lextopia

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Archive for the ‘SXSW’

Another Few Small Repairs…

April 09, 2008 By: admin Category: Gadgets/Tech, Happiness, House, Not So Big, SXSW, Video

My new office is all set up in the Temporary House and, through the process of moving again, I’ve discovered that the sum total of all of my stuff can comfortably fit in a Honda CRV pulling a 5×8 U-Haul trailer. I see this as good news because it makes me sustainable, but I can also see it as an indication that I don’t need to live so frugally all the time. In truth, I do buy one HUGE piece of equipment every year. Computer bit, camera bit, software. YA GOTTA HAVE SOFTWARE.

Software geek interlude…

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This bad boy is something I call Mama’s Little Helper. I started my love affair with Red Giant‘s original “Magic Bullet for Editors,” then–at SXSW–bought Stu Maschewitz’s genius book “The DV Rebel’s Guide” that teaches you how to add visual effects to your film on the cheap! Soon I’ll upgrade to the”Looks” package and have my way with the 100 new presets!!!

Anyway, when starting to live “Not So Big,” you have to stand on your head. That’s what my movement teach used to say in acting school… her point was that you’d never learn how the world looked upside-down unless you flipped yourself over. She then went on to extol the virtues of seeing old things in new ways… She was a very good teacher…

SO, in searching for the right home, the first thing to do is to ask myself: “What do I love?” What do I love to do, what do I love to see, how do I love to feel? Well, after only a few pages of Sarah Susanka’s incredible book (“The Not So Big House”–link above…) I know that I LOVE natural light in a room, LOVE to cook, and LOVE to interact with guests while I’m cooking. This implies that the home I’m looking for either has to have a kitchen that’s open to the main gathering room, or one that’s re-modelable to be so, and comes with HUGE or PLENTIFUL windows throughout. Sounds like a good start…

And We’re Back…

March 30, 2008 By: admin Category: Fatblogging, Food, Health, House, Propeller, sustainability, SXSW, Video

So, I’ve been away… :) Thinking, looking at houses, enjoying the company of my incredible brother and sister-in-law, and missing Molly. NOTE TO SELF: never go looking at houses again without Molly. The trip East went very well. It wasn’t as humbling as, you know, India, but it did it’s part to show me that some steps do, in fact, need to be taken slowly.

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By the way, I am absolutely aware of how phallic or rude this photo looks…

I’ve never been good at “slowly.” It always felt like I was just standing on the platform waiting for the train to pass me rather than trying to get on it. I get that from Dad. Looking at his life you can clearly see the action. He finished college in three years, spent some study time in London, took his mother and brother on an insane driving trip through Russia… The same is true for my uncle, my father’s brother. Not a “sitter,” Uncle Vince climbed all of the highest peaks in Colorado before he was, like, 30, or something. He slept in a nylon cot swinging from carabiners attached to the side of a mountain 14,000 feet in the air. He built additions to his house, took pictures underwater while diving at depth, taught himself how to be an email sys-admin geek, and found and married one of the last people on the whole Earth, my aunt. :) Actually, that’s a good next place to go…

My family has chosen partners incredibly well. We seem to officially have the gift. That or there really are a whole shitload of most-excellent people in the world and if you’re not finding them it’s because you still have that gnarly 2×4 stuck harshly up your ass. Finding beautiful people means finding the beauty within yourself. It’s that simple. This trip East helped me to realize, yet again, how influential and beneficial Molly is in my life. Looking at all those houses I kept blinking and refocusing, trying to see what she might see, knowing that whatever-it-was, I wasn’t seeing it and that that could, ultimately, mean disaster if I’d made a decision without her.

So, okay. Lesson learned. Now what? Now, we learn After Effects and C-R-A-N-K on work. I learned so much great shit in Austin and am eager to get rolling implementing it all. In June we drive East, racing. Molly has a job that starts the day we arrive, and I have to continue my prep for the various projects I’m doing. I’ll miss Los Angeles, but it’s time to go. It’s time to stop being afraid of my potential and get on the goddamned train. Wish me Bon Voyage, y’all!

