Nothing like a productive day job

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Hey everyone!

So, were you unaware that for 8 straight weekends I was in Chicago, taking part in a performance workshop/class with the wonderful Neo-Futurists?  The class was an intro to their famous show, Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, and it culminated with a class performance on 28 February 2010, attended by family, friends, and possibly enemies of class members and instructors.  I know a few of my blog readers were able to attend, but in case you weren’t (and didn’t get a preview performance), one of the plays I wrote and performed, and you can check it out on YouTube!  It’s entitled “Nothing like a productive day job,” and it’s about my thoughts and struggles with unemployment and the job search.

Watch Nothing like a productive day job on YouTube
(I’m giving you the link to click instead of putting it here so you can leave comments on the page.)  Please share this with everyone you think might enjoy it, especially those who are out there like me, looking for work.  We are not alone!

As a class, we performed 20 plays in 40 minutes, using the TMLMTBGB model (the normal show is 30 in 60), and there are 4 other plays you can view on YouTube:
How I Remember the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy
Priority Lapse
21st Century Love Story
Sphygmomanometer

The other play I got in the show was titled “1984. 2010. Whenever.”  I plan on posting that script in an upcoming blog post.

And in case my play makes you depressed, just know that my job search continues in earnest, and I remain positive about it all.  I had an interview Tuesday that seeminly went well, though I won’t know for a couple weeks, and I continue to write and send out cover letters as much as I can motivate myself to.  Good Luck to me!

OK, so if you’re too lazy to click on the link, you can watch it here (though I’m not sure it gets counted on YouTube, another reason to click here instead).

You can leave your comments below, too!

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do you know OK go?

Wednesday 3 March 2010

So, I think I had heard the name of the band OK Go before today, but until today they were only a name.  That’s when I saw this video, which began my journey for the day.

The video is for the song “This Too Shall Pass” and was released Monday, apparently.  The main concept is that of a large Rube Goldberg Machine — you know, one of those contraptions that had a lot of steps and various things happen along the way before it does something tiny at the end (you know, Wallace & Gromit style).  It was designed by Syyn Labs and is pretty darn amazing.  Perhaps the best part is getting to see all the various things happen along the way, as the camera follows the action.  (Also, I came across a Rube Golberg Machine contest, held at Purdue, with some video of machines created for that event, too.)

I also then came across their previous viral video that I’m apparently way behind the times viewing, considering it has nearly 50 million views at this writing.  What I find most enjoyable are some of the moves that look like they’re roller skating (at about the 2:30 mark)!  Pretty sweet guys!

What will they do next?


let’s at least get a blog out of today

Tuesday 2 March 2010

So today was a particularly unproductive day, but I decided I should at least get a blog out of how I spent my day, so here are some suggestions on how to spend your (extra) time:

Last night I rediscovered the website MyLifeIsAverage.com (abbreviated MLIA on the site).  People write short little quips about random things that happened in their lives that made them giggle a bit, and hopefully make you giggle a bit, too.  But be warned — it can become addicting!

One post on MLIA took me too this great youtube video:

Also, after watching the TV show The Big Bang Theory last night, I had to find out if this t-shirt really exists, and I’m happy to say, it does!  Personal Soundtrack Shirt

The website with the soundtrack shirt also had a Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock t-shirt, which got me thinking about possibilities for RPS type games with any odd number of possibilities, and that took me to a website by David Lovelace which has RPS games of 7, 9, 11, 15, 25, and 101 choices to choose from!  There is even an online flash game to play, solo or with a friend!  (Unfortunately, it only goes up to 25.)

And finally, the site cleverbot.com was suggested at one point, where you can apparently have a conversation with a robot/artificial intelligence, but I didn’t have any luck: In fact, I asked it “How can I be more productive?” and I simply got the response, “You are not real.”  Obviously, MLIA.


violence in the South Hebron Hills

Monday 17 November 2008

To tell you the truth, I’m not sure of the right words to describe my feelings when I read the news below: sadness, anger, dejection, frustration, disbelief.  These all get at some of my basic thoughts when I read the news.  Please read for yourself:

CPTnet  (www.cpt.org) 17 November 2008
AT-TUWANI: Israeli settlers attack Palestinian shepherds, kill donkey, injure internationals.

