How about a media fast today?
Instead of wallowing in the miserable media mud pit, turn off your computer, TV, radio, phone, and avoid the paper or magazines if you can.
You can't avoid it completely. Some fool will come up to you and ask you where you were when it happened, and how terrible it was, and how we need to fly our flags so the they don't win this war(?). Just nod, smile, and get away from them as quickly as possible.
Go call your boyfriend, play with your kids, hug your mom, write a letter to your senator, etc. Do something in the here and now.
My friend Ndesanjo Macha attended the recent Wikipedia conference and was featured in the New York Times for his work on the Swahili version of Wikipedia.
I'm not sure which is cooler, NYT coverage, or helping to create a web based free content encyclopedia in your own language.
I'll vote for the wiki.
Be sure to check out his blogs.
Arty picture of a tick...
So I get started on this parasite trip.
Go to Flickr.com>Explore>Creative Commons>Attribution license, and do a search for parasites and you come up with stuff like this.
This amazing arty picture of a tick burrowed up to its neck in this person.
Beautifully composed and exposed shot that makes my skin crawl.
Chad has some really neat posts about his experiences covering the bird flu in Indonesia. He's doing a bit of online brainstorming to try to come up a PSA/public health education program to help out. Some good suggestions are using SMS messaging, or hijacking the Indo version of telenovelas, called sinetrons to spread a better meme.
Let's help them come up with a Mr. Yuk for H5N1.
(Mr. Yuk via wikipedia.org)
My friend Chad is back to blogging at http://jakartachad.blogspot.com with some great posts about the avian flu outbreak and the government responses. While he describes some horrific and frightening incidents, he once again manages to put a human face on this tragedy. Check it out.
What the hell am I doing??
I need to update my lame excuses book.
-Planets out of alignment
There, everything's covered.
Now I can get back to sitting around in my underwear, searching Youtube for girls gone wild videos, eating fried egg sandwiches, and draining any scrap of creativity I have left.
Sorry for leaving everybody hanging.
I was so burnt out from the process that I fled to the comfort of Hogtown for a much needed vacation.
Now that I'm back and I have some perspective on those 48 hours, I'll try to make some sense of it all.
Our genre was horror, our prop was bubble wrap, our line was "It's just like my mother always told me." , and we had to have a character named Bob or Barbara Jones.
We had a great crew of volunteers to help out. Unfortunately, I'm not sure they knew what they were getting themselves into.
We had a great time, and pulled some hellacious allnighters wrasslin' with this beast.
It was fun, frustrating, and like all short/intense relationships, ultimately a heartbreaker.
To make a long story short, Team Daydreamthief did technically complete a film in 48 hours, although we missed the deadline to turn in our project by about 20 minutes.
Because we missed the deadline, our film was not eligible for the contest. Bummer.
Bummer may be the wrong word. The film we turned in was by no means a completed project. More like a very very rough draft.
I'll post some more notes on this experience and I'll try to get a copy of our movie up on the web to pick apart as a lesson in how not to make a movie.
Whether you're a Democratic-Republican or a Federalist, pour a little bit of mead on the corner for the original gangsters.
202 years ago today Vice President Aaron Burr fatally wounded former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey.
Better watch your step when you besmirch the character of cabinet member who packs a flint lock gat.
(image via wikipedia.org)
Everyone put their burgers and kool-aid down for a few minutes and let's just take some time to really read this document and think about how this experiment is going.
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
Enjoy your fireworks show.
While technically this is a "Thanksgiving Prayer", this piece by Burroughs really cuts to the dark heart of this holiday. There are a lot of great things about this country, but there is also a really dark aspect to our history. Leave it to the deviant gentleman junkie to pick at the bloody flag that covers the foul smelling wound that America won't disinfect.
Mission accomplished, Dr. Benway.
Okay, my man is laying it all out for the Charlotte city council. No ice in the arena, somebody with their hand in the pie, and now a rogue helicopter pilot flying between the magnolia tree (you know the one) and his property line. Looks like they're gonna just sit on their hands again. Well I urge my audience to help my friend out and call John Walsh and urge him to issue a America's most wanted alert.
Is George Shinn a chameleon lemon headed coward terrorist pussy? Maybe... maybe.
Just watched David Cronenberg's Videodrome for the first time.
It's not like I wasn't aware of this film before today. I had seen clips and read some brief descriptions of the plot. But nothing can prepare you for that kind of biomech hallucinatory horror. Amazing. I can't even imagine what that would have done to my 13 year old brain.
I love the original trailer for the film. Like something programmed by some Euro demo coders circa 1983. Beautiful. Looks like Criterion has released a great version with lots of neat goodies.
I had just watched A History of Violence, which was pretty underwhelming. This movie reminded me of the director that I know and love.
