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Archive for the ‘Propeller’

Confessions of a Press Pass Abuser

August 28, 2008 By: admin Category: Campaign 2008, DNC, Propeller


I don’t have an “Arena” pass. The one I have reads “Perimeter.” A Perimeter pass let’s a person from the press do three things: go inside the media tent to slave away in curtained-off vestibules beside better-funded news outlets, hover in the scorching heat of the exposed plaza outside of the Pepsi center (hence “perimeter”), and… use the port-o-potties. This last is the reason I became… *hangs head in shame*… a Press Pass Abuser.

The distance between the Media Tent refugee camp at the Pepsi Center and the Colorado Cenvention Center where all the caucuses take place, is about a mile or two. Not a big deal unless it’s blazing hot and you’re carrying a lot of heavy crap. One day, after a too long walk in the too hot sun between the two venues, I felt that special kind of woozy that tells you you need to get to a first world bathroom, fast.

********** is with AOL News and shares what I’ll call the petite’08 AOL Elections “media booth” with us Propeller folk (James and me). She’s holding the Arena passes today. When I ran into the AOL Elections closet-nee-bullpen, dropped my stuff and tried to be non-chalant as I asked: “Hey, **********, are there any Arena passes left?” “What do you need it for?” There wasn’t much going on inside the Pepsi Center at the time so it was a legitimate question. It just threatened to out me, so I started to sweat on top of my sweat. “Ah… I just want to see what’s going on. Get a lay of the land. Check in.” While I scrunched my face in shame at the amount of vague, meaningless phrases I had managed to string together in that moment my stomach gurgled in a decidedly audible way.

********** looked up.

“Everything okay there?”

“I need to get inside the arena,” I said.

********** looked at me hard. My stomach gurgled again – this time unmistakably.

********** reached for the pass and handed it to me with the speed of a gunslinger. “Just bring it right back,” was all she said.

Guys, I didn’t even take my camera (would you have wanted me to….????), so if an exciting story had popped up I would not have been able to cover it. This is my shame. I abused AOL’s Press pass. I’m nothing…

The Relevance

August 26, 2008 By: admin Category: Campaign 2008, DNC, General, Propeller


This is me on the floor at the Democratic National Convention, 2008 

Being here at the DNC is so full of relevance. I feel like I’m actually, actively doing something good. It also seems as though I have a teeny bit of a knack for this shit. :) I just interviewed New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin cuz he “stopped by” the media tent. I asked him a few question with my little audio recorder and felt… just so close to the process. And this while suffering from heat stroke…

Okay, now that my father has had a heart-attack with worry, I’ll explain that… :)

When we got to the media tent this morning, I went out immediately and headed to the convention center to try to snag an interview with Dr. Julianne Malveaux (those of you who have been following the http://blog.propeller.com/category/2008-conventions know that I was successful). What I didn’t realize was how hot it was outside.

Within only a few minutes, I could feel the sweat developing. Wasn’t soon after that that my head felt like it was cooking under my brand-new (and journalistically ethically-incorrect) Obama hat. I stopped in the shade and took a breath. I looked up — the world went blurry for a second then came back into focus. “Oh fuck,” I thought. I’ve had heat stroke before and recognized the symptoms. “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.” I was in the middle of nowhere with only a fairly useless press pass and heavy camera bag. So I walked a bit more and then felt my heart pounding just a bit too hard…

Knowing I wasn’t able to continue, but still committed to trying to get my interview I did the only thing that made sense:  flagged down an empty city bus. Seriously. I ran out into the middle of the street (it’s still like the Wild West out here during this convention…), and asked him to take me to the convention center. The lack of blood in my face and sweat dripping from everywhere must have given me away. “Come on,” he said.

Once on the bus I took off my bag and felt that my shirt was soaked. I mean like I’d gone swimming in it. I sat back and breathed slow.

Once inside the convention center, a slightly rejuvinated-by-Denver-city-bus Alexia made her way to the Korbel ballroom and found there… Dr. Julianne Malveaux. This is what even we non-religious folk call A Moment Of God. Dr. Malveaux’s panel had been over for more than 10 minutes (an eternity in the tightly-scheduled convention-time), but she was still there.

I’ve known about Dr. Malveaux for five years and so getting this kick-ass interview with her was a huge thrill. So was the one with Ray Nagin. They were moments of relevance, and I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

The Calm Before The Storm

August 20, 2008 By: admin Category: House, Propeller, Video


I’m home tonight. I stayed the last few nights at Molly’s because we can’t stand the thought of being apart for the three upcoming months we’re going to have to. But tonight I’m home catching up on tasks.

Today was a good day: I emptied half of the storage unit, put the old Ikea clothes rack together, did laundry, bought some stuff at Radio Shack, and figured out how to use an external microphone with the Nokia N95. :) I’ll be shooting with the phone at the upcoming political conventions. Today was the first time all of our systems are “go” for the event, and it’s pretty exciting.

The picture above is one of the piles of camera gear I’ll be working with in the next two weeks. The other two are for a show of Molly’s and the pile of mobile gear that goes with the Nokia. It’ll be good to get back to shooting.

