This is a list of many books i've listed on my Goodreads "wishlist" shelf.
I already have so many books waiting to be read. I think I need to start speed-reading, or skimming. or something. Read more>>>
This is a short video I worked on a few months ago with Creatista, funded by Primavera Foundation.
I was one of 2 cameramen on the project, shooting with my Panasonic AF100. The other camera was a Red Scarlet. (Can you tell which shots are which?)
It's great to see it all come together when I only work on the production end and am not involved with post-production. It almost feels like magic. Anyway, it was a fun thing to be involved with and I'm glad I was part of it.
Via facebook I recently became aware of another dumb controversy regarding another "misbehaving" celebrity. Apparently Miley Cyrus mentioned Sinead O'Connor as an inspiration, and Sinead blew up with an open letter on her blog lecturing Cyrus about nakedness and women allowing themselves to be exploited, and then 2nd-tier pop star and media gadfly Amanda Palmer got in the act and posted an open letter back to Sinead.
Here's what I think. First of all, I've seen Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" video that started the whole debate and it seems a really sad, tragic, vulnerable song. Cyrus is either super messed up and struggling, or really really good at pretending to be.. and then to muddle that up further with the bizarre mixed (sex/violence) visual messages of the video is just a trainwreck.
But second of all, should we really care about this Catfight of the Famous? It seems to be the epitome of the Society of the Spectacle that we're all sitting around avidly reading the patronizing letters these rich pop stars are writing to each other about how wide or how level their playing fields are. The basic feminist and anti-consumerist message is great, but i'll already be passing that worldview to my children and i don't need any millionaire musicians to teach me how.(btw I'm purposely not linking to anything I'm talking about above, because that would just feed the click-hungry spectacle machine that I'm talking about.) Read more>>>
For the last year or so, I've been becoming a sort of crowdfunding (and specifically Kickstarter) expert, consulting and making videos for clients who are trying to raise funds for various projects. If you've followed me during that time you've probably seen me stumping for dollars for these various projects - a microbrewery, an organic chicken-raising collective, a couple days of carless streets in Tucson... all these things became realities thanks in part to the platform called Kickstarter, and thanks in part to my know-how in using it and social media.
Now I'm using that platform to raise funding for a project that I'm actually involved in myself: a documentary that I'm directing about homelessness, and specifically about the challenges of being homeless in Tucson, Arizona. Check out the Kickstarter video by pressing play below:
My collaborators and I are experienced filmmakers; for years we've all been involved in enough low-budget or no-budget projects to know that it costs a certain minimum amount of money to do a film properly, in such a way that people will notice it, and watch it and respect it and recommend it to others. This minimum amount is usually much higher than people not in the business expect, but much lower than the numbers thrown around in Hollywood circles. You can make films cheaply, but you do need something, and the professionals who work on even low-budget films need to eat, and pay rent, and maintain their equipment. Read more>>>
"Most parents are so exhausted by parenting that they tend to turn away from social resposibility, and toward convenience. That's just what Madison Avenue wants. Get the juice box. Get the SUV. Get the mollifying toy. I'm not suggesting that we do things perfectly. We don't. But we're trying in the ways we can."
- Steve Almond, interview in Rad Dad
"...for some reason, there seems to be a sort of denigration of parenthood. When you tell some people that you're gonna have a kid, they say things along the lines of, 'See you in eighteen years' or 'Well, you won't be sleeping any time soon.' My favorite one is 'Things are really going to change.' Well, of course they're going to fucking change. That's the whole point! You don't want life to be a static experience. Change is the idea. That's why we're here."
- Ian MacKaye, interview in Rad Dad
"... most parents simply want to get through the day however they can. Amid the inconvenience of children, they don't want the further inconvenience of having to consider themselves moral actors." - Steve Almond, inteview in Rad Dad
A few minutes ago, as my first cup of coffee still hadn't fully worked it's neurochemical magic, I found myself wishing my father could be around to see all the big changes happening in my life lately, and I wondered if there was a special blog or twitter-like social network i could post to that dead people can read.
A couple of days ago was Paul Miller's first day back on the Internet after being off it for one whole year. Miller is a tech writer and senior editor at a hip web site called The Verge (which I'd only just barely heard of and purports to cover "the intersection of tech, science, arts, and culture."). A year ago he was fed up and decided to quit, and quit the internet, but his boss said don't quit your job too, just go offline, and write for us about what it's like being offline.
The other day he wrote a piece summing it all up. It's pretty interesting, though not, IMHO, fascinating. There's a difference. But if you find the idea interesting, I'd recommend reading the article, and also, if you're a meta type, or a film/media type, watching at least the first 5 minutes of the 15-minute mini-doc about his experience (at the top of the page).
