Recipe for a rap video

When I was younger, I watched a lot of music videos. A lot of them were rap videos. My friend Ryan and I would both set VCRs at our own houses to record Rap City, just in case one of our moms hit the power button on the VCR and cancelled the scheduled recording.

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about the time Shaquille O’Neal rapped with Fu-Schnickens. As you do.

After watching the video ten or eleven times, I remembered two things that connect so many great rap videos from the 1990s.

1) The video should probably be not very good. At all. Almost inexplicably bad in some cases.

2) The key to a rap video is shoving. Whether it’s your turn to rap or not, you should be shoving someone. The more shoving the better.

So here is the video for What’s up Doc (Can We Rock?) by the Fu-Schnickens with Shaquille O’Neal.

This is a treasure trove of rap video shoving. Sometimes they shove even harder when they’re rapping. Maybe it gives them more energy.

At the 1:22 mark, someone slaps Shaq in the head. If that was me slapping Shaq, I’d hope I would get the shot in one take. He’s a big man and new to video production. His patience might fade quickly.

It also has:

– Slow motion basketball games that Shaq is not involved in and doesn’t appear to be watching. He’s not there to dunk. He’s got some rhymes to drop.

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 10.54.08 PM

– Amazing graphics. Sometimes they rap fast, and in two languages, so we are provided with what I’ve called Spiral Closed Captioning™.

– Shaq is wearing what must be a massive Sherlock Holmes-style hat.

So if you are currently editing your debut rap video, make sure it is not very good AND it has lots of shoving.

And make sure your camera is on manual focus. People in rap videos put their hands in front of the camera like they are blocking in beach volleyball.



I was driving home and heard a song on the radio. I knew Mike MacDonald was with The Doobie Brothers for a time but couldn’t quite remember when.

I almost had to pull my vehicle over so I could look up the answer and focus on driving.

When I was home, I realized that’s crazy and addressed my affliction via text message with my Dad.

And he responded much the way I will when my kids talk about pulling over their hover car one day to look something up.

Thanks Pop.


Bust That Body

I’ve always had great memories of the soundtrack that Prince did for Tim Burton’s Batman (1989). It had been a long time since I’d heard it so I put it on this weekend. It’s still great (even though it’s a weird thing to have done for that film. Let’s stay on track though).

And then we come to the last track on the album – Batdance.

Then Prince goes into another stratosphere at the 1:55 mark, as he’s prone to do. It’s a work of art that he sustains for about 2 minutes. I haven’t heard it for years, yet each note came flooding back. Pristine.

I also had an odd muscle memory near the end of the song to turn the volume down. In the last few minutes, someone yells, “You son of a bitch!”. My body must have remembered turning it down before my parents heard it.

Here it is:

My Little Sister’s Wedding Music

I am, without a doubt, my sister’s favourite brother. My brothers are 2 of my favourite people, it’s just hard to compete since I’m the oldest in the family and have always been everyone’s favourite.

So when my sister got engaged over Christmas, I could read between the lines: She’d like me to offer a steady flow of music suggestions for their wedding day. I’m perceptive like that.

I’ll be adding my music picks in this post.

The Hollies – The Air That I Breathe

Why? Here’s why.

The Hollies are criminally underrated. It’s true. Who else sang a Carrie Anne, Long Cool Woman, He Ain’t Heavy…He’s My Brother, and at the aforementioned The Air That I Breathe. And that’s just from the Greatest Hits. Go deep catalogue and get your Thank You cards ready; 1 for The Hollies, 1 for me.

This song is also 4 minutes long and will change the pace of the entire wedding. Sometimes things move to fast. Give everyone a chance to slow down and think. I mean, here’s a song about a fella who’s literally saying he only needs 2 things: 1) air that he breathes 2) to love you (possibly his lady-friend). Boom. That’s it. Nothing else*.

Also it would probably be slightly awkward, which is a bonus at a wedding.

*though in fairness this song was released the iPad was released.

Little Surfer Girl by The Beach Boys

Bert and Ernie Ante Up

It’s not just that it combines 2 things I’m fond of (Sesame Street and rap), it’s the fact that it’s really well done.