FAT-BLOGGING:
Weight is steadily decreasing as I’ve stopped drinking. Again. Seriously, you can’t imagine how much tub just falls away when you put the glass down… As a result of my last video in the “FOOD” segment of the Sustainability Series, I am eating more fruits & veggies and, as Michael Pollan puts it, eating meat more “as a side dish.” It’s painful and I wanna die. 😉

See Lex Learn — Why SXSW Kicked So Much Ass

March 17, 2008 By: admin Category: General, SXSW, Video, Web 2.0

It was really Jane McGonigal. She was talking about happiness. Everything she said I’d heard two years prior when I was working at Laureate Education making a film on psychology for their Master’s program in mental health. I was tasked with studying seven different schools of thought in the field of psychology, and then had to interview psychologists who practiced each discipline. It was AWESOME. Sadly, the interviews and prep fro them took place at the time my mother was dying, but something would have been happening at that time, if it wasn’t that. My great regret on that front is that I was so involved with my work that I didn’t hear the signs in my parents’ voices that something was definitely “up” and I should come home immediately. They didn’t ask, and I didn’t figure it out until very, very late. I would have quit my job and gone home. Walked around the yard in Carlisle with my Mom one more time. Just like Dad got to do.

Ah well… Death is part of the whole Kit and Kaboodle (which, if you’ve never actually written down, is a GAS to type…).

ANYWAY, so one of the psychologies I studied was Positive Psychology. A dude named Martin Seligman developed it in the 70s, I think, and recently TIME Magazine had a huge article on it. It is very bitchin stuff and I ate it up, so I was THRILLED to hear this genius, Jane McGonigal, talking about it and applying it to game development. I can’t say much more until a project is more confirmed, but suffice it to say that I have an idea for Propeller that would kick ass, and I’m eager to research and pitch it.

(ASIDE: Propeller’s killer Scout, Tim A. Loftis, just set me up with Bebo because AOL just bought it. What a slick, smarty he is… anyway, here’s my profile. It’s funny enough that you’ll want to check it out, but if you have to sign up at Bebo in order to see it then don’t bother. Of course, don’t tell AOL I said that…;)

More soon…

“I Sat In Front of God And Listened To Him Speak”

March 13, 2008 By: admin Category: Gadgets/Tech, Propeller, SXSW

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So, I was in Austin, TX from 3/7 to 3/12 and had a wonderful time. I was at the SXSW (South By Southwest) Interactive conference which included a lot of great panels and exhibits about everything related to web interactive issues. The whole Propeller team was there: developers, anchors, and a few scouts and it was awesome getting to know them. They’re all SOOOOO smart and creative, and so I’m psyched to be able to pick their brains about future videos. On that note, actually, while at SXSW, we shot a short film to introduce the whole team to the users. I’m doing it in film noir style and shooting everyone against a green screen so we can have some flexibility about the background. What everyone has come up with for themselves is HYSTERICAL. Funny, funny bunch of folks…

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For three days I was at panels all day. Mostly panels about mobile technology and video. Everyone at this conference was so smart and creative that it was a really exciting environment to be. Easily the best work trip I’ve ever been on.

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Stu Maschwitz

The first day I started off with the panel “Digital Effects and Animation on a Budget.” Incredible. One of the founders of The Orphanage was on the panel. His name is Stu Maschwitz, but I call him God. He created Magic Bullet, an incredible film look filters program that I use on everything. It’s kinda the reason I get up in the morning. Stu also has a killer book which I bought: “The DV Rebel’s Guide,” and have already used some of the tenets from in my first fiction film, “No Comment,” the film noir for Propeller. If I’m anything in the realm of filmmaking, it’s a DV rebel. I never use lights, I always do things quickly (and usually handheld), and always only shoot as little as I possibly need. This book was MADE for me… :)

More later but I wanted to get this post up before too much more time had passed…