Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ytmnd, the blender of culture

Most people have never heard of ytmnd, or "You're the Man Now, Dog!"

It more or less started out as a place where people would post mini-sites consisting only of a tiled picture, an endlessly looping sound and zooming text. All this in theory serves to capture a brief snippet of something good, and beat you over the head with it.

The first site I ever made, back in 2004, reflected this trend pretty well. I basically just photoshopped two things together to fit the sound clip. I wasn't a regular on the site at the time, but when I logged in a year later the thing had accumulated a couple thousand hits.

Things started getting more complicated on ytmnd as time went on though. Animated gifs became popular, and sites started turning into fads as their content was recycled repeatedly, and fads eventually started getting all mixed up as folks would jam images and sound clips from different sites together, in effect taking some of the best and most memorable moments from film and media, grinding them up and turning them into something entirely new.

Making a ytmnd is simple enough to allow for a lot of creative freedom, as you can really roll out just about anything if you have a couple hours, a good idea and some photoshop knowledge. Around 2006, however, when I was probably most involved with the site, ytmnds began getting a lot more elaborate.

The tiled image and zooming text started to go out of style, pretty much everything was animated, and the standards for quality went way up. They even thought up a whole alternate universe where the fads are slightly different.

This one was from 2006 is still my most popular ytmnd, with 26,000 hits to date and a pretty decent rating. It's nothing compared to the best ones out there, but I enjoyed my brief internet success. All it took was a few screenshots/audio from a DVD, knowledge of the "one man star wars" guy and a pretty good idea.

I haven't really been following the fads much since I left high school, but I like coming back to the site now and then whenever I get a good ytmnd idea or feel like some mindless entertainment.

Now they even have a nifty feature where you can have a background image and.. a foreground image! You're going to have to humor me, it was exciting. I used it to decent effect in my last ytmnd outing.

Anyway, that's just a little background on an obscure site I'm into. Maybe sometime I'll post a quick guide to creating ytmnds.

--D Ham

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Little About Me

I might be making this up, but I think it’s traditional to start a blog with some background.

For those of you who may not know me (or know me very well), I’m currently a fourth-year physics and music student at Berkeley. I do research in the Space Sciences Laboratory on magnetic reconnection in the Earth’s atmosphere, I play Mellophone (F horn) in the Cal Band and I live in a big house near campus with many other bandsmen. I also do a little political stuff as an editor of the Berkeley Political Review.

I'm a nerd and in my spare time I like to play board games, when I can; not that Parker Brothers/Milton Bradley stuff, but more obscure fare such as Citadels, Power Grid, and Puerto Rico. A few of my friends and I have been accumulating a now-pretty-eclectic collection of these “Eurogames,” as they’re called, and we play them on a pretty regular basis.

I also enjoy Flash games, the type you may find on such websites as Kongregate or Newgrounds. I generally play them because they theoretically take less time to play than “real” computer games, but I often end up needing to block those websites during midterm/finals season after spending entirely too much time on them.

I like good movies and follow a few funny sketch comedy groups on Youtube, and I have an on-and-off interest in the humor/etc website ytmnd.com, where pretty much anyone can make something amusing if they have a good idea and a little time.

I get out sometimes too, and enjoy heading out to parties or the local bars when I can. Right now I’m in a relationship with a nice girl who likes me pretty well.

I'll probably be talking about interesting stuff in life and media I hear about or come across it. If I stick with this, I hope to provide some good material from time to time. Wish me luck!

--D Ham