You really appreciate the editing after 55 or so viewings trust me.

My Favourite Podcasts (right now)

I was talking to Ryan and Erica (smart people in Winnipeg) about podcast apps the other day. I thought it’d be interesting to share podcasts that we each listen to, so here is my list.

The Talk Show

2011 was the year that most of my podcast feed came from Dan Benjamin’s excellent 5 by 5 Studios.

The Talk Show is a weekly show where John Gruber and Dan Benjamin cover tech (and almost anything else). Sometimes it’s straight to the point, other times it meanders, and it’s always great. One of the things that I love about the show is how they leave pauses in their conversation, which is way harder to do than it sounds when you are making a podcast. It’s informative and funny.



Back to Work

I was initially enthralled with Merlin Mann when he was a co-host on MacBreak Weekly. His commentary and humour were the highlights for me each week so I was thrilled when I found out Merlin would be doing a show (loosely) about productivity each week. It’s broadened somewhat in scope but it always comes back home.

Actually, Dan’s shows helped me take a major leap of faith in the 2010. Without the episodes of Dan’s The Conversation and The Pipeline, I wouldn’t have felt as at ease leaping. And I’m super grateful.



Roderick on the Line

Since we’re talking about Merlin Mann, he’s started a new show with John Roderick of the Long Winters. It’s hard to imagine combining more of my favourite things.




I didn’t always but I love Jonathon Goldsteins’ Wiretap on CBC. Now I do. I love it. And I’ve taken on Jonathan’s habit of saying “mmmm hmmmm”.



Canadian Tech Roundup

Yes, this is self-promotion.

The reason I don’t have any problem promoting my own show is because it struck me a few episodes ago that it’s getting good. We’ve done 40 episodes so far and I’m really proud of what we’re doing every two weeks. (Thanks Ryan for inviting me over a year ago).


Also, check out Ryan’s list. It’s good.

Wonderful Christmas Time – Paul McCartney & Wings

I’m going to post some of the best and worst Christmas songs as we get closer the 25th.

First off is this gem by Sir Paul. I’ve heard from a lot of people over the years that say they can’t stand this song. Nonsense I say.

And I counter that sentiment with the following two facts:

1) Christmas doesn’t officially start for me until I hear this song on the radio or in a store. One time I didn’t hear it until around December 18th. So Christmas was almost cancelled that year.

Now you may be thinking that this is not a fact, but merely an opinion. Correct. Thus is the nature of this weblog and that doesn’t make it any less true.

2) I haven’t seen this documented anywhere, but it’s obvious that Paul challenged himself to make the first Christmas song using a few instruments and a box of lasers. With that in mind, can you think of a better Christmas song involving lasers? You can’t can you.

Anyone can head down the studio and re-record a Christmas song someone else wrote (I’m looking at you, Elvis) but it takes a lot of courage and skill to make a song with dangerous lasers.

With that in mind, I think you’ll agree this is a great as I do.



Restore Facebook settings!

Just jokes, kids. There’s no way to make Facebook look like it did before.

Would you like to know why? Because they figured out a new way to design the site that accomplishes one, maybe two goals.

The second goal is to make a better user experience. A better user experience according to them – because it’s their site. And they can do that because it helps goal number one.

Goal number one is making money. A subgoal of goal number one is making even more money. It’s important to to remember that you use Facebook for ‘free’ because Facebook is selling your information to advertisers. Shocking, right? No.

So let’s all remember this: Facebook is not collecting feedback from user status updates, they’re busy counting money. So please save your outrage and direct that energy at stuff that’s important.

Like this and this.



And speaking of blue suit jackets. Zang.

Wowzers. I love this song and the video. Amazing.

And Chrissie Hynde is a handsome lady. One of my all-time favourites. Srsly. Amazing.


Since You’re Gone

So Weezer has covered a great song by The Cars for Pixar’s Cars 2. (both parts are a big deal in my house right now).

And it made me think of my favourite song by The Cars. For the record, if you don’t like the cars, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Until today, I’d never seen the video for my favourite song by The Cars. And it’s great. Too much to really talk about, but check out Ric Ocasek ultra-awesome, power-blue, boxy suit jacket. So, so cool.