Sunday, December 9, 2007

Oprah endorses Obama

This is really big news. Oprah has never endorsed a candidate before. As we all know if she proclaimed tic tacs as her favorite candy everyone would rush out and buy them. If she sneezed and used a hanky instead of kleenex droves of people would swap over. If she says we shouldn't bomb people when they ain't done nuthing to us, then some people who may not have listened previously may pay attention.

Many people are favoring Clinton in the democratic campaign but if you just think of it from the perspective of a media tycoon who has much to earn from campaign races it's easy to see why we should all vote for Obama. (If for no other reason.) Clinton is ripe material, full of flashy, sensationalist stories that can be twisted and turned. The media have already managed to associate her campaign with fear, to mingle it with scandal, and she has managed herself to be unclear about her stance on the war in Iraq and to be caught planting questions in the crowd.

It would be so lucrative and easy to smear Clinton when the campaign race heated up. They could disable her bit-by-bit, picking her apart, until she appeared a hagrid, hairy, lunatic dyke bitch in the minds of most Americans. This is a bit harder task with Obama. He's already bared all in his books and has not yet had the chance to amass a scandalous history and vituperous hate that can motivate to action and bond republicans together as nothing else.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Fires of Silicon Valley

The air was chilled. Christmas trees already poked through curtains and lights blinked providing amusement on the dark walk home. We walked fast to stay warm and as we pulled a block away from our home - a long block - the fire engines rounded the corner, followed by the police. I counted three fire engines, two police cars and one police truck. "Did you turn off the stove?"
"Of course."
"We left the heater on."
"It's ok to leave the heater on!"
"Are you sure you turned the stove off?"
"Yes!"
"That could really be our place they're at..."

It could have been our place but when we arrived, eyes stinging from the plastic smoke billowing into the air, it wasn't. It was one apartment block over.

People were running around in their house slippers yammering on their cell phones. One young man pleaded into his phone that he needed to know if insurance would cover damages. Another man stared up at the fire as he stood next to his one possession worthy of taking out the the apartment, a box of CD's.

I imagined what we would take if it was our home burning. Our laptops. And my five or so external drives with years of filmwork. The rest could burn. I felt somehow relieved to have an exit strategy in case of fire. A month previous I'd concocted my strategy after living through my first earthquake. (Welcome to california)

The firemen took their time, organizing (I assume) strategizing (I suppose) then ascended a ladder to the apartment roof. It wasn't quite like Backdraft where the heroes ran and shouted and giant balls of orange flame threatened to destroy everything. This was calm, slow, measured. I could almost imagine the Christmas lights burning out, a spark and a flame, that turned more to smoke than fire. And there we all were, standing below like toys in a Winter play, acting out our parts in slow motion.

The smoke switched from one window and was now coming out another on the top floor apartment. The firemen used a chainsaw to the cut through and drop in. It was soon over.

A Saturday night's distraction for some. A shock for the tenant of the apartment who would eventually come home and find everything blackened, destroyed. Perhaps some extra money for the young man who ran around photographing from all angles, and certainly an article in the
local news.

It was my first fire close up. I have a feeling, that if I stay in California I will get to know this scene well enough over time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Excercising Power

Are Americans so focused on Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton and Reality TV that we can't possibly bother to think about the freedoms that are slipping away as we speak? This was the topic of discussion on the phone with one of my soul friends from back home in the Midwest. We talked about how everyone is much too focused on keeping their mortgage, paying off student debt, staying on top of bills, attending to struggling relationships strained by the enormous weight of debt, that we haven't any further time to form a clear strategy, a feasible pathway for how to save our sinking democracy.

Our talk was circular delving into America's rich history of public disobedience and crossing over into powerful groups like the Black Panthers and the Weathermen. Our ranting was pained, worried, like mothers trying to figure out how to save their children who've fallen in with the wrong crowd. Where was the anger we wondered? Where is the rage? Most important of all, what could we do?

We are at a turning point right now. If dreams are any indication, the shadow of our future is menacing, rather than peaceful. But we have the power to change it all. Don't we! I'm not sure what we can do, but my soul friend and I surmised boycotts may be the key. I personally own 2 TVs (that I found on the side of the road) which sit in my closet in case I ever have a video exhibit and need them. Maybe that is a first step? Put the TV in the closet! If that is too radical then maybe we can all boycott Foxtel together. We can refuse to eat at Fast Food places. We can cut down meat eating to three times a week or go all out vego. We can hug a stranger. We can be fearless.

Can you just imagine, if for one day, everyone in America did not watch TV?

It hearkens me back to Earth Hour in Australia where for one hour everyone in Sydney turned off their lights as a symbolic act to show our power to change the tides of global warming and energy usage. The effect was tremendous and support washed over the world.

We have the power to make the change, we just have to exercise it. So lets get started heh? Let's help each other, give each other a kick in the arse every now and then. Come on folks. Together, one, two, three.....

