Friday, November 30, 2007

Good Times, Good Friends, Shredding The Slopes

In the summer of 2002 I embarked on a life changing trip with 3 friends, moving to Los Angeles for the summer to pursue internships in the film industry. Emily lived with a wonderful family in Encino and we spent many days hanging out with them in their back yard, swimming in their pool and kicking it with their cool son Brett. They've since moved to the quaint mountain town of Park City Utah and this weekend I'll be visiting them. While my best friend Ben won't be able to make it, it should still be a great time catching up with the crew, watching Brett as the lead in Peter Pan and absolutely tearing up the slopes on the snow board Austin gave me. I'm also eager to try out this new Patagonia ski jacket I got, you've gotta love that company.

Not sure if I'll be blogging or not. I'll try and bring back something special. I'll miss you the most.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Clark and Michael

How did I JUST find out about this. It's brilliant.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Setting the Bar Even Higher

Last February I embarked on a business venture called Double A Pictures with my business partner Austin, who I'd met while going through the Radio-Television and Film program at TCU. Austin was a creative guy, somewhat of a maverick, with a moral sensibility that I could relate to, so it seemed like he would be a good fit. By June we were traveling around the world filming documentary projects.

While in Africa in July, Austin bought an engagement ring for the girl who he'd been dating for about two and a half months, before we'd left for England in June.

The following is the story about how Caitlin and Austin came to be engaged. It's pretty perfect.

Monday, November 26, 2007

New Music Monday at the Foggiest!

Download today's free playlist concocted by Kyle!

3.86 Months of Vacation

There are about 52 weeks in a year, the weekend consisting of Saturday and Sunday, and therefore 104 days of weekend a year. Standard vacation time is 2 weeks per year, equaling 14 days. Add all of those days together and you've got 118 days. Divide those days by the days in a month, about 30.5 and you get about 3.9 months. That's about how much tine we are supposed to not work in a year.

Because I work for weeks on end, business hours mean nothing, weekends mean nothing, and I often go long stretches without a break. Because of this, I go on a lot of multi-day vacations when the work finally subsides. And according to my math above, even in our American system, where we work too much, we still should get close to 4 months of vacation time a year. This knowledge calculated and quantifiable, I'm busy planning my vacations for next year. They started with a weekend at my friend Matt's ranch this weekend, Park City to visit friends and ski next weekend. A possible ski trip in early January, Alaska to go salmon fishing in June, and now a possible 2 week trek across Europe sometime in July. Life is just that much easier to bear when you've got a vacation to look forward to.

P.S. I should also mention that I'll be working on a film project in Mexico for two weeks in January that is sure to mix business with pleasure. I'm not bragging, I'm just saying, we "work" way too much.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Taking a Bath in Budapest

Episode 2 in the "Anton's Adventures" video series. Enjoy! By the way, this video was shot in late June. I am not in Europe right now, I'm in good 'ol Texas.

Happy Thanksgiving My Friend

Npr filled my ears, it was 6:20am. There was a very nice story about a guy going on his first ski run of the season. The sound of the snow crunching beneath his feet, and the windless silence of the closed road was very beautiful. I got out of bed and put on my running shoes, my fleece, my cap and gloves. My dad drove me out to the race site. The registration fee was $30 because it was the morning of the race. I ran a 42:50 10k, which is pretty good considering I was just getting over a respiratory infection. We all piled into my dad's car and went over to my brother in law's parents house and had a feast. Huge snow flakes began falling from the sky and we drove home. I'm so thankful for all of this. I'm thankful for you.

I found the story about the guys skiing - Ski Buffs Search for First Snow! Listen here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

25,000 Miles For Free, Just For Me!

The other day a letter came in the mail for me. It was that window-letter type of envelope with a red and blue logo printed right on the front. Without even opening it I glanced over the words EXCITING-YOU-25,000! I was obviously intrigued. So I ripped off the end of the envelope and blew into it like an origami paper-balloon. The envelope was stuffed with folded papers of varying weights and finishes, from heavy and matted to wispy and glossy. I pulled out 3 sheets of tri-folded eight and a half by eleven. In a rectangular box in bold lettering I saw a figure, 25,000. What the design of this letter told me (without actually reading the print) was that if I signed up for a credit card, I would in turn receive 25,000 airline miles for free. I wanted these airline miles, even though I've never in my life used any airline miles. But I lost my patience with the paperwork before I'd even begun to read the finer print. So, I wedged the sheets back in the envelope wondering how they'd even fit in there in the first place. This particular letter was like a clown-car of rules and regulations. I threw it on my desk for possible further inspection.

