Saturday, November 28, 2009

Shooting Machine Guns In Cambodia

This video is from day 21 of my "Around The World in 30 Days" series. I still haven't edited half of the videos. I'm working on it.

I look and act like a goober in this video. I am well aware.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Pied Piper Of Hützovina

Tonight I rented a documentary film called The Pied Piper Of Hützovina from Premiere Video in Dallas, TX. The film is about Eugene Hütz, the lead singer of the band Gogol Bordello. The film begins with filmmaker Pavla Fleischer, telling her story, about how she met and soon became smitten with Eugene Hütz, tracked him down and then followed him on his annual trek back to his gypsy roots through Eastern Europe, Ukraine and Siberia, where he plays impromptu gypsy music with real gypsies across the globe. The music is great. Eugene is fun. The story of Pavla's unrequited love is heartbreaking, yet, as a filmmaker, she's able to break through her own story and she unlocks the mystery of Eugene and his love of Gypsy Roma music and culture. The movie is a must see for any lover of music, travel, documentary and discovery.

I was fortunate enough to catch Eugene Hütz's band, Gogol Bordello when they played The Granada Theater in Dallas, TX. It was an incredible concert. Check out their upcoming world tour schedule here. Watch the movie The Pied Piper Of Hützvina.

Who Reads My Blog

I have regular readers in Sweden, India and all over the U.S. I don't look into it much, but every once in a while it's fun to see where people are coming here from. In the past, I've tried to post things that appeal to a broad audience, I have no idea why, I guess I thought this was something bigger than it is. It turns out, most of the people who follow me on Twitter and read this blog, are some of my closest friends. So I'm going to start acting like it.

Thanks for checking in on me every once in a while. Go ahead and leave me your blog if I may not have it, or email it to the address over on the right. More good stuff soon, including a couple very personal updates.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Twitter, Facebook, Youtube
(although, thinking of switching to

Also, currently links here, but hoping to create a personal website soon. Now the proud owner of as well.

No idea how linkedin works.

I sure hope the net stays neutral. I have a presence here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Painting of My Tahiti Photo

I snapped this photo while I was in Tahiti last March and emailed it to my mom.
She really liked the light and showed it to a patient of hers who is a painter. Her patient liked it so much she painted a picture of it. I went in for an adjustment the other day and saw it and jumped out of my chair. I couldn't believe it. It's really nice:

Yvan Rodic's Visual Diary

When I was a kid, I loved picture books. It's not that I don't like reading, in fact, I now love literature - But a picture says a thousand words and a really interesting, well-composed picture says even more. ALL of Yvan Rodic's (also know as Face Hunter) pictures are interesting. I have no idea how he does it, why he does it, how he pays for it, sustains it, etc. but he's been traveling around the world, non-stop for the last few months, taking fantastic photos and hanging out with outrageous people and I've been enjoying the heck out of his visual diary. You need to subscribe, now.
(click and make it bigger)
"When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself." (Jacques Cousteau)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wisdom Of An Aging Man

Something that I've realized recently, is that success is generally going to be envied. I know I've been guilty of it, over and over again. I've realized something else though - the things that other people create are almost always going to be way different than the thing you create. I have no interest in making crime-drama movies, I have no interest in making absurdist comedies, I have no interest in making horror movies - the list goes on. So why would I waste my time being jealous of someone else's success, when the thing that's made them successful isn't even something I want to make?

Cormac McCarthy is a novelist who is sometimes described as reclusive. He wrote "All The Pretty Horses," "The Road," and "No Country For Old Men," among others. He's 76 years old and he's a pretty wise old man. I have no interest in writing the sort of novels that he writes. I do however, have an interest in writing novels. Our culture doesn't value eldership, but you've gotta realize that a 76 year old man, a very intelligent man, is going to have much more wisdom that this 26 year old man.

So read this rare interview with Cormac McCarthy (Wall Street Journal Online) if that sort of thing interests you. And if it doesn't, at least read this excerpt:

WSJ: When you discussed making "The Road" into a movie with John, did he press you on what had caused the disaster in the story?