Lets shower the world with our love!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

On America - Noteable comments

Of course there's much to observe and comment on when you've been out of your native country for nearly six years. More is to come for sure, but here are some of the funnier comments in the course of discussions:

  • Oh, I went to Europe once for two weeks. And the whole time I was there I was just thinking how much I wanted to go back home.

  • Do they have german internet?

  • Oh- they make films in Australia. Well of course they do but- so like, who's a famous Australian actor?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine

A great video clip about Naomi Klein's new book. As always she's on the edge of the moment.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

ecospot contest on current.tv

this is a great contest, going on for awhile already, regarding all the activities around global warming:

http://www.current.tv/ecospotcontest

The media company current.tv is based in San Francisco. In case you don't know (is that possible?) - the company is led by former Vice President Al Gore.

Go for it, if you're a film-maker or not - create your own 15, 30 or 60 secs on video, and tell the world what YOU think is a great contribution in preventing any more global warming activities! But be quick - the deadline is approaching fast!

Friday, September 7, 2007

moving around and around …

Before the blog looks like deserted to you, valued visitor (not that there's much reason for you to stumble by here anyway, but it happens, for example through google's next blog feature on top of the page), I thought I better put in an entry just to have a newer date on the page. Yeah, just for that. Well, maybe I can also tell you the REASON for not writing for quite awhile- we are on a moving-around binge for the last few months, finally arriving in the Silicon Valley strip, hopeful to find a home, for now at least.
So that makes a trip from Sydney, Australia, through Hawaii, to Detroit, Michigan, around Michigan a bit, and a long road trip through the country, to California. Let's see if we make it, being part of that mysterious California dream...  We saw some pretty amazing stuff, small villages, big cities, the plains, the mountains, flatland, desert, mormons, Germans, danish, netherlands, beautiful lakes, weird people, nice people, strange people... to much to describe it all. This is not supposed to be a travel logbook or something. Maybe a little bit.
So for now we found our nest where the also owner of this blogging application is at home.

The price level is really horrible here. I mean it. It's not the first time that we're in California, but it's the first time we actually LIVE here. Only then you really notice. Not that I didn't know. I guess everybody knows. "Oh you're goin' to Cali? Yeah well enjoy paying those bills".
So that's what we're doing here now.
I think El Camino Real must be the longest business strip in the US is that correct? Maybe even in the world? Naaaaah there's probably something worse.

But we're already enjoying the mountains, pacific-side, not the east-side ones. But more about this  another day.
Cheers mate (the Ozzie in me sorry)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Myspace Virgin

Moving from Australia back to the USA was in some ways like being sucked through a time warp into a faster and more caffeinated future. People in America are on speed and maniac to be famous, wanted, adored, loved. There is no people that is more blinded by stardom and image than America.
It felt like stepping from a sidewalk onto a machinated walkway like they have at airports only these walkways are unstable and going too fast.

The way this relates to interacting with new people is that right after they ask, what do you do for a living, they ask, "are you on myspace?" If you make the first step and ask, do you want to exchange emails, or you hand over your bcard they stare at it blankly and ask, "are you on myspace?"
All I could manage to stammer out time and again was…gosh gee, you know I've been meaning to - and then they'd nod knowingly, vaguely remembering a distant past where they too were my space virgins, then give me words of advice "you should really get on."

The idea of "getting on" automatically implied that I was "off", but OFF of what? Off a wild exciting fun ride? Off and floating in some uncertain limbo? I could almost feel their words chastising me. You know, if you don't get ON now, you'll have NO chance at all. You're either ON or you don't exist. And so that's what it came down to.

And it's not like Sydney is a slow town, or behind in any way. It's just that people weren't really doing that there in the massive numbers that are doing it here, in the US. (Though that will change) Some of my friends were ON and I do actually remember saying to myself over my slowAS dial up that one day I too would have broadband (somewhere other than work) and I too would join in the revolution! I too would watch banal videos of someone's dog barking at the TV somewhere in Idaho in a very ludicrous manner because this was the beginning of something big… I just knew it. It was all like ICQ (remember that) on acid, like chat but HYPER chat, and somehow the drive to upkeep my own website in the wee hours of the night waned. It seemed comparatively empty next to the possibilities offered by friendsters myspaces and youtubes.

Still part of me rejected it. Part of me said, no - I want to LIVE in person upfront and REAL. But then the other half of me said, you can have your cake and eat it too, on this one. Besides, you were already doing it. For years I had a mytxt section going on poem-maker (which I've taken down). I didn't have the programming skills to make a blog but I sure as heck had a decent mytxt going….ok, very boring I know!!!

So very recently I got ON. I started with youtube. I posted random videos of my Uni work. Then I entered a contest and got into the feedback part with others. It was so exciting to have a complete stranger view your work and then comment on it! Wow! What a rush.

