lextopia

my thoughts . my memories . my family . my projects . my fears
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Archive for March, 2007

Family or Assorted Conflicts

March 31, 2007 By: admin Category: General

Everyone has trouble sometimes.

VIDEO: New Orleans Voices #2, Margie Perez

March 26, 2007 By: admin Category: General

Margie Perez is a New Orleans musician who was displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Now she’s back home and living in a new housing community developed by habitat for Humanity and sponsored by New Orleans jazz icons Branford Marsalis and harry Connick, Jr.

The Future of Film

March 22, 2007 By: admin Category: General

What will be the thing that works…???

That’s what everyone was trying to figure out yesterday at the Future of Film conference I went to in Beverly Hills. Everyone was “discussing the Next Big Thing” in film distribution, but no one was saying what’s really on their minds: that they’re fucking scared.

The internet changes ALL of the rules for Hollywood honchos. They see their precious studio system headed for Elysium and are wringing their hands in panic because they don’t want to go back to working in the trenches to make their current salaries. This is a phenomenon I haven’t heard of since the 60s when social unrest in this country was changing the structure of human interactions. Today, the entertainment and communications industries are being faced with the same message that segregationists were facing back then: “Change, or be left in the dust.”

Hollywood controlling All American Creativity is a thing of the past, and the honchos know it, they just don’t want to be caught saying it because it’ll quicken the pace. So it was funny to watch them talk around subjects while not saying anything – just wasting our time and their own – and then see the Revver creatives take the stage and a palpable BUZZ OF THE NOW fill the room.

In their minds, the honchos stand to lose a lot: their lifestyle (for the moment, I will avoid a deconstruction of the ridiculous concept of “lifestyle”). To go back to the trenches to re-think, re-work, and re-implement a Brand New Day would mean getting out of the power suit and back into their grungy, faded construction-guy jeans. They all have them, and they all hate them unless it’s a weekend and they’re at home, alone, snuggling under a blanky watching their favorite “Sports Night” reruns (something we all do. It’s okay to admit it.). They worked hard to get where they are now and they don’t want to have to do it all again. But in their hearts they know the change is a-coming, and are now just plastering over reality in an attempt to divert the conversation to “issues of distribution” and slow the pace so that they can retire before they have to change their clothes. It might work for a very select few of them, but not for all and not for the majority. Tomorrow is HERE and we all have to just take a fucking deep breath and dive in. There are no “issues of distribution” when anyone in the world can shoot a movie for next to nothing on a cell phone and upload it to the web to be seen, in just a few hours, by thousands of people.

For myself I’m terrified and excited. I don’t stand to lose as much as the honchos if I avoid all the progress, the working hard – I could, conceivably, “get by” too – but I stand to gain A LOT more than them for putting out the same amount of effort because I’m already so far ahead in the game, and have worked damned hard to get here too. What I figure is that it’s our turn – all the people who a couple of years ago were considered unemployable, misfits – and we’re taking it.

Here’s to all those folks along my journey who said: a) I’d never be a TV producer, b) I’d never be paid as a videographer (because “DV isn’t going anywhere”); and c) I’d NEVER, EVER, EVER get paid as an editor because “it takes years of schooling and experience.” Here’s to all of you without vision. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

Protest on the 4-Year Anniversary of the Iraq Invasion

March 20, 2007 By: admin Category: General, Iraq, Video

I filmed this last night down the street from my home. I read on MoveOn.org that there were approximately 1,500 protests across the nation. Our citizens don’t want this war.

Netscape’s New Orleans Voices, “Trombone Shorty” Andrews

March 19, 2007 By: admin Category: Music, New Orleans, Video

My first New Orleans Voices video from my time in NOLA during Mardi Gras. This musician, Troy Andrews, is a gifted young player who will lead the resurgence of a new sound out of New Orleans. Enjoy!

Mea Culpa

March 18, 2007 By: admin Category: General

We all make mistakes. Afterward you think about all the things you did wrong, how you’re going to grow from it, etc. Sometimes, there comes the dreaded need to apologize. No one likes doing this. Really. No one. But we all have to sometimes, especially if we want to avoid illness down the road. Bottling up apologies leads to ulcers, stress-induced headaches, cancer, you name it, but they all send the same messages – these illnesses: “don’t bottle up your apologies. Make’em.”

I’m at a place where I have a few on my plate. They are ABSOLUTELY THE LAST THINGS I WANT TO BE DOING. But I have to because a) I treated people badly and they didn’t deserve it, and b) I have to learn to stop doing the thing that causes me to behave in the way that creates a situation that I inevitably have to apologize for. Didja get all that…???

There are also, I now realize, a lot of gray areas around mistakes. The level of the mistake, the impact, the result. All of these have degrees that must be weighed. In some cases a mistake that comes to you may not be yours, you’re just in a position to have to deal with it. This usually happens at work when you’re in a supervisory role. Someone on your team screws up – bad – and you have to deal with it. Do you fire them? Depends on the mistake… You see what I’m getting at… I’m in one such situation right now and had written an earlier post about how angry it made me feel. Someone behaved so inappropriately that action was warranted. I acted and now the perpetrator is asking for forgiveness.