CM: A lot of people ask me. I don't have an opinion. At the Santa Fe Institute I'm with scientists of all disciplines, and some of them in geology said it looked like a meteor to them. But it could be anything—volcanic activity or it could be nuclear war. It is not really important. The whole thing now is, what do you do? The last time the caldera in Yellowstone blew, the entire North American continent was under about a foot of ash. People who've gone diving in Yellowstone Lake say that there is a bulge in the floor that is now about 100 feet high and the whole thing is just sort of pulsing. From different people you get different answers, but it could go in another three to four thousand years or it could go on Thursday. No one knows.

Monday, November 16, 2009

On Brain Development and The Quarter-Life Crisis

From Justin Childress's blog, Serious Is Easy:

Apparently our brains don’t stop developing until we are are twenty-six. I wonder how that truth manifests itself over the course of our development. Do you suppose it will be possible to look back at particular moments in time and pinpoint when our minds were finally able to comprehend the depth of some profound insight? Sometimes I think back about when I used to wear pants that were 16 sizes too big for me and wonder “Huh. So, that was an interesting move of past Justin’s part. I bet he could have gotten a lot of places much faster if his pants hadn’t been caught in a continuous cross breeze.”

It also seems to be true (at least anecdotally) that a lot of young adults have their first “life crisis” around the 24-26 age range. I wonder if that’s because we’re coming to all kinds of realizations that we haven’t been able to comprehend before. Maybe that’s why failure looms so largely for some people. Maybe they couldn’t ever really see it at all before. “Through the looking glass” and all that.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Man Skirt

On Friday night, I attended Fort Worth Filmmaker, Andrew Disney's "Me, You and The Most Talented People I Know" party at the Lone Star International Film Festival in Fort Worth. It was a great time. Big "thank you" to Andrew Disney and the whole "Searching For Sonny" Team.
Also, thank you for the reflective bar and all the entertainment value it provided.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

After Watching 4 Months 3 Weeks And 2 Days

4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a Romanian film about 2 young girls, college students, getting an illegal abortion in communist Romania in 1987. In 2007 the film won the Palm d'Ore at the Cannes Film Festival.

The movie is a hard one to swallow, but an important film nonetheless. It graphically shows both the abortion procedure, as well as the aborted fetus afterward. As you may imagine, an illegal abortion isn't an easy thing to obtain, and the man responsible for carrying it out, isn't a moral man. He may even be a psychopath, or a sociopath. He is certainly a monster. The movie is disturbing, but it isn't immoral. It's realistic and possibly even impartial.

I don't recommend seeing 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days. I don't know why I put myself through movies like this, or whether I'm masochistic (I don't think I am). But I love filmmaking. This is a story based on true events. I am sure that the human heart is a dark place. And after watching this film, I don't pity it's characters. I'm sure we all get what we deserve in the end.

Songs For You To Download and Enjoy

Over the past few weeks I've been turned on to new music like never before. I'm devouring it. Here is a playlist, for you to download, of some of the songs that have been moving me lately.

"Sleep" by Azure Ray - Thanks Jessica!

"Two Weeks" - Grizzly Bear

"The Rain" - The Swell Season

"Meteor Shower" - Owl City

"40 Day Dream" - Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes

"Many Shades of Black" - The Raconteurs (Not new, but an anthem for me last month)

"Ottoman" - Vampire Weekend

Download them, or listen to them here: Deliberate Playlist Number 1

I like songs I can sing to, that might be apparent. I hope you enjoy them. There will be more of these in the near future. Let me know what you think.



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Three Movies For Tonight

After going from working 80 hours every week, to going back to working for my own clients, mostly from home, I have free time coming out my ears. I never waste time, I'm always doing something, always learning something - today I had to go to Dallas and while running errands I stopped by Premiere Video on Mockingbird Lane. Premiere Video in Dallas, Texas is the best video store and video library that I have ever come across. I quickly grabbed three films I'd been wanting to see for a long time and left before I saw any more, because how many films can I actually watch in two days? I'm very excited. The first one called 4 Months 3 Weeks And Two Days, is about two college students seeking an abortion in communist Eastern Europe (Romania). The second called La Vie En Rose, is about Édith Piaf. And the third called Aguirre Wrath of God, is one of director Werner Herzog's great films.