I moved on to friendster, whoopee! Then I decided to tackle myspace, the Mammoth GOD of the social networking sites. I found it to be the most user unfriendly and counterlogical internet experience I've ever had but it was none the less thrilling!!! I am now proud to announce that I've got three friends (not that I'm counting)

Then I discovered revver and that opened a can of worms. To be discussed in the next section….

And suddenly I'm ON. ON and rolling.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Power of Undo

We all remember the first time we sat down to a powerful piece of software for the first time and felt the thrill of excitement, or the dread of (do I really have to learn another program) or the ball of nerves as in (oh god, I don't know if I can do this) Then at some point it becomes normal. Learning more software is like driving. It's just something you do (especially if your income relies on your computer skills)

But there is always this nagging uncertainty as you tackle a new giant, can I do this? For me, the key to becoming comfortable with software lies in the power of one little button (or two consecutive keystrokes) which undo any mistakes you make. THE UNDO button.

Did you hit some unknown shortcut key and completely erase everything? No worries, undo!
Did you jump through a trail of hoops only to understand that you did something stupid? No worries. Undo Undo Undo Undo Undo Undo Undo Undo (note that undo's are not unlimited! See your preferences panels.)

I've had many conversations where the power of this little button is something we crave in our real life.

A cop pulls you over for going 90 in a 65 zone - no worries, undo!
You drink too much at the corporate Christmas party, it mixes badly with the unidentifiable yet tasty pastries you scarfed, and you find yourself throwing up in your bosses lap. Not a problem! UNDO.

What I have NOT yet discussed as applicable to our real lives is the power of versioning. Imagine if you could make a version of yourself. One self sits down and waits while the other self, tests out the new improvements. So, if the purple hair, cocaine snorting, rock chic life ends up in a complete disaster where you're smacked around by your pimp boyfriend you can simple limp back home, restart the old version and try again WITHOUT ACCEPTING ANY emotional or bodily damages from your mistakes. Not bad eh!!

Ok, admittedly that IS a bit creepy.

Thoughts anyone?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Viva the green revolution

m1m2 creative recently relocated back to the USA from Sydney Australia. Prior to that we lived in Germany. This has led to some interesting and comedic observations on the cultural differences which I will try to post in the future. For the moment I'm excited by all of the "green" ideas, companies, media organizations that are getting increasing press here.
I recently ran across the may/june 2006 (older but!) issue of UTNE which features "new capitalists" and discusses what's happening out there to revolutionize the way businesses think and operate. Very worth checking out.

Somewhat related to this is an interesting company with a 3D camera and editing system that stitches the images together. It looks promising. I would love to play with it.

In the meantime, resources lifted from the utne magazine:

American Clay
North Star Beds
Nubanusit Neighborhood and Farm
Perfect Organics
eGo Vehicles
Neuton Cordless Electric Mower
Spa Naturally/Creative Water Solutions
Radiant Floor Company

Monday, May 28, 2007

Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival 07

Infused with the spirit of the D and decked out as everything from techno super heroes, to goth vampires, to punk goth kiddie techno post-ravers, to the plain ole jeans and a tee (T-shirt highlight: "the birth of the tofu robot" Imagine a gumbyesque square robot that looks like cheese. ), the highlight was definitely the dancers.

Although enjoyable the music still takes a back seat to the dancing grannie on wheels, and a certain crystal ball juggler named Justin who could make crystal balls glide on air. (I was told you can see more of this at the renaissance festival in Holly if you were an instafan as we were.)

On the main stage, Hardfloor, the German duo was a stand out. They lit up the crowd, which cruised right through Monolake into Model 500 f/Juan Atkins. Model 500 is reminiscent of Kraftwerk. They use an old skool 80's sound and infuse it with fresh off-beat mixes. The sound comes out feeling very Detroit, a techno, drum and base, mixed beats, rap, poetry, fun.

The wider and more interesting theme of the night from a digital artist's perspective was the profusion of camera paraphernalia. Everyone was wired, from HDV, to SD to digital still, to cell phone cameras, there wasn't a person there that didn't come armed with reproductive technology. Although this is a common trend worldwide it wasn't quite as abundant in Australia, (where we've just moved back from after nearly 4 years there)

Each and every person there is now an extra in another's film, available for playback and posting on youtube, where from our lonely paths we reach out for what has been erased by our capitalistic society - community.

The questions that follow are many. Is it invasive or fresh? Where does our desire to capture and be captured stem from? What will happen when this technology is seamless, when we can wear a 200 gig hard drive on our wrist-watch and film from our contact lenses? Will we sell our lives as a commodity to pay rent? Will reality become something we experience only when others have viewed and posted a comment? Will we only exist so long as we have 1 myspace friend and a youtube history?
If you don't share what you experience does it cease to exist? Is that why we frantically film and post and blog and pour our hearts out to the digital mind we call Web 2.0?

Are we losing ourselves to our toys, our technology, or are we coming together, rediscovering ourselves and our need to share the human experience?

The questions are intriguing.