On 15 November 2008, around 9:00 a.m., approximately fifteen masked Israeli settlers from the illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on attacked three Palestinian shepherds who were grazing their flocks in a valley south of the outpost.  The settlers came running down from a ridge above the shepherds, hurling rocks. The shepherds were able to get their flocks away before the rocks injured them.

During the incident, the settlers were able to steal two of the shepherds’ donkeys.  The settlers killed one donkey with a knife wound in the chest area.  They slashed another across the throat, but the donkey survived.

Settlers also hit two internationals from Christian Peacemaker Teams—who were accompanying the shepherds—with large rocks.  One CPTer sustained minor injuries.

The Israeli police were called four times before responding to the incident.  They did not initially respond to reports of settlers attacking Palestinian shepherds and internationals, but only responded when they learned of the attack on the donkeys.

The assault occurred on land the shepherds graze daily and which the settlers hope to take for the expansion of Havat Ma’on.  Replacing the donkey will cost around 1000 NIS, or $265.  The Israeli occupation has impoverished the shepherds of the area, and they are currently dependent on outside food aid.

For additional photos, see http://cpt.org/gallery/Settlers-Kill-Donkey.
See also a video containing a small portion of the event and aftermath: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFPaPaURfI0.
(Warning: pictures and video both contain graphic images of slain donkey.)
No matter one’s feelings about the situation in the Middle East and Palestine/Israel, I would hope you, as a reader, can recognize the horror of the event above.  While this is not something that happens every day, the idea that such a situation exists where a people daily encounter threats or the possibility of violence as large scale as this or even the “simple” harassment of throwing rocks at children on the way to school, with seemingly no reaction from the International community, is almost as much a scar on us as it is to those who commit such actions.

Education of the situation in Palestine, especially in the West Bank where settlement expansion continues to take place, is extremely important for everyone.  I call upon you to learn for yourself, tell others you know what you have read here and what you learn elsewhere, write letters to the editor of your newspaper, do whatever it takes so you and others in your life know the details or the situation (feel free to ask me, too, if you’d like).  But no matter what, it is clearly time that we as a nation and as fellow human beings with all people around the world recognize the oppression of the Palestinian people and work toward a non-violent, peaceful end to the situation that creates an environment where such horrors go unnoticed by the world community.

Some resources to get you started:
Christian Peacemaker Teams (Palestine teams): www.cpt.org/work/palestine
Michigan Peace Team (Palestine teams blog): mptinpalestine.blogspot.com
International Middle East Media Center (general news of Palestine): www.imemc.org
Haaretz (Israeli newspaper with news from another point of view): www.haaretz.com
(Read here an interesting article from Haaretz regarding US opinions of the peace talks)


a few videos

Saturday 20 September 2008

First, I must make a correction (for the better) about my last blog — one of the things I said I could put up as my status was that I left my spinach at the store, but as life should have it, that ended up not being the case at all!  Thus, my spinach (except for the bit that I’ve already eaten) is now safely stored in the refrigerator.

So let me tell you what happened:
I woke up the next morning (Friday) and was thinking about my cereal choices, thinking how I had also purchased some cereal at the store, though I didn’t see that around either.  Had I left it, too?  I wondered.  Then I thought how I had rearranged my groceries to bike back home, and I recalled putting the cereal box in my plastic bag with a bag of chips, which, too, weren’t to be found.  However, I distinctly remembered having the plastic bag held down in my left hand as I carried my canvas bag on my shoulder.  So I had to have brought it, right?  And then the light bulb went off — so I took out my keys, walked out the back door of basement room, and there I found the plastic bag with the missing cereal, chips, and, thankfully, spinach.

So all’s well with that, and I didn’t lose $1 on misplaced spinach.

