me it’s a prime example how different Hollywood was in the 80s. This was a time when studios didn’t sacrifice the quality of a film in order to get a PG rating to appeal to a broader audience. They weren’t afraid of the hard “R” rating, and hoo boy does this movie need it!

I’m not sure why we need to see a topless Jamie Lee Curtis multiple times in this movie. Did the producers say to themselves, “Well, we’re gonna get an R anyway, let’s see her boobs!” Or maybe she volunteered to do it in an attempt to break free of the “teen virgin” stereotype that she must have had at the time due to her string of roles in low budget horror films of the late 70s and early 80s. If so, it worked, this film would cement her into Hollywood mainstream for the rest of her career.

I really loved how this film makes fun of the uber-rich. The Dukes, Winthorpe’s girlfriend Penelope, his “friends” from the club, ALL of them seem like spoiled children with silly customs and traditions.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0CEJQ79Fao]

Although this film has a lot of Christmas in it, it gets pretty dark at times. I mean, Aykroyd’s Winthorpe even tries to kill himself. Multiple times.

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Once Winthorpe and Valentine figure out what the Dukes have done, the climax seems to come really quickly (that’s what she said!) and its a bit confusing. I still don’t understand what happens on the stock exchange floor at the end, but the shots of the Twin Towers were pretty surreal. I actually saw a sculpture in one shot that I saw on display in Battery Park, mangled from the destruction of 9/11.

Anyway, this is a very entertaining film, a lot of fun to watch. It doesn’t really carry a Christmas-like message or anything like that, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Next up: Bad Santa.

Day 5 – Brazil

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Sam dreams of flying away from his dreary life.

Brazil (1985) was written and directed by Terry Gilliam (Tom Stoppard also co-wrote) and was his second non-Python feature film. Jonathan Pryce stars, and the movie is full of huge names in smaller roles. (Robert DeNiro, Bob Hoskins, Ian Holm, and Michael Palin, among others). I rented it on iTunes.

For the plot summary, I’ll once again defer to IMDB, because they’re just so damn good at it:

Sam Lowry is a harried technocrat in a futuristic society that is needlessly convoluted and inefficient. He dreams of a life where he can fly away from technology and overpowering bureaucracy, and spend eternity with the woman of his dreams. While trying to rectify the wrongful arrest of one Harry Buttle, Lowry meets the woman he is always chasing in his dreams, Jill Layton. Meanwhile, the bureaucracy has fingered him responsible for a rash of terrorist bombings, and both Sam and Jill’s lives are put in danger. Written by Philip Brubaker <coda@nando.net>

Brazil is one of those films that everyone should see. It’s 1984 for the 80s. Gilliam creates a world that is both hilarious and terrifying at the same time, and the film’s pace never lets up for a second. Again, it’s not a really Christmas-y film. Christmas is taking place in the background and I think it’s simply meant as a touchstone for us, to let the audience know that consumerism is still going strong (and in fact is one of the building blocks) in this dystopian society.


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As I mentioned, the film is funny, but it’s also dark and depressing and not a great film to watch during the Christmas season. Again, my own cleverness seems to have gotten the better of me as I wallow in the sadness that comes at the end of Brazil. (Kidding, it’s not that bad.)

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The “Information Retrieval” department.

But I have hope. I absolutely know that Trading Places will be full of Christmas hilarity. And Jamie Lee Curtis.