This is where we get into a whole, other layer…

Does forgiving mean you’re giving the perp. a pass and devaluing the person who was misused, or does it mean you’re acting democratically for the greater good of the community at large? Depends on the mistake…

Talking with both parties is, I think, the way to go. It’s certainly the way I hope my own apologies will go: that the person I misused will sit and listen and talk-out with me how we can help me to avoid this kind of shitty behavior in the future. Truly, then, as I write this, I’m realizing that forgiveness is a good avenue to at least try. True, there are some cases of abuse – usually physical sexual abuse – that cross the line too far. So, then, I guess there is a “too far,” and thereby a “not too far.” But who decides where those lines are? Me? Degrees of a mistake… In the case of the work transgression the line-decider is, in fact, me;and in the cases of the apologies I have to make the line-decider is me as well because I had a gut-reaction to what I did. I KNEW I made a mistake, so the line-to-be-not-crossed exists within me, otherwise I wouldn’t know enough to know that I had to apologize.

This is all very tough stuff, but something we all come to at least – if we’re lucky – once a year. I try as much as possible to avoid doing fucked up things, but I’m human. Aren’t we all???

The Apathetic Self-Destruction of Sexual Abuse

March 18, 2007 By: admin Category: General

Regarding sexual abuse there are only 2 issues/subjects/frameworks to consider: the time before the abuse occurred, and the time after. Once you’ve crossed the line there is just simply no going back. You will forever be seen as someone who couldn’t tell the difference between right and wrong. Something we all learned as children. As such, you forfeit your rights as a human being. No, I’m not kidding. Once you’ve behaved inhumanely, you’re done. You can never again been admitted into society and I, for one, will ostracize you for the rest of your life.

Some might say: “Oh, hey now, that’s a bit excessive, isn’t it? What about repentance and rehabilitation?” I believe in repentance and rehabilitation, but not for this. Once you’ve done this you can never be someone who didn’t do it and it will and should haunt you for the rest of your life. Why? Because it haunts the person you abused for the rest of theirs. They will live with that feeling of always having the instinct to look over their shoulder, or tense their stomach muscles for an impending attack, or doing breathing exercises to slow down their heart-rate when they cross a street or enter a bar. And that, very simply, is not fair.

I was abused once while in the field on a job. It came out of the blue, was someone I knew, and, although stunned, I managed to gather my wits and address this person immediately, telling them that their behavior was inappropriate. I also brought the behavior to the attention of their supervisors and they were summarily disciplined.

I feel very good about having done everything I did. I felt like I was standing up for all women (and any men who are abused) as well as myself. When it comes to certain behavior – and we all know what I’m talking about even if it is case-by-case – our society needs to change the things we teach our children about the appropriate responses. If you’re threatened, you tell someone about it. Dealing with things alone is not macho or productive. The idea is to get the behavior to stop and there’s no better way to do that than in the open. We also need to create a society where more abused folks feel comfortable and supported enough to call out their abusers. We also all know the statistics of under-reported cases of assault.

My “Blob”

March 15, 2007 By: admin Category: General

I’ve been trying to teach M how to blog. Not that I know very much. What I do know I’ve learned in a short time by reading Dooce.com (check out my blogroll). She is simply The Best Thing Ever. I don’t read her to find tips on how to raise a child, I read her to live. The Buddhists say that you have to heal yourself, love yourself, before you can heal or love anyone else, and so I read Dooce.com in order to love myself. She’s fucking funny, and real, and right-on, and doesn’t give a shit, and is consistent. “I take a photo every day,” she writes. That’s the part I’m trying to teach. That consistency. That immediacy.

It seems to me that the social part of the world wide web has to do with changes that happen on the scale that they do in real life: all the time. So, if you’re going to have a blog and want people to come by, you have to be consistent about changing it. Give your audience (if there is one) something new every day.

Today, my soapbox is: I’M PISSED. I helped a user post a story on Netscape that’s amazing. It’s a loooooong, wonderful article on Salon.com about the perils U.S. women soldiers face in Iraq from their fellow troops. Read it here. Clearly, it’s not enough to dodge the same bullets and bombs as the men do in combat every day. No. The women are forced to – you know – DIE OF DEHYDRATION because they’re too scared to hydrate in the evening for fear that they’ll have to go outside to the latrine to pee and will be raped along the way by their comrades-in-arms! Semper-Fi THIS, asshole!!!!!!!! You arrogant, baby, motherfucking assholes!!!!!!! You can make it through basic training and WAR, but you can’t be civil to women?????

I almost wrote: “to you own goddamn troops,” but that would be turning a blind eye to any rape of non-American women, and this is something that women deal with EVERY. DAY. Anyone who disagrees with me PLEASE post a comment. But you know what? You’d better be a chick, and you’d better not have gone outside of your house since you were old enough to walk. Because for me, I’ve dealt with this every single day of my life. And, no, I’m not being egomaniacle because I think I’m so attractive. The data bears out that men will fuck pretty much anything given the right circumstance, and rapists? Why, they’d just as soon fuck an open door as a human being. People who rape – male or female – aren’t fit for society. What should we do with them? I don’t know yet… But I do know that if you’re an American soldier you’re trained to know better, unless you weren’t, in which case I’d very much like to have a word with whoever trained you.

