lextopia

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Archive for March, 2008

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. 😉

Pooped

March 26, 2008 By: admin Category: Health

Sometimes tired isn’t a “good tired.” Sometimes it’s just STRESS.

There’s a lot going on right now, but at least I’m not single, obese, and smoking. Actually, I’m the opposite: I’m super-joyfully shacked-up, getting my weight in gear, and couldn’t smoke if you paid me. Still, there’s stress… :)

Common Threads

March 22, 2008 By: admin Category: General

that until the end of the play. One scene in particular did it.

My friend Bill played a sunny character, let’s call him Steven, and the scene was his character standing in a grocery line. Steven loved this one type of breakfast cereal and so when he went to the store and saw that they carried it, he stuffed his cart with as many boxes of the stuff as he could fit. Standing in the checkout line someone made a comment. Steven didn’t understand, but knew it wasn’t nice. I don’t remember specifically what happened next, but the scene ended with Steven crying and shaking all the boxes and spilling his favorite cereal all over the floor.

When he got home, Steven was comforted by his roommates, and as the lights faded on the scene and the play the song came up: “Common Threads.” I remember thinking that it was the most beautiful song I’d ever heard. I had no idea about it’s origin.

The young director of that play hit the nail on the head by using that song. It exemplified the pathos of these men who had been wronged and would continue to live lives being wronged. It went right to my heart and broke me in two. That night I cried longer than I ever had. I couldn’t stop. The injustice of something so simple that I couldn’t control kept playing over and over in my mind’s eye and it took me over. I knew I just had to ride it out, let all that pain and anger and true, true sadness just flow otherwise I knew it would have come back.

Bill is in San Francisco now. He came out just before he left New York. Years after college I stood with him on the sidewalk on 5th Avenue in front of Washington Square and waved and yelled at the floats as they passed by in the annual Pride Parade. Behind me I heard Bill say: “We sure put on a great party, don’t we?” I spun on my heel, my mouth agape and looked at him. He smiled. “You came out???” I asked, feverishly. He nodded. Bill was always one of my favorites. One of those incredible people who just walks around with the sun inside him, spreading light.

The play felt like the end of all the innocence we’d all packed up in college. We’d left our nests only to find ourselves in another one, and something about that play–it was performed at the end of the year and all the actors were seniors–closed the door. It was unmistakable that the message was that we would have to say goodbye to one another. It was one of the saddest days of my life.

Ever since thinking about buying a house and moving so close to actually doing it, I’ve been feeling a tremendous sadness. I can’t explain it, but can say that I’ve also been looking around my world out here in California. I should say, L.A. L.A. has been so very good to me and I will miss the goddamned place. Maybe this feeling is a sort of rekindling of love for a city that I haven’t felt in years. New York and I are still at odds, but the love I’d felt for her was huge, and when we parted, it was the love I missed, not the city. I lost the love by staying in the city too long. It wasn’t meant to be in New York — it only is for some folks. L.A., I can imagine, is similar, but I haven’t been here long enough yet to get sick of her. It barely know her and here I go off to another city. I feel like I’m betraying something beautiful, the way those assholes did in that grocery line in the play. But this is a decision that must be made, an action that must be taken or I’ll lose my chance possibly forever.

I don’t know if the city is the source of the sadness I feel, but I know I’ll keep on feeling it for a fair while after I leave L.A. Maybe it’s just all the fear and questioning: am I ready to do this? Anyway, we’ll find out soon enough… :)

“Common Threads” was written by Bobby McFerrin for the AIDS Quilt, to commemorate all those suns we lost.

Common Threads

Up! Up! Through The Battleground!

March 19, 2008 By: admin Category: House

It’s started. The House Hunt. I’m on my way to check out the future. Very exciting. Very interesting. Very fabulous. I’m trying not to get stuck on Nourse Rd. but if you know me for one second you know that’s about as possible and a skunk deciding never to spray again.

Connie will take me to see the place and that will be that. I’ll either love it or hate and if I love, we all go down the rabbit hole together. or, well, I go down the rabbit hole and all of you watch me to see if I… you know… DIE. 😉 I don’t think I will. I think I’ll have a grand ole’ time, especially if it works out and Molly’s Mom decides to come out and live with us. It’s a perfect reality, but not as perfect unless she joins. There are some places and some moments you know know are going to be perfect for some people, and this is one of them. Wish me luck, y’all…

