Sunday, December 30, 2007

Working On Something

I'm currently working hard on something, so I haven't posted anything in a few days. Bernie, I know you wanted to go, but we just sort of went at the last minute. Can't tell yet if it was a fruitful experience. It's something anyway.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fate And Vengence

I've yet to hear one non-positive review for No Country For Old Men. I can't deny that the movie was well made, or that the elements of the film weren't deliberate, well played out or well sown into the plot. But I need justice. An old man with a thick country accent began discussing the film with me while we were peeing at urinals after the film. He told me in a thick Texas-country accent that they were planning on making a sequel. "I need justice," I said. "Damn right," he said.

I finally came into the office at about 2pm. As I sat in my car taking a bite out of my sandwich, I watched an older woman come out of the restaurant across the street with her husband and walk to their car. She was smoking like a pro, no doubt been doing it her whole life; I marveled at how put together she was for a sixty year old smoker. Then I saw her shoulders hunch as she took her last drag and I knew what was coming. She was going to through that butt on the ground. And she did. Just like she smoked, she flicked that fag just like she'd been doing it her whole life. I was ready. I punched my horn and she looked up like a spooked deer, right at me. I ripped my sunglasses off my face and reached for the door, but she just got into her husbands navy Cadillac. I wanted to get out and give her back that cigarette butt and tell her to imagine the mountain of garbage she's created in her lifetime of smoking. But I just sat and stewed as they drove away.

That bitch is going to die a slow painful death anyway. And that's justice.

Green Power T-Shirts

The word "green" to describe environmentally conscious consumer practices is becoming so overused and diluted that it's almost lost it's meaning, but who knows, maybe I'm wrong. Either way, I used the black power fist and made this little design. It's not quite right, but I'm thinking of putting something like it on some t-shirts and offering them to anyone who wants one for free. First, I've gotta find some ink that is non-chemically produced. I'm going to look into the ink they use on Dr. Bonner's soap labels. What do you think?Kyle, you already know my plan.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

New Web Series

From the creators of My So Called Life (Also if you haven't yet watched Clark and Michael, you really should check that out too. Both quite the respite whilst the writers are on strike).

Quarterlife.com, did somebody steal my life story and make it into a web-video series?

10 Good Movies to Watch Happily in Mixed Company

I've had this post saved as a draft for well over a week now, so it's time to release it even though it's not even close to being done.

Basically the problem is this, most adult-themed movies these days contain some scenes, jokes, situations etc. that can be horribly awkward to watch in mixed company. For example, when Superbad came out, I saw it over beers at the movie tavern with Ross, one of my best friends from highschool. We were those guys (me - Michael Cera, Ross - Jonah Hill, only different because Ross is way smarter than me), so we laughed hysterically, leaving the film feeling very entertained. Fast-forward to a few weeks later, watching the film with my mom on DVD...HORRIBLY AWKWARD.

Even the most heart-warming of films of the PG-13 variety contain some cringe-worthy scenes, however, every once in a while there comes a film that is adult, entertaining, and devoid of anything too awkward to watch in with a mixed group of people or with one's family. Adding to the difficulty of finding these great films with added general appeal is that when you watch a film with a group, someone is sure to have already seen the film and thus will be unhappy about the choice of movie, so some obscurity is necessary in a good film of this sort (other criteria being relatively short length, humorousness, poignancy and a positive if not happy ending).

So here goes, the first two films I can think of that a group of people, with varying levels of moral-standards and intelligent dispositions are sure to enjoy:

1. OnceTaking place in modern-day Dublin, the two leads of this film have a romantic chemistry that is rare. I've heard this film described as a modern musical, which it is not, but music is the dramatic thread that weaves this film together.

2. The Puffy ChairMade on a shoe-string budget and also shot on digital video just like Once, this film is fun, humorous and compellingly dramatic all at the same time. The story follows a young man who gets the idea to buy a recliner on Ebay like the one his family used to have and give it to his father for his birthday. He goes on a roadtrip with his girlfriend to pick up and deliver the chair, picking up his eccentric brother along the way. Joy, tragedy and closure ensue.

3. Bottle RocketThis one would of course work best if no one in the group has seen the film. This is Wes Anderson's directorial debut (director of Rushmore, Royal Tenennbaums and more), it is also Owen and Luke Wilson's first movie as actors. This caper-comedy has all the rich textures of Wes Anderson's other movies, without all the serious consequences of real-life criminal activity. It's a really fun movie.

4. Just Friends? - Ok, I was trying to fix the Tivo and I started watching this movie for the first time and I was absolutely losing it, laughing really hard. I watched it from somewhere in the middle all the way to the end. I actually laughed at a movie where Chris Klein was a major character, never thought that would happen. Any objections? P.S. Now that I think about it, this movie isn't obscure at all, so I may have to take it off the list just on those grounds.

