Your chance to be in a pop superstar’s video is in the palm of your hand, a game that challenges you to step quickly or risk turning into rabbit pie, and a guide to some top-shelf movies: they’re all on this week’s web tour.
Until now, I would have associated this game with Bruce Babbitt, a U.S. cabinet secretary in the Bill Clinton era. Babbit, with one T, is a browser-based game in which you’re the rabbit. The goal? Move up and down, quickly, but more importantly, at the right moment, pick up carrots without running afoul of a farmer’s trap. (When you do, you turn into, um, a pie. Subtle!) For a couple of evenings this week, Babbit has been a friendly companion, and one hard to ignore once you get the swing of it.
Want to be in a music video? Pop singer Bruno Mars has been offering a unique opportunity. In a collaboration with Instagram to promote his new single “Treasure,” this site is pulling in video uploads that have the hashtag #treasuredance. It looks like plenty of people, especially kids, have taken the challenge. A parental note: the video opens with some R-rated language. Play with the knobs on the retro-looking TV to find out more about an Instagram user you like.
Speaking of those little web videos, let’s have a checkup on the Vine vs. Instagram competition for microvideos you can make in your phone. I have both on my phone, and I do like them. Vine gets kudos for getting out of the gate first with six-second mini-movies. (They’re actually about 6 1/2 seconds, if we’re being really picky, but given that the stop-and-start mechanism makes each frame valuable, it all adds up.)
Instagram, though, catapulted ahead with some innovations when it launched its video feature this summer. First, its videos can run to 15 seconds. You can back up and delete a shot if your sequence is not coming together properly. It also allows users accustomed to filters to adapt them here, too. My favourite function? Being able to pick a cover shot. Still, we’re in a nascent period with these kinds of videos, and Vine (which allows embedding) will likely have new tricks up its sleeve soon.
MUN Cinema Series
St. John’s still lacks the repertory cinema that it deserves and that movie buffs crave, but where would the city be without the MUN Cinema Series? Each fall and winter on Thursday evenings at the Avalon Mall, it brings in foreign films, independent films, documentaries and other gems. Sure, you can track them down on DVD or download them, but there is, of course, nothing like the big screen.
Household plants that are hard to kill
I am not exactly known for having a green thumb, particularly with houseplants, which I’m sure get panicky when they learn I’m looking after them. A good solution for people like me? Plants that can put up rather nicely from what could delicately be called light maintenance (or neglect, to be more blunt). Aloe and spider plants are my friends — not just because they look awesome, but because I know they’ll manage in spite of me.
Bored? Take a minute or two to gaze through some of the funny pictures, jokes, etc., that people have raked up from the Internet. Not everything may be to your taste, but you’ll likely find a smile to keep you rolling through your day.
John Gushue is a producer with CBC in St. John’s.