You Deserve Something Good

Free Again

I quit that job. It was a wonderful opportunity and I'm grateful for it. When the TV show I was working on comes out, people will wonder why I gave it up. It was the right choice, although not an easy one. I worked about 32o hours last month, and those were only 5-day weeks. I didn't even have time to check my email. To go from freelance filmmaker, to full-time production assistant was a major, uncomfortable shift. I learned a ton. Looking forward to getting back to business. I already am.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Promise, American Cities and Blue Sky Days

This morning, I woke up early and went to the church I used to go to in college, in Fort Worth, Texas. A friend of mine leads worship there (i.e. singer of the band). When I used to go there, between 7 and 5 years ago, the chapel area (the room with pews, facing the "stage") was much smaller. The church grew and so they built a large, new, slightly ostentatious building, with stone walls and large wooden doors. My guess is that there were about a thousand people in attendance. I sat in the very back corner, and as I looked out over the congregation, I was marked by the homogeny of people there - mostly white, middle to upper-middle-class, between the ages of thirty and fifty. This in no way brought about negative feelings. I was just marked that herein this coming together of Christian believers, sat a large portion of the bourgeois class, the managing body of the city of Fort Worth. These were many of the people that make the city work, they are the employers. I have nothing deeper to say about it, but perhaps that revelation brought about some of the thoughts that are swimming around in my head now.

After church, I hopped in my car and drove up Montgomery Avenue towards Camp Bowie Avenue. To my left, before a quaint old neighborhood, dilapidated old buildings lined the long street - a sorry looking, tin-roofed Dairy Queen, a piece-meal wood-walled convenience store, some small, rusty old wear-house facilities and an old converted gas station, painted powder blue, with an old, full-size, propeller-driven fighter-plane mounted on a post over the top of the building. To my right, looking towards the downtown skyline, there was the Trinity river valley, the beautiful botanic gardens, the Trinity river park, the stock-show, the natural history museum, the Kimball art museum and the Fort Worth Modern Art Museum. How is it that this street, a gateway to one of our country's best art districts, could have such an aesthetically unpleasing facade? I took a right onto Camp Bowie, a street once paved with bricks and with the gorgeous lawns of three incredible art museums, the Kimball, the Amon Carter and the Fort Worth Modern on my right, I drove past crumbling vacant retail and poorly planned condos on my left. On across University Drive, as Camp Bowie became West 7th, I looked out over the new urban retail development still being constructed and the adjacent Montgomery Ward building, now urban lofts with first floor retail. And that mess of a strip-mall shopping center, Lorded over by the Target Super-center behind it. There is so much promise in the city of Fort Worth, and yet such a dichotomy of overlooked dilapidation and myopic development. If the city were a neighborhood, it would be a mix of mansions and slum-shacks as next door neighbors, happily coexisting. I don't know if this is a great thing, or a terrible thing. I wish it were more ideal. I wish everything in the city was beautiful, well designed, well manicured. I wish there was an amazing light-rail system, narrower streets, with bike lanes, pedestrian-friendly first floor retail, with living spaces sitting on top. But it's not that way and maybe it never will fully be that way. Maybe this is just the way it is and the way that it's going to be in American cities.

I drove straight up into downtown and took a right on Summit Avenue and turned onto the highway, looking out over a clear blue sky as the high overpass curved around the Amtrak train yard on the outskirts of downtown. And I drove back into an ever more homogeneous suburban landscape.

I'm actually looking forward to the future, both my own life and the developmental future of the United States. Beautiful cities and big trees and rivers and blue skies are things that bring me joy. I know that these things exist and that they are good. I'm looking forward to continuing to live out my ideals, putting them into practice through art and design. And I'm going to be happy, even though poorly designed suburbs still exist; even though there is environmental destruction continuing throughout the world, I know that the beauty that brings me joy, brings me joy for a reason, because it was created by a beautiful God. And I know that might sound silly to you. And I know that it's all worth preserving, even though it's a frustrating struggle.

† This is a big church, although not technically a "mega-church." It's contemporary, meaning that the "worship music" is played in a style of downtempo acoustic rock. The Christian denomination is "Bible Church" which is considered non-denominational. It's a pretty tame, non-fundamentalist brand of the Christian religion. It's most essential doctrine is the belief that the first century, historical Jesus, was actually God in the body of a man.