Obviously I didn't get very far. Paying close mind to the criteria listed above, please cast your vote and help me finish this list.

It's About Jesus

Merry Christmas. Went to the church I've gone to my entire life with my family this evening. There are so many jokes there, the whole place is just a mystery to me, so devoid of religion, such bad singing, such childhood memories.

Whether or not you believe in Jesus, to some extent, I don't really care. But just ponder for a moment if indeed Jesus was God coming to earth and taking on the body and entire life-span of a man, then God was once a helpless little baby. This is a pretty weird concept, just think about it for a moment.

There was a baby screaming the entire service, sitting directly behind me. I wanted the mother to take that baby outside so bad, but when you think about it, having to listen to that screaming little baby, while commemorating the birth of God when he became a man...pretty apropos.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I Got One Of These, Jealous?

If you are reading this blog, you might as well also be reading the work of Kyle Rother, on The Foggiest. Kyle pours his heart and soul into everything he does, meaning quality and not necessarily quantity. If you use an RSS feed reader, just subscribe. It won't bog down your "to-reads" but it will provide you with some intellectual nourishment every once in a while.

Why didn't anyone ever tell me about this guy?

Elvis Costello is really good.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Roger Ebert - The 10 best films of 2007

Juno is number one, although he later states that he loves them all equally. My favorite film of the year, Once (trailer) also got an honorable mention. I really love Roger Ebert.

If you haven't seen the film "Once" yet, watch it with your family over the holidays. It's pretty good.

An Idea

Inspired by my recent induction into the West and Clear blog links, I've got an idea for a Fort Worth-themed story. A few weeks ago, I decided to go on a drive through an area of Fort Worth that I'd never visited. I drove behind the Central Market on Hulen and I-30, heading West through a nice little middle-class neighborhood. I soon arived at a small park called Lake Como Park. I pulled into the parking lot to check it out. I found the name strange, because I always thought "Como" referred to an area somewhere south of I-35 in what can only be described as the ghetto. The pond was a separation, a border between this quaint neighborhood and something rougher. From what I could tell, there was only one road to continue going West, so I went ahead and drove down it past Lake Como Park. The curb soon disappeared under the overgrowth of weeds, mud and leaves of the unkempt boulevard. I was quickly in Como, an isolated and impoverished area of Fort Worth proper. I was shocked that this rough neighborhood was in such close proximity to the prim and proper development on Hulen.

What always seems so strange to me is that these areas are always in such general disrepair. High on one of the few hills in the area, this neighborhood is obviously neglected by the Fort Worth Public works. If you don't believe me, take a drive through the neighborhood, you'll find donkeys, dirt roads and cinder block buildings with fading paint and bars on the windows.

My idea is simple, take a walk through the neighborhood, take some pictures, meet some people, try not to get shot or mugged and post my story here.

Chilling Out For Christmas

That guy who owes me three thousand dollars finally got back to me, after multiple text messages, emails, voice mail messages and Myspace messages (lame). He wrote, "Hey man...chill a little..." then proceeded to tell me that he hadn't been avoiding me, just out of town, "no one is in the office because of the holiday," etc. That's fine, but when he tells me that the check is in the mail on November 27th and it's now December 22nd, that's not ok. We have people to pay, and without getting paid, we can't pay. Fortunately for our freelance employees, we paid them through our credit card, so whether we get paid or not, they still get their money. That's the way we do business, with absolute integrity.

Do I buy their excuses? No, of course not. But will I take there advice and chill for the holidays? Of course I will. But when the 26th rolls around it's back to business. Whether or not we are "friends" has no bearing on whether or not I get my attorney involved. Just like the friendly Haltom City police officer told me as he handed me my ticket the other day, "nothing personal, it's just business." I really appreciated that, I'm sure they will too.

News, Mexico

Today was a pretty overwhelming day (see posts below 1, 2). The good news however, is that I'll be spending most of January working on a show in Mexico. It's a travel adventure show, takes place mostly at resorts and they tell me that I'll be spending one night in the jungle on a survival-adventure. This makes me very happy. I always like having things to look forward to.

Also, something that I am very grateful for, the recent low-grade crisis in my life has made me once again dependent on the greater power who is God. After weeks of spiritual coldness, I've found myself praying again and relying on God to get me through. Even though I'm having a rough time I feel more blessed than ever.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hiring My First Attorney

I've heard the horror stories, but of course I never thought it would happen to me. To ensure that these clowns pay me I've decided to hire an attorney. At $250 an hour, this is no small decision. However, I figure it's a better route than taking vengeance into my own hands. These chumps are going down.