It’s Buttery

March 17, 2008 By: admin Category: Beer, Food, Health

Guinness. It’s still not as good as Mother’s Milk, or that amazing chocolate stuff we had at McMenamin’s in Oregon (thank you Matt & Katie!!!!), but it’ll do for St. Patrick’s Day while I finish up an edit. Such edits — the short ones where I do a lot of trickery — remind me of Paul Kovit, the senior editor at Oxygen. I sat behind him plenty of times asking questions about what he was doing. Through my whole life & especially this career, I’ve rebelled against the throng of people telling me I could do this, that, or the other. I got it a lot in my early TV career. Now, thankfully, having achieved a certain level of ability, that bullshit is mostly gone, but I do get flashes of that dark past when I edit. You’re never finished learning how to edit. It’s a lifetime workshop. Like I imagine Photoshop would be…

Anyway, “FOOD, Part 2” will be up tomorrow morning on Propeller.com for those who are interested. I like this one. It’s about eating locally–or trying to anyway. I’m eager to try it myself once we land East. I’m hoping for a small plot of land and a hoe to till her by. I think I could be a good home-farmer. I’d like to try onions. :)

Molly’s been sick the last few days. Run down. We went to the doctor and are awaiting test results. I guess nothing is as important as when you have a loved one or child that’s sick. Everything stops. Times like these I’m so thankful for my job being “virtual” I could throw up. I sat in the hospital waiting room just noodling away on my laptop.

By the way, we got “the Nokias” on Saturday. :) You could run a country with this phone. I’m hoping it’ll do what I need it to do, but the attempt will be fun anyway. I’m still convinced there’s a market for video in the mobile environment, we just haven’t hit on The Idea yet.

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…

The Precipice

March 03, 2008 By: admin Category: Fatblogging, Food, Health, India, sustainability, Video

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I finally have a moment to breathe after the whirlwind of the last few days. We found out on Thursday that we have to move out of our house by April 1st. No biggie, except that I’m in the middle of three edits and have a week-long work trip right smack in the middle of when I’m supposed to be packing.

Molly has been amazing — running around the house getting things ready to sell. Since we can’t afford to bring much with us, and don’t have that much that we need beyond our equipment, we’re ruthlessly culling our shit. For me it’ll be clothes and books. Maybe some CDs. But that’s really it. I’m sort of proud to say I didn’t have much. I didn’t come here with much and I’ll be leaving with less. There’s a lot I can live without now that I’ve been to India twice. The word “essential” is my guide, especially when I’m considering buying a house.

Myuh-huh. SCARY. I know, but girlfriend has GOT to get off the fucking rental wagon someday, and age 40 sounds like a good time to me. I’ve decided that it would be genius if my closing were on my 41st birthday. How karmic would that be??? It’d be kind of the perfect analogy for the New Me–someone far from her mother’s fear; someone standing finally, elegantly, on her own. Now I just have to get my fat ass in shape. Who comes to Southern California and gains weight????

Anyway… I finally finished the first edit for the “FOOD” section of my Sustainability Series, not that anyone gives a shit except me. And I really, really do give a shit. I’m learning so much, and really enjoying at least trying to give something to the users. Tomorrow and the rest of the week I’ll scramble-amid-packing-and-weeding to finish the second video before we go off to SXSW on Friday. Lots of cool stuff will happen there too, I just wish this all wasn’t piling up at the same time. Still, I always boast about my time-management skills, let’s see how I do… 😉

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At some point in the last few years I lost my sense of sentimentality. I can’t remember when it happened, but I do remember feeling proprietary about some things once, and now I just don’t. Except for my cameras and computers, and a few pieces of clothing, there’s little I feel sentimental about. That’s different from not being able to live without something–I may not feel sentimental about something, but that doesn’t mean I consider it something I can live without.

During my junior year abroad in Europe I took a train trip through Italy. I had with me a few possessions I cared a great deal about: my journal, my walkman and tapes, and my wallet which had my most prized possession of all, a photo of my mother when she was very young. As I slept, I was robbed, and all those things were taken. To this day I still feel sorest about that picture.

Since that day I haven’t ever carried around a picture that meant anything to me, but tonight I found one. I can’t describe it completely, but it’s a picture of Molly that captures her just absolutely as she is: playful, energetic, brave, challenging, quirky, strong, complex, beautiful, innocent, hopeful and sexy. I feel so close to this picture, like it’s always been a part of me, but I still can’t carry it around. At some point I learned that you can’t really protect the things you love unless you sacrifice yourself. Humans can only protect one being at a time and that usually ends up being ourselves. So to stretch out onto that limb and hope that it’ll hold you both is… risky. Only parents, I think–and good parents at that–have the ability to venture toward the limb without hesitating. Not me. All I know how to do is survive. It’s sad.