Long live the new flesh.
I'm keeping one eye on the news and another on Chad's blog.
Browsing through Robotwisdom and I came upon this amazing video link of four turntablists named Birdy Nam Nam from Paris. Great to see people taking this artform in completely different directions. The scratching that came from the early days of hip hop, pushed by pioneers such as DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Grand Wizard Theodore, has blossomed into this artform all its own.
Sorry for the absence.
Took a bit of a break to recharge my batteries and reseat my logic cards.
Helping out with the Mount Merapi blog took more out of me than I thought.
It was kind of hard switching modes. The Merapi blog was a much more serious endeavor, and it didn't feel quite right bouncing back to my blog and blathering about movies, media, and me. Not that I don't think that the light and the weird have their places, it's just that I'd like to separate that stuff with some respectful distance. Events are still very bad in that part of the world. If you feel like helping out, please do.
As for me, I'm gonna get back up on my pony and ride off in the other direction. See what the digital prospectors have turned up on the other side of those hills yonder.
(Emperor Norton via Wikipedia)
Say it again!
Okay that's not fair.
The recent events are making me seriously look at what I (and all the other netheads) are doing.
I recently posted to a local Greensboro board about my thoughts on the state of the blogosphere.
I'll mirror part of that text here -
As a netizen and newborn blogger/vlogger, I'm wondering can any of this help anybody. Initially I helped him set up his site as an experiment. We were trying to see if we could find an alternative way to tell real human stories and bypass the barriers presented by traditional media. Little burps of gas and lava from the mountain and a nightmare of technical problems just trying to carry on the most rudimentary forms of electronic communication were all we achieved on the first try. Now this. Destruction on a massive scale. Thousands dead and/or dying. Whole villages leveled. Roads and tracks buckled and folded like ribbons. And Chad is going back into the heart of that. Between his straight day job of reporting for VOA and NPR he's going to try to put a human face and voice to what only appears as a body count and a 30 second news blurb. Can he do it? I hope so. But I have my doubts. The place was chaotic before a 6.2 quake. I imagine it hasn't improved any. So what does any of this have to do with us? Katrina wasn't that far away from Greensboro. Did netizens make a difference there? And what happens the next time a hurricane chews its way through NC? What brave soul will be on the front lines, blogging their experiences and the experiences of the people around them? And will that bring the National Guard in any faster? Are we all just a bunch of dreamy, head in the infocloud, early adopter dreamers? Well, what do you think?
And then there's the problem with tyrants and theocrats...
But that's another post.
I just did a quick emergency post over at the Mount Merapi blog for my friend Chad.
There was a 6.2 earthquake in the area of Yogyakarta and thousands are dead and injured. Chad wasn't in the area at the time, but he is on his way back to report on the disaster.
I guess there are a bunch of people who feel like me this morning. Relieved because our friend/colleague/son/brother is safe, sickened because of the massive loss of life and unimaginable suffering, and freaked out knowing he's going back into this area to report. I was chatting with him while he was preparing to go, and my stomach was in knots. I can't even imagine what he must be feeling. In the end I realize the only thing I can do is help him get all sides of the story out, and hopefully that will make some kind of difference. And I know that if there's one person who can bring back something human and true, it's Chad.
I love me some youtube. Lord knows I do.
Let's break down the debate going on in my head.
Content aside, the interface for uploading is dirt simple and fast.
Straight forward interface and audience numbers seem to be huge and growing by the second.
But their design is way too clunky and old school.
And the quality is so so.
On the other hand there is blip.tv.
Nice clean design. Lots of groovy options for CC licensing, and better creative control of my content.
It posts immediately in the format that I uploaded. QT produces a QT popup and WMV produces a WMV popup. A popup! Have I mentioned how much I hate popups? And what if the average viewer is having OS issues with the alternate OS media format. Flash may not give me the best quality, but it seems to be a play anywhere kind of solution. And it takes forever to post a flash version. I may be way out of touch on this one, but I'd much rather take the hit in quality and reach a larger audience than get in the middle of some media player format war.
I know I'm missing quite a few points, but these are the ones that immediately jump out at me.
What do you guys think?
Anybody have any thoughts?
The academic creative drought has ended.
The irony that I can be a film student and not have any time for my own creative expressions isn't lost on me.
Messing around with Resolume and Premiere.
Music/glitch sounds via ML Oslo EP @ http://www.opsound.org/artist/ml/ under a Creative Commons license.
Over at the Mount Merapi Blog, there's a great new post that ties in volcanism, meta -reporting, magic, and golf. That's what I'm talking about. The volcano is big scary news, but in the end it's just God's giant science fair project. It's the human stories that make this interesting and important. Listening to my friend navigate his way through a conversation with village women making food for refugees. Reading about the challenges and frustrations to transmit a relatively minute amount of information to the rest of the world. The lull when the mountain stops producing scary news, and reporters have to scramble to find an angle. No reign of lava and ash? Go find that golf course that's just a few miles from the volcano and find out what the owners were thinking.