Three Thousand Dollars

Recently, I was "hired" to do some video work for a boutique that would soon be opening up in Dallas. The job was described to me as following around a group of socialites as they went to clubs and filming them go about their partying, both to make them look important as a marketing scheme and also for the footage to be used for various purposes such as playing on tv's in their store and to be edited for a potential reality TV pilot (the lamest reality show yet).

For three hellish nights I followed them through clubs until after 2am, hanging out with them, listening to their pointless conversations, watching them do cocaine and other drugs and sweating my ass off. Because they weren't paying me immediately I held on to the tapes. No contracts were signed but I was assured that I would get paid first and then I could give them the footage. They continued to call me each weekend and when I couldn't film I hired other shooters to film, paying them two hundred and fifty dollars a night. I always paid the cameramen the next day when they brought back the gear. Now, 6 weeks after the original job, they've yet to pay me a penny. They've also since stopped returning my emails, phone calls and text messages.

If they don't pay me by Christmas, I'll post all of the appropriate information for their slander. I'm really angry.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

They're Making The Hobbit Into a Movie

I became obsessed with this book from 4th grade through 6th grade. I wanted there to be a Hobbit movie so bad back then. The cartoon just didn't do it justice. Check out the Aint It Cool article for details:

Monday, December 17, 2007

Attention Documentary Filmmakers

If you're not yet watching VBS.tv, prepare to have your mind blown. This company was created by a bunch of skateboarders, turned filmmakers, turned journalists. They are the same people who made the Vice Guide to Travel DVD. Their documentaries are simply produced, with masterful story telling, light weight digital video cameras and courage bordering on extreme recklessness. I can't stop watching their stories from start to finish.

**update - Spike Jonze is the "Creative Director" of VBS.tv

Problems With Google Reader

At the moment I am subscribed to 54 blogs. If I don't check my Google Reader every day, there is sure to be a pile of fresh posts waiting for me when I finally login. Unlike email, Google Reader simply unmarks posts as you scroll down through them, so that you are starting with the most recent posts and working backwards towards where you originally left off. This is often problematic as you end up getting the new information before you're ready for it.

Is there a setting where I can create an inbox for new posts? Or perhaps a better blog subscription managing software? Lemme know.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pitchfork Top 50 Videos

I've thought about this one a lot this year:

Check out the rest of them if you get time, on Pitchfork's website.

Dear Leader,

First of all Blurbo, George Bush can say whatever the hell he wants, but he is NOT an evangelical, fundamentalist. Anyone who knows anything about the Bible can say with certainty that GWB isn't living up to it's standards. Secondly, if you are for or against Ron Paul, either way, PLEASE understand that the things that he is for and the things that he is against are in line with the most fundamental modern Christian fundamentals that there are.

The dollar is depreciating, the United States government has been steadily chipping away at our constitutional liberties and the people in charge of the value of the United States Dollar are a bunch of colluding power-mongers. Yeah, so if you're pro Ron Paul good. But please know that you are, for better or for worse, supporting the most fundamentalist evangelical candidate possibly ever in the history of this country.

Oh and P.S., Mitt Romney is a Mormon, not an evangelical. He can talk about Jesus all he wants but the Jesus he speaks of is not the Jesus of the New Testament, it's the Jesus of the Mormon "scriptures," the book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrines and Covenants. Mormons calling themselves "Christians" is misleading. The Bible has a historical account of when a group of people was first distinguished as Christians in the first century A.D in the ancient middle east. The Mormon scriptures take place in South America. Mitt Romney's religion speech is a crock because rather than talking about the idiosyncrasies of Mormonism compared to modern Christianity, he is very deliberately trying to make himself look and sound like an evangelical. Mitt Romney is not an evangelical, he is a Mormon. There is a BIG difference.

Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Making Videos

I'll be pretty busy this week editing the 30 or so videos that we shot for Gallery Furniture in Houston, Texas. Here's one that I put together while we were there so that we could show them an example of what we were doing. The Houston Texans Cheerleaders stopped by, so I asked them to do a little pitch for the store.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fourteen Hour Days

This morning we all got up at 6am and had a hardcore workout, while intermitantly filming it. Then we took a quick trip to Denny's, Starbucks and then it was off to our location. We've been filming all day mostly non-stop every day so I haven't had much access to the blog. I'm cooking up some good ideas though, so I'll see you this weekend. I can't wait.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Plans For The Weekend

Rough day today. Drove about two hundred miles in traffic, from Bedford to Hurst to Oak Cliff to Central Dallas to Oak Cliff to Central Dallas to North Dallas through Grapevine to Downtown Fort Worth to South Fort Worth to Central Fort Worth to Southlake to Bedford. Got a ticket doing 82 in a 65, just glad he got me as I was slowing down, so much for environmentalism. He didn't have much sympathy when I told him I was 45 minutes late for my mom's birthday dinner. Also missed my registration for the White Rock half-marathon. Running it anyway though, to keep my friend company.