Last night I saw the envelope sitting on my desk and not having anything pressing to do at the moment, I took it to my mom. "Mom, can you read this and explain it to me," I asked. After glancing at the paper-work, flipping it over, glancing at the back, a process that took 3.5 seconds (my mom's a speed-reader) she told me that the offer went like this:

I sign up for the card, they send it to me. If I make $750 worth of purchases in a 4 month period then I qualify for 25,000 miles on American Airlines, which will be credited to me 8 to 10 weeks after I've met the requirement. The rate before I meet the requirement is very low and then after-ward it jumps up to 17.2%. Then, one year after that I pay a $50 annual rate to be a "member" of this benevolent mile-giving credit-card club.

In November the CEO of Citi Group, the company who will be blessing me with my new credit card, resigned after the company posted losses in the billions. The news this morning, and every morning for the last few weeks has been of the economic crisis being fended off in the face of wide-spread mortgage foreclosures as a result of the sub-prime loan debacle. Then I heard one of the reporters say that credit-card defaults will cause the next economic collapse. This made me smile. I've had two credit cards for 8 years and I have never ended a month with a balance of more that zero. What don't we get about the fact that it's credit!? It's not real money! So what I'll do with this new piece of fake-plastic-money, is buy all of my evil gas on it, each week transferring the balance from my checking account to the card. I will write a "DESTROY ON" date on the front of the card and that's what I'll do. And in only five months I'll have 75,000 airline miles that I may never use.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Music Mondays - Hot Hot Hot

Kyle, a sometimes contributor, writer, graphic artist and musician, has started posting quite regularly on his blog "The Foggiest." You probably subscribe to a lot of blogs already, but every Monday Kyle is putting together a 5 or 6 song playlist available as a free download straight from his blog. Kyle has very good taste in music and these playlists are very deliberately designed to elicit certain moods. I've really been enjoying them and I want you to enjoy them too.

Click here to go to this week's Music Monday post on The Foggiest.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

For Houston

Whether you're from Houston or not, you'll probably find these two videos pretty funny. But if you are from Houston, they'll not only make you laugh, they'll make you nostalgic. I bring you the magic of Mattress Mack:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How to Be An Environmentalist

America is a capitalist economy, fascism is a merger of corporate and state power, the truth of our current situation in this country is probably somewhere in between. This brings us to the first and most important way to be an environmentalist.

1. Shop green. - In a capitalist system, consumers drive the market. If we want corporations to listen, they'll listen to our dollars. American Apparel, Patagonia and Seventh Generation, are a few companies putting sustainable manufacturing into practice. For a list of other green companies check out One Percent for the Planet.

2. Don't be a super-commuter. - You may not be able to do it right away, but make plans to not have to drive so far to work, if you can, don't drive at all.

3. Recycle. - Think about all that waste just piling up in landfills, that practice can't go on forever, it's impossible and obviously unsustainable. There are many different ways to recycle. Make it a priority.

4. Drive a fuel efficient car. - Once again, if we want manufacturers to make greener products, we have to create a demand for them. Driving a hybrid may not save you any money, but it sends a clear message to car manufacturers and at the same time clears your conscience.

5. Enjoy the outdoors. - There are obvious pitfalls to eco-tourism, but if you don't like the outdoors, how can you actually call yourself an environmentalist?

6. Educate your children. - I grew up watching Captain Planet, reading Zoobooks magazine, National Geographic Magazine and watching classic nature documentaries on PBS. Education is the key to solving all of the worlds problems.

7. Call yourself and environmentalist. - Christians spread Christianity by teaching the good news that God has shown His love for us. Environmentalists do the same. Spread the Gospel of the beauty of God's creation, it is our job to protect it.

8. Don't litter. - If you have trash and there is no trash can in sight, hold on to your litter until you find a trash can, for as long as that takes (If you litter and I see you, I will hunt you down). Don't put up with people who litter, it is an insult to God.

