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The best – and by “best” I mean “most convincing” – prank I ever pulled on April Fool’s Day was convincing my girlfriend (long since an ex-girlfriend) that someone had rear-ended her car while I was driving it. And by “most convincing” I mean that she was convinced the story was true – regardless of how ham-fisted my execution of the prank happened to be. I’m no good at bullshitting people – I always end up cracking and only the most gullible will fall prey to my machinations. I’m certain that Sadia knew it was April Fool’s Day – we had talked about it that very morning. And I was probably giggling when I told her the “news” over the phone. But unfortunately for her (and for me, as it turned out), she believed me. She ended up falling so hard for it that she started crying. My frantic reassurances that everything was okay eventually mollified her, but the damage had been done. It certainly wasn’t the reason we broke up (my leaving the country was probably the driving force there) but it certainly didn’t help a relationship that was already in pretty tough shape.

The year before, when I was still in school in Johannesburg, I thought I had pulled a good one.  We were headed on a field trip for my environmental engineering class to see a mine dump, and when we headed outside to wait for the buses I convinced my professor that someone from the administration had passed on a message that the buses had been canceled.  He was a good sport about it when I fessed up, but thanks to an unfortunate coincidence, the buses ended up being over an hour late.  Which meant that every minute that went by I got more and more worried that the professor would take it out on me.  And even though I could feel him directing some his frustration at me that day, I did fine on my final project – and he was even nice enough to dig it out of his archives a few years later when I needed it for a job application.

I haven’t attempted much of anything since those two pranks backfired.  But I did throw a little something into this post – hats off to you if you can spot it.  With regards to the banner picture – it’s adapted from the cover of John Kennedy O’Toole’s classic “A Confederacy of Dunces.” O’Toole committed suicide on March 26, 1969 – forty-two years ago – so we’ll be dedicating this mixtape in his honor and hope that by this point he’s managed to figure out the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.

Enjoy the mixtape. And please feel free to share your own best prank stories in the comments!

mm_twitter[1]We live in a self-absorbed culture. Everything we do is shared through blogs, status updates, and tweets. Now that people have the Internet on their phones, nobody is more than a second away from an update. Yet, in this age of instantaneous content, cinema is still going strong.

Hollywood has panicked a bit in the last few years. For a time, box office numbers took a dive, and they began to blame their troubles on piracy. First, let’s discuss that logic. The entertainment industry always labels pirated works as “lost sales.” That’s not quite true. It’s difficult to predict whether the people who watch pirated movies would have actually paid for that work in the first place. People who use cracked software generally do so out of necessity, and how can the software industry really justify the prices they charge?

None of what I say is the equivocal truth, but then again, neither is the industry’s complaint of “lost sales.” I don’t even know where to look for ripped movies. The people who do it, thought prevalent, still make up an incredibly small number. Would it be justified for the retail industry to blame poor sales on shoplifting, and to call those incidents “lost sales?”

green_lantern_symbol1If you’re a fan of superhero flicks, fan-made films or comics in general, then chances are you’ve seen the phenomenally well-crafted Green Lantern trailer that recently hit the web. In spite of its highly professional look, it was not made or sanctioned by anyone working at Warner Brothers — it’s a fan-made trailer, cobbled together with well-edited scenes from more than two dozen films, by Jaron Pitts.

Jaron is just a married guy living in Texas with his family, minding his own business…one who happens to be highly talented at putting together trailers that spark a nerve in the collective consciousness. His trailer for Green Lantern has many fans of the hero now convinced that his vision will surpass anything Warner Bros. can come up with for their real flick, which is currently in production. I reached out to Jaron recently to find out how in our world–or on Oa–he came up with such an amazing trailer, and here’s what he had to say…

Tell us about yourself. What do you do for a living, and what are your long term goals?

I’m 26 and live in Dallas, TX with my wife and two little girls. I am a multimedia director and worship leader for a church here in town. My long term goals are somewhat vague, but I would say that if I put them into words it might limit them. Who doesn’t dream to work in the movie industry?