(image via the Merapi Golf website)
I just did a guest post on Chad's blog about this new experiment and what it means for indy media.
Is it just pie in the sky net dreams?
Can anybody make a difference?
There's a lot of things in the world that could use some fixing right now (Shrub, I know you're listening...)
Can we take back the media?
Can we fix our broken political machine?
Educate our children (and adults)?
Take care of the poor and sick?
Keep our planet from becoming a barren wasteland?
Keep religious wackos from blowing us up (don't point Shrub, I'm talking to you too)
Tech alone won't do it.
I've come to the conclusion that the last great barrier that we have to conquer is our territorial primate brains. We're like these freaked out chimps, wandering around screeching into cell phones and beating on keyboards. Technology has completely passed us by. We really haven't changed in 200,000 years. We can just fling our feces farther and with greater accuracy.
We need to figure out why we do what we do, and how we can change or short circuit our monkey brains.
Time to evolve.
...why don't you do it yourself?
I'll put up a Paypal donate button on the sidebar.
As an independent multimedian, I would love to make some sort of living from this.
Cable modem, laptop, software, cameras, mini dv tapes all start to add up after a while. If I could just cover those expenses, this experiment would be worth it.
This is a no no/low pressure request.
If you like what you see, and you can afford it, please drop a few bucks in. If not, no problem. The only thing I ask is that you leave a comment or pass on a link to someone else.
To my family and friends, you can still look me in the eye. This isn't a guilt trip. But if holidays/birthdays/graduation rolls around and you are stumped for a gift idea, a donation would fill that need.
I'm also open to barter. If you have a project you need help with and it fits my skill set (video production, photography/photo manipulation, NLE, animation, writing...) drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with barter in the subject line.
Doing research for Chad's net journalism project, I drew inspiration from Joshua Ellis' project Dark Miracle. I first came across Joshua's story via boingboing. Joshua uses Paypal and micropatronage to fund his work. Amazing story, and an important step in the future of newmedia. Check out his site and this video. And if you can afford it, drop in a few bucks. A little bit here and there can make all the difference.
My friend Chad, who is a freelance reporter living in Jakarta, Indonesia is in Jogjarkarta, about ten miles from Mount Merapi, reporting on it's impending eruption. He has set up a blog, and is making his first foray into Net journalism. He's in the process of setting up a Paypal tip jar to help with his expenses. Stop by, and if you can, help him out.
Also, check out Trish Anderton's personal blog about life in Jakarta. An amazing writer and reporter.
There's a new update on the Chad's volcano blog.
I'm trying to help him get a Paypal button set up so he can take donations for his work.
Until then, stop by and leave some comments and encouragement.
This semester I was volunteer teaching film to the kids at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Greensboro. Amazing experience. I hope the kids learned as much from me as I learned from them.
We will have a showing of the kid's works at the Carousel Theatre in Greensboro, at 7 PM this evening, with part of the ticket sales going back to the club. Stop by and enjoy the show.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Eric Patrick and Ndesanjo Macha for all of their help, support and guidance.
I'd also like to thank the other teachers. Dara, Amber, Ryan and Aaron, you guys did an awesome job. Dara's link has a much better account of the experience (she also has a great blog - check it out).
Watch all three.
Looks like youtube has pulled the vids due to "copyright infringement", but crooks and liars still has some links to videos of the event.
Check out this post about the controversy on Boingboing.
Looks like C-SPAN has officially posted the videos to Google video.
Watch the Video
I just posted this clip to blip.tv.
I've been wandering around the net, trying out different video services.
I'll try to post a review of the best/worst in the near future.
Here's a link to the youtube post of this vid for comparison.
The resolution isn't as nice, but I'm wondering if the flash format makes it a bit more accessible. Any thoughts from my Mac/Linux/TRS-80 running BSD friends?
So I'm paddling through the electro surf on youtube, and I do a search for Outkast which leads me to this kid doing the crip walk in his living room which leads me to this wikipedia entry which leads me back to youtube to a whole bunch of crip walk media ( as well as blood walking ). Then I google "crip blog" and I come across this site which leads me to the postings of this girl from Indy. Her posts are this chaotic blend of gang lingo mixed with netspeak. On February 9th she posts that she thinks she's pregnant. Suddenly we see this scared teenager drop the gang girl pose. She's absent for a few months, and then posts that it was a false alarm, and the tough girl is back.
So where am I going with this?
I'm not sure.
There are a million different stories that I could follow from just this tangential journey.