Austin and I landed a huge job in Houston. We leave on Sunday and film from Monday through Friday. Going to shoot guns tomorrow morning, edit some video in Fort Worth in the afternoon and going to bed early before running the White Rock Half Marathon (unregistered of course) on Sunday morning. The only developmental nightmare worse than DFW is Houston. We're just glad to have the work. See you next week.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Most Famous Things On The Internet

When I graduated college in December of 2004, I took a job in video post production, in an office, a job with the glorious title of "vault." During my 9 hour days, I would work feverishly up to 6 hours a day. The other 3 hours I would sit nervously in my little room in the back of the building with 2 computers, just waiting for them to come fire me. I'd always wondered what people did on the internet. I really hate pornography, but before then, I thought that's what most people used the internet for. So that I wouldn't fall into that trap, I looked for ways to avoid using the internet for purposes other than intellectual development. I'd heard that the internet was actually a good tool, so when I discovered Blogger, I figured starting a blog was a good way to stay busy and get my ideas out and to you, that way we could share our good ideas positively. Three years later, I've become a better writer and an internet pro.

Here are a couple of the things I have found and what other smart people have found. These things are cool, internet-famous and intelligent, check them out if you haven't:

Dooce.com - Heather B. Armstrong. Disgruntled ex-Mormon, web-designer, photographer, survivor of postpartum depression, mom and writer.

Gorilla vs Bear - Such hipster taste in music that I can't even follow most of the music they write about. This Dallas-based music review blog posts a butt-load of free mp3's and videos that are cooler than that cool emo girl with low self-esteem that you went to high school with and were secretly fascinated by.

Kottke.org - Jason Kottke is a habitual poster. It's normal to receive 8 posts a day Monday through Friday and a post or two on the weekend. He loves maps, fonts, graphic design, books, city development and food. I get the feeling he is VERY smart and a little bit obsessive compulsive.

Jonathan Coulton - Last year, produced a song a week. Like Ze Frank's "The Show," only more music. Check out his suggested listening to get a taste of what JoCo does.

The Superest - If you have a short attention span, this site is for you. Each day (sometimes twice a day), various designers and graphic artists create a new superhero who will destroy the last super hero that was created. Takes 10 seconds to read a post, makes me smile almost every day. (Thanks to Martha for showing it to me.)

Ze Frank - Last year, made "The Show," in which a new video was produced by Ze (pronounced "Zay") every day for a year, consisting of news, interactivity, philosophy and fun. Ze it is safe to say, has revolutionized video "blogging."

Coming NOW, Lists Galore!

What incentive do you have to read this blog? What do I have to contribute that is of an expert opinion, that is informative that is beneficial to anyone!?

Ah ha! I'm going to do some research and produce some lists. Lists that will contribute something to your life, your entertainment, your mental well-being!

Here they come!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Upgrading to a D SLR

There comes a time in a man's life when he must discard his old digital camera and upgrade to a digital SLR that looks like it was made in 1974. For this man, that time is now.

One Magical Weekend

Park City, Peter Pan, Snowboarding and Friends:

Pic #1 is Main Street in Park City
Pic #2 is (from left) Me, Emily, Brett and Red outside of the Egyptian Theatre where Brett was playing "John" in Peter PanPic #3 is Me, Brett, Red and Emily at The Canyons Ski Resort
Pic #4 is me in my ski gear looking like an outlaw
Pic #5 is Emoss (Emily) in her cool hat
Pic # 6 is Emily Me and Red at some brewery on Main Street drinking the organic amber

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Annie I Might Love You

Ok, I'm obsessed, yes, boy-band obsessed (but not really like that), it's just that she's so good, she's so honest, so...beautiful. On top of that, she's an amazing guitar player, song-writer, foot-stomper. Oh, just please watch this.
That's real. That's not acting. That's not staged. That's a real person.

(I'm talking about *Dallas' own, St. Vincent).

*Don't know if she's really from Dallas or some other city in DFW, maybe she is, I just don't know.

It's Thirteen Degrees Here

Dallas is very different from Park City.

It's Snowing Here

Since I'm on vacation in a big, nice house with high-speed internet, sitting in a big nice room on a big, nice, elegant bed, I'm going to go ahead and blog about it.

Saw Peter Pan tonight. It's fascinating to me that such an antiquated art form (theatre) still works, still grabs you. It was a fun show, people flew, Peter Pan was played by a girl.

Also, I bought Dave Eggers book called What Is The What. What I didn't realize is that it's not fiction. It's Dave's depiction of the story of one of "the Lost Boys" of Sudan. It seems good so far. The back cover says that it's an "epic telling." That intimidates me. But I read his book You Shall Know Our Velocity! last month and really dug it.

Tomorrow I'll be shredding fresh powder.