Tonight is the last peaceful one I’ll have until I get back from Minneapolis, so I’m taking this opportunity to write, as I won’t get to while I’m working. Today was also the day I wrote my first mortgage check. :) It felt so good writing “Sept. mortgage” in the notes field rather than “Sept. rent.” I’m paying rent to myself, cuz this here’s MY HOUSE. I took a shower in my shower, got dressed in my room, came downstairs to my kitchen, and cooked myself my fish in my donated pots & pans on my stove. That was my gas coming out of that burner, which is also mine. :)

Tonight I’ll sleep and not worry about getting up at 5:00am. That’s for next week, or whenever I stay at Molly’s. Jack and the kids are up EARLY and while I admire it and want to do it myself someday, today isn’t someday and girlfriend wants to store up the Zs so she can hit the ground running in Denver.

There’s a lot going on. Everything’s moving by itself now. Like a sloop on a good tack. That’s good. It’s relaxing. I don’t have to do so much heavy-lifting any more. There will be periods when the heavy-lifting comes back, when I have to steer in choppy seas, but for now I get to make metaphors about sailing and sleep late in… my house.

Propeller.com 2.0

July 22, 2008 By: admin Category: General, Propeller, Video

Hey everyone, our new site design launched early-early this morning. Check it out and let me know what you think!!! Here’s one of my first videos for the new site, and here’s the other one. I’m going to be doing a few more of these “Help” videos, I think…



May 21, 2008 By: admin Category: Gadgets/Tech, Living, Music, Propeller, Video

Actually, I’m burnt out. I need a break. I’m hoping the move drive will give my mind a rest, and settling into Michael and Laura’s house for a few weeks will give me some time to just relax. I have too many irons in the fire right now and need to shove things off my desk. Some of that will happen this weekend when I finish an old, old project. That’ll feel GREAT. It’ll also give me a chance to play with my new editing toy, Magic Bullet Looks. By the way, yes, I know that not everyone is a video editing geek, but you would be if you played with everything I own for about five minutes. Cameras, software, G5–OH MY!

Anyway, so things have been very crazy pour moi. Shooting, editing, packing, making deals… It’s all very time-consuming and exhausting and reminds me that usually there are about 3-4 people doing the same amount of work I’m currently doing by myself. I know, I signed up for this, I have only myself to blame… Okay…

The good news is that two of my Big Projects for work are starting to get off the ground. I’m very excited about them and so will you be when I finally have a chance to show them off. Once will happen fairly soon — end of August. You’ll get links, don’t worry. The other one probably won’t launch until after Jan. 2009, but that’s okay. By that time I will have finished the Soma Girls film so the timing will actually be very cool.

Some other recent cool news is that Molly and I have a new friend who’s amazing. He’s a musician who just put out his first solo CD. He was with a very famous band for 14 years and now has gone out on his own cuz he wants to spend more time with his family. This I completely understand. Anyway, his CD is just beautiful. I listened to it all day yesterday and just blissed-out. It actually gave me a great idea for a screenplay. Actually, there have been 2 screenplay ideas floating around in my head for a while. Someone recently gave me a trick to how to write screenplays, so I might give that another go. It’ll be easier to do that in hotels during the move than to edit anything. I’ve been spending so much time on my big machine that it’s hard to go back to editing on a 15″ screen.

Hey, check out these guys called Stars of Stage and Screen. They KICK ASS. Listen to their cover of “Born To Be Wild.” It’s featured in the new movie “A Previous Engagement.”

I heard about the film and the band on KPFK yesterday as I was driving into the city. The one good thing about L.A. traffic, btw, is that it gives you a shitload of time to enjoy great radio. If y’all have not tuned in online to KPFK, I urge you to do so immediately. Best shows: “Democracy Now!,” and “Uprising.” For the more esoteric, there’s also “Inner Visions,” a very cool show about spiritualism.

Squatting At The New House

April 18, 2008 By: admin Category: Fatblogging, Food, Futurism, Happiness, Health, Propeller, sustainability, Video

So, we’re almost completely moved in to Molly’s Dad’s house, where we’ll be for the next three months. Looking around my new digs I see that it’s official that I have the best life in the whole world. This is my daily view:


It’s okay to hate me. :) Seriously, I live in paradise, and I just spent the morning talking to a game designer as part of my job. Additionally, coming up soon, I’m going to be able to produce four really, really, really exciting videos about some of the next steps in environmentalism. Does it get any better than this?

Update – Sorry for the delay…

April 08, 2008 By: admin Category: Campaign 2008, Politics, Propeller, Video

Things have been moving fairly quickly here at the OK Corral. The dog has worms, Molly came back on Sunday, we took her studio apart and started to move it, I got some fabulous emails, and I”m trying desperately to research this game thing so I can have a conversation with Jane McGonigal and not sound like an idiot. :)

Politically, I’m leaning toward Obama. Haven’t heard The Race Speech yet, but read a good bit of it and… that’s exactly what we need. Still, having the “trouble” of Clinton vs. Obama is a high-bottom problem, so I’m not stressing about the election so much. I’ll you what I am stressing about: climate change. How many more scientists is it going to take to say “WE have to do something NOW” before any administration starts listening. If The New President doesn’t do something significant in the first 100 days, we’re fucked. Our children will be living underground.

Well, that’s all for now. Hope you found it amusing. 😉

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.

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!

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. 😉

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

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


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…


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.

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…