-What is a gang??
-Gang subcultures and rituals
-The growth of independent viral gang media
-The connection of gangs and hip hop
-How do police, parents, teachers, etc. define a gang?
-How do they define themselves?
-What about wannabe culture?
-If you post on a site devoted to promoting gang culture, make videos of yourself crip walkin', take pictures of yourself in gang colors, does that make you a gang member?
on and on and on...
Good source for a movie.
Now I just need to find a filmmaker...
Hold on a second.
What am I saying?
Why does this remind me of Bellona in Dhalgren?
The idea that there is this ghost city in the Ukraine still glowing with poison from Chernobyl is strangely attractive in some way.
I have the bizarre desire to put on a heavy duty hazmat suit and play in the ruins of this man-made Pompeii.
This photo just blows me away.
When was the last time you saw someone in this country who feels passionate enough about his political views to take on the police with a wrist rocket??
phalano.com is a great blog about the protests going on in Nepal.
It makes me feel kind of guilty and spoiled.
Maybe I'll write a letter to my representative.
It's a start.
Big news for documentary fans.
Bright Eye Pictures is releasing their film Monster Road on DVD.
This is an amazing film about the animator Bruce Bickford, with a fantastic soundtrack
Disclaimer of bias... Brett Ingram was one of my professors, but I was a fanboy even before taking his class. Watching this movie encouraged me to take his class, and to think about documentary filmmaking in a whole new way. Great teacher, great filmmaker.
Go out and buy a copy for yourself and a friend.
I can't wait to see his new film Renaldo.
Fridays were going to be video haiku day, but flash wasn't playing nice with my other programs, so I leave you with this gem from the mullet haiku archive.
Sphinx standing guard
A double-wide sarcophagus
Get off my property
( mullet by mulletjunky.com )
Damn if I can say it you can slap me right here!
Why I hate acapella...
Well, not these guys.
You have to give them credit for being able to rock those old school chops and wear those straw hats.
But everyone else is on notice.
I'm declaring a 10 year moratorium on this scourge.
I'm not banning it completely.
We just need to give it a rest.
I don't want to hear any more versions of the Super Mario theme mashed up with Jesus Christ Superstar mashed up with Hey Jude.
It's cute for about 5 minutes, then it makes me want to smash things.
It feels good to finally get that off my chest.
I've decided to make Fridays my video theme day.
This Friday is going to be video haiku day.
Video because... because it's on video.
Haiku because it's a short... kinda poetic...
Just trust me.
It's a video haiku.
17 seconds = 17 syllables
That's about as close as I could come this week.
I'll be a bit more strict about the rules in the future.
Feel free to submit your own vidkus.
I'll post the best.
...it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.
It's time for old school hip hop video Thursday.
Let's get in the time machine.
Set the dial to 1983.
I'm sitting in my mom's car listening to a best of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five tape I just bought at Jamesway.
Playing The Message and Survival over and over and over...
Like Biggie said-
I let my tape rock 'til my tape popped.
For a 13 year old white kid from rural PA, this was like a bomb going off in my brain.
Wannabe? Sure, I'll own up to that title.
And I so wanted to be.
Anything but what I was.
What kid doesn't want to be someone else for a bit?
A trip on the wheels of steel helped me see the world in a different way.
How many job applications for how many McJobs did I want to answer the questions like this?
Here are some ways to educate yourself and get involved in the copyfight.
If you're looking for a much more flexible alternative to the current copyright model-
A model based on the open source movement-
A Stanford Law School professor who has done a great deal to help shape the arguments against the current model-
Helping to fight for citizen's rights in a digital age-
Exhibition of art that pushes the boundaries of sample culture-
This is just a small sample of interesting links to get you started.
Create something and share it.
Support those artists who do the same.
Encourage those who don't.
Lather, rinse, and repeat.
(image licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5)
Tofuhut has a great piece about the Sinatra/Biggie mashup and the recent court case that stopped sales of Biggie's '94 album Ready to Die.
This kind of stuff makes me ill. Who benefits from these suits? Let me see... record companies/lawyers?!? The line between protecting the artist and stifling the creative process has been erased a long time ago. This goes way beyond hip hop and music sampling. Can anyone point to one art form that doesn't borrow from something else? Art is cannibalistic.
I'm all for protecting the artist, but we have to figure out a new way to deal with the issues of intellectual property. The techno-genie is out of the bottle. We better focus on our three wishes. And no, we can't wish for unlimited wishes.
Strangely haunting and peaceful at the same time.
When I was a kid Stevie Wonder was like a god to me.
His sound was this incredible mixture of soul and electronic wizardry.
Even today, I get chills when I hear a song like "Superstition".
Dig Stevie covering The Carpenters' "Close to You" using a talk box.