The ultimate message of this article is so simple, for all it’s incredible detail: War Is Fucked. AVOID IT.

Fuck.

Okay….

I’m too pissed right now to write anything more…

That Hazy Morning Feeling In Your Brain, and The Pain of Debt

March 14, 2007 By: admin Category: General

It’s hazy outside but feels exactly the same inside my head. My eyes are at half-mast and I have the fuzzy head-pounding of someone not at all fully awake and coffee isn’t helping. For all of you thinking you know what’s going on – NO, I AM NOT HUNG-OVER. That is, not from excessive alcohol consumption, anyway. I think I’m – no kidding – wiped out from the gym. I did an insane workout yesterday. Had a fitness breakthrough, though: am able to touch my nose to my knees without holding onto my feet!!! YOW-ZA!!! I’ve been able – after a good workout – to touch nose to knees for years, but always had to hold on tight to my feet and kind of pull. Yesterday I just bent over and was shocked when I actually got smacked in the nose with my own knee! (Mother-of-God, people, it’s a little things… Encourage a sistah, wouldja.????)

In other news editing is going well, and I might have a side gig with NFL Films!!!! My ex-boss from Laureate, Kenan, called me out of the blue yesterday. He and his family moved back to Houston recently and he’s going to be producing a kick-ass reality-type doc. series on some LA kids in juvenile detention who play football and do street poetry as a form of rehabilitation. Kenan has worked with them for a while and must have pitched the project. He’d worked with NFL prior to moving to LA several years ago. That was one of the draws of going to work with him: I wanted to be around someone who’d worked with NFL Films, the genius entity that brought us “Hard Knocks.” Another great football doc., by the way is “Year of The Bull.” Scary.

Anyway, I’m excited for any small amount of money that’ll help chip away at my debt. And speaking of, let’s chat about that for a sec… Let’s chat about principle and interest and late fees and how you really can’t get ahead unless you work 70-80 hours per week and throw all that “excess” money – anything made over 40 hours – toward debt. I read all these “debt relief” articles and schemes and nothing seems to work as well as just plain-old killing yourself until the fucking thing is paid off.

I paid off my car last year, but still can’t “get ahead” enough to start siphoning that money to debt. I’ve been traveling a lot and it takes a long time for those expenses to come back. By that time I’ve incurred a few more late fees, etc. and am right back where I started. That’s one of the reasons I’m taking a break from traveling for a while. I want to reconcile all of my expenses, see what I have left, and throw freakin’ EVERYTHING at debt. I really, really, really should be able to pay off one card (I have 2, not by choice) before this year is over.

Anyone else suffer similarly? Let me know about it. We all got to stick together!!!

Screw The Jones’…

March 13, 2007 By: admin Category: General, Video

…it’s Web 2.0 that’s hard to keep up with. If one day were made of 48 hours instead of 24 then maybe I could do all the reading I need to do in addition to all the video editing I have to do. It’s just that this is such an interesting time in communication and technology and that that spells REVOLUTION that I can’t help but feel excited and desirous of soaking it all up at once. But, well, fuck. I read like a slug and my comprehension sucks. I need to read things sometimes three or four times before they go in. Ah well… onward.

In other news a couple of folks I know are doing what they call “fatblogging.” They’re writing endlessly about how they’re trying to lose weight. Most of them are men. In fact, ALL of them are men. And all men who are giants of Web 2.0. Hm…. is there a connection…??? I think so… Even super-smart guys are made human by the challenge of losing weight. Welcome to Our World, boys. It’s bumpy, but once you get the hang of it you realize that everyone looks good in lipstick. 😉

I too am “fatblogging,” which is to say that I am hitting the gym four times a week, cutting waaaaaay down on carbs, and reducing my portion sizes and writing in this blog about all of it. So far so good – I’ve lost 5 pounds in one week – the healthy way! Now, a confession. I’m not doing it without motivational/psychological help. I’m reading a fabulous book called: “Secrets of Successful Weight Loss.” Typing that I now realize how psycho-babble it sounds, but it’s not at all. It’s great. It addresses the psychology of why I got fat and kind of talks me down from the ledge regarding my fear of getting in shape. See? There it is again. Fear. Maybe I should add that to my blog description at the top: My Fears. I talk about them enough and do feel I’m becoming something of an authority. But even if I’m not, getting in shape and losing weight feels amazing. No appointment necessary. The Dr. is in.

Regarding my projects, I’m plugging along editing a bunch of stuff. India, New Orleans. I’m still trying to decide when to upload all these pieces. Do I upload when they’re done or try to drag them out? The Netscape audience has been so far very inconsistent about what they like in video. They love news, but when we gave them Stephen Kinzer’s talk on Iran they didn’t vote it up. But when a user posted a simple video of 2 people giving free hugs to Brother Israel’s beautiful “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” they voted it off the chart. Unpredictability is another issue-to-be-dealt-with about Web 2.0.

I think I’m going to go edit now. Maybe cry a little too. Ugh!