Ok that last one was a little aggressive, but this is a story of personal values and the environment is our most valuable possession. While the fight for the environment may at some times seem hopeless in the face of industrial greed and power, wouldn't you still rather fight than just be part of the problem?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You've Done All You Can Do

My apologies to Bill Waterson, who I highly respect and adore. I know that I don't have the right to post this, but it is one of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes cartoons ever printed. How could I not share it with you? Please enjoy it.
(click the image to view it in a larger format)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Epic Series of Travel Vlogs Coming Soon

After discovering a simple piece of software called Mpeg Streamclip, I am now able to easily convert those pesky little Mpegs from my digital camera, making them DV-NTSC 720x480 at the click of a button. What does all this mean for you?

It means my Final Cut Pro will be running at warp-speed, cranking out my vlogs from Budapest, Prague, Cyprus, Kenya and India. Prepare to be entertained!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Now Twittering

Although I still don't quite understand the purpose or value of giving live updates about my day through Twitter, other than doing my lazy stalker's job for her, I am now officially Twittering, just check the sidebar to the right. (Wiki entry for Twitter.)

Anyone care to explain why Twitter is the new way to blog?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Good News, WGA Strike = Video From Ze

If you don't subscribe to Ze yet, just do it. DO IT NOW! The last thing you want to happen is to miss out on the next project Ze does, like I did with The Show. Click on Ze's picture and watch the short video, it's all the introduction you need.

There Will Be Blood - Trailer

One of my favorite directors, Paul Thomas Anderson, the madman who brought us Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Punch Drunk Love, is about to release his latest film, what could be his finest work. The story mirrors that of the current booming natural gas industry, the corruption, the greed, the fight for power and riches. I recommend at least watching the trailer at 480p HD resolution or, click on this link and choose any format you'd like.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Art Or Vandalism

The genius of this artwork is hard to argue, but it's still vandalism isn't it? Would this piece even get the time of day if it weren't done illegally?P.S. The photographer who shot this picture caught "Banksy" in the act.

Step Outside Of Yourself

Martha, a good friend of mine, someone who comments on nearly every post I make (thank you), just replied to a post I made a few days ago, of a photographic story by National Geographic magazine, documenting the widespread natural gas drilling that is taking place across the United States. The story presents a bleak picture of the changing landscape of the once untouched American West. It seems that these stories of environmental devastation have struck a chord with her, as they've struck a chord with me as well. But they've left her feeling hopeless, crying out for Christ's return, because let's face it, the world is passing away in our hands. But hopelessness is not what this blog is about, no, it's about taking deliberate action in the fight against myopic development, making harder the lives of those who are greedy, who seek power and oppress those who are weaker than them, it's about reaching out in love to educate those individuals who can make a difference. More than anything else, the message that I try to get across through every piece of art that I make, is an idea that comes from the Bible (Jesus specifically), which has been channeled through Kurt Vonnegut, and Bono. The idea is this:

Step outside of yourself and love other people. If we are just living for survival, then we are no better than the animals, something that separates us is human compassion, although not everyone has it. Kurt Vonnegut said it this way, "above all else, be kind to each other." Or as Bono said it, "One love-One blood-One life-You got to do what you should-One life-With each other-Sisters-Brothers-One life-But we're not the same-We get to-Carry each other-Carry each other."

Our job, as people with compassion, is to teach others to have values. Martha said it best, "you have to teach them by example." You've also got to educate them. If someone throws a cigarette butt on the ground, tell them about the bad chemicals that are in those cigarette butts, tell them how they are made specifically not to break down. And then throw your cigarette butt in the trash can. Even better, just don't smoke. But the biggest point is that as the educated, it is our job to teach, if you are a Christian, teach the Gospel, and if you claim to be a Christian then LIVE IT. This means dying to yourself, dying to love other people, and not just living for survival.

In the coming days I'll try to write a few short pieces and provide links to companies and organizations who are taking a stand in the fight for sustainable living. Also, I'll try to write a few short essays on how we can all get involved and make a difference not just in the little things we do, but really shake things up and create the momentum for change.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I Kid You Not

So all these (1,2,3) prominent Fort Worth bloggers had this facial recognition thing embedded in their blogs, so I finally decided to try it out. The results are amazingly accurate:

National Geographic Magazine, How I Love Thee

Watch this short slide show done by National Geographic about the wide-spread natural gas drilling that is taking place in the western U.S.

This is not an environmentally friendly process. Don't let anyone tell you that this type of drilling is safe, or that it is low impact, or, that it is economically good for the U.S. There is a gas boom going on, just like the oil boom of the early 20th century. The only difference now is that these gangsters fight with lawyers rather than knee breakers.