Now here are some of my thoughts about Miller's actual article and year offline:
- A lot things he writes about I am totally on board with. Most importantly, he realized that a lot of his problems or flaws in his personality or life were not caused by him being on the Internet. He didn't fix them just by going offline. He was and is still a depressed, kind of unsatisfied, restless 20-something, adrift in the modern world.
- Still, I would argue that some of his problems ARE indirectly and partially a result of the Internet - not so much him being on it, but the whole society being on it. These things stack up and are compounded by the whole culture, so just taking himself off it doesn't fix it.
- And yet, there's a lot of good things in the Internet, especially about connectedness, that he observes and that I agree with.
- All in all, I take the stunt and his writing to have one central lesson: You don't fix things by radical and sudden cold-turkey removals of one narrow aspect of your life. Moderation in all things, as some Greek philosophers once said. If you think you need to totally quit the Internet, you probably don't. If you think you don't need to quit the Internet, you probably need to at least reduce your use of it to some degree. And you probably have other things to work on too.
- Miller's only 27! So young. When the web began, he was about 7 years old. He likely doesn't remember a time when there was no Internet. I put to you that that is one of the most important things to think about regarding his stunt - he didn't "have a real life", because he had never had one (To some extent - though I agree with him that the Internet IS part of our real lives, and our life starts getting "unreal" when we forcibly remove ourselves from it, but that's only because we're part of a whole society that's on it, as I said above. I think that what we really mean when we say "unreal" is that we feel our life has lost its balance - which gets back to moderation). On the other hand, if you're about my age, you'd lived til you were about the age he is now before the Internet began to completely take over all of life. When I was 27, there was no Google, people were just barely starting to buy stuff online, almost nobody had a blog and nobody called them blogs, there was no "social networking" other than the primitive bulletin boards and IRC chat rooms that a few geeks used. We'd lived somewhat full, interesting lives without ever "checking in" or "tweeting" or "yelping" or snapping any Instagrams. EVER.(and yet, also, we were still fucked up people, for other reasons.)
- Depression and the ennui of modern life and the problem of the many ways in which you can fail at being a decent and good human is much deeper than the specifics of which alienating technology is running our lives. People wrote disturbed diatribes about the pernicious effects of television 50 years ago. It's all part of a general, steady trend that's much bigger than "the Internet".
Well, that's about it. I gotta get off my blog and go run some errands in "the real world". Read more>>>
Ten years ago today was the first morning of the Iraq War, after the "shock and awe" kickoff the night before with bombs and cruise missiles raining down on Baghdad. Remember that? On this special occasion it's appropriate for me to look back on what that time meant for me (It's kind of astounding how little attention this anniversary has received, both in the media and amongst friends' social media posts. I may be just too busy this week to look hard enough, or maybe there's a lot of collective amnesia).
The importance of that time as a turning point in my life really can't be overstated - and I don't mean this simply as a sort of standard, progressive narrative, in an anti-war activist hand-wringing way, lamenting the many ways in which the Iraq War and the Bush Administration were a terrible move for the worse for the U.S. and for the world (of which I agree there are many of those ways). What I have in mind is more personal: simply put, the leadup to the war in early 2003 was a profoundly radicalizing experience for me, which led me for the first time to really get involved with Indymedia, and also led to me starting to see myself, and act as, a citizen journalist, and perhaps most important Read more>>>
I'm a little late to the game on this little online kerfuffle, but it's still worth me weighing in. A week ago, Nate Thayer, a freelance journalist/writer with a long and distinguished career on his vita, posted to his blog complaining about being asked to do some work for free by The Atlantic. They wanted him to re-write and summarize a piece that he had done previously for another site, and then they wanted to put it on the Atlantic's website. He declined, and then publicised the incident.
A couple days later Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor of The Atlantic, responded on his blog to Thayer. They both have some good points, but they're both also guilty of representing their end of the debate with their own particular slants (of course).
I think the original reporter, Nate Thayer, is speaking in his original post and other comments he had made, from a place of pain and hardship. He clearly is having a hard time making ends meet, and his frustration Read more>>>
I think reading and books has been just about my longest-running vice. I've been into reading every since I actually learned how as a child. It's one of my few weaknesses as a consumer, although I have learned to resist a little better the impulse to keep buying books.
I definitely need to spend more time reading the ones I have already bought.
A while back I got into this site Goodreads, and if you've been reading my blog for the last couple years you've seen my reviews there get auto-posted here. I'm trying to decide if I should add this goodreads recent updates widget to the sidebar of my blog. That way people can see not only the occasional book that I finish reading, but also the endless flood of books I desire. I probably add one to my "to-read shelf" once a day or so.