But as the title of my post says, this is about videos, not spinach!  I recently found the digital/computer copies of the short video projects I made in a few of my film classes in college, and I decided I’d put them up on YouTube to see what (if any) response I get.  I still need to get up the copy of “Call Me Al,” my favorite of the bunch about the great Al Parcell who was a card swiper at my college dining hall and passed away this past winter at 92, but it’s coming.  For now, enjoy the following!

The Applicant
My group-made video project.  A fun, satirical look at the noir, 60s detective film genre based on a script about a weird job interview.  I did a lot of the editing, which I love.

Killing You Inc.
The second group project, made with the same people.  I wrote the script for this fake commercial, which I’m really proud actually got made.  I did a good portion of the editing, too, and though we all co-did everything, I was the guy who lit the bit where she’s playing video games.

Living in America: International Students Talk about Iraq
My first project for my documentary film class.  I did it all in this project, since it’s all based on sit down interviews, so you can give me credit or blame, depending on your take.

And while I’m sharing videos, I was also part of a video sketch comedy group — NSTV — my last two years of college, helping do camera, lighting, and sound on quite a few sketches.  Here are the ones on the NSTV YouTube page that I was a part of.
Spoons and Puzzles — Offbeat but hilarious (in my mind).  I did the camera work for the montage.
Murder Mystery — I wasn’t scheduled to help out with this one, but I showed up anyway because I knew it was going to be cool and got to do the racking (which means I changed the focus on the camera as it moved between people and parts of the scene).
Mr. Kriegel — Not one of my favorites, but I was a part of it.
(And my favorite NSTV sketch of all time, though it was made before my time): Ben & Jerry’s Socially Conscious Ice Cream

Enjoy!!!


away messages

Thursday 18 September 2008

When I did most of my away message writing, it was pre-facebook (pre-2004), though I also did some away message writing before the “status” thing on facebook that tried to put a semi-long-term spin on the away message theme.  AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) was always the biggest and best way to chat online with people (and from what I can tell it still is, though I’m not very apt in it anymore), and even when you weren’t chatting, you left a little message for people to read while you were gone.

Now the content of those messages fell into a few main categories, at least from memory (again, I’m going off things that happened circa 2006 and prior).  And even though it my still be current practice, I’m going to treat things as historical and write in past tense.  Though from my recent AIM pseudo usage, things haven’t changed too much, except that maybe people use AIM a little less now that facebook is around to help them waste their time.  But I digress…

One way to use away messages was to tell people where you were and/or what you were doing. This might also include the fact they one would “brb” (be right back) or such that you were reading but would take a break if someone wrote you.  I think I did this on occasion, but I almost never used the away message for the purpose it was most likely intended for.  There’s plenty of “maybe it is, maybe it isn’t” cyber stalking happening out there (and the advent of facebook added to that possibility — thank you very much Mark Zuckerberg), and I really didn’t feel like adding to the possibility of people knowing where I was at any given time.  I’m sure no one probably cared and I’m making myself up to be more important than I am, but regardless of the reason, it wasn’t my practice.

Another similar practice was to share with people either something that had already happened or something that was to happen in the future. Sometimes this would be a promotion to attend a certain play or event someone was in, or it might have been some past event with significance that seemed interesting or funny.  I would sometimes advertise an event, but I rarely did this.

One way I used away messages that I suppose would fit in this category is when I would vaguely sharing my emotional state or feelings with some kind of esoteric statement that really I only understood and knew the meaning to.  Not that anyone cared, but this led me to try and read into other people’s away messages, thinking they might be trying secretly expressing some inner feeling, maybe even speaking directly to me (as I was doing at times).  But probably not.

People might also just say general statements about life or their beliefs. Saturday night be filled with general statements about a football team winning or losing or about something someone had on their mind.  This category is the approach I read a lot of when I’m looking at facebook statuses (though people do write a lot of actual “status” information there, too).

People would share links to websites or online videos.  ‘nough said.

The final general category is pretty much contains any and everything else you could possibly think of. A lot of people would do quotes or song lyrics.  I would sometimes try and write something clever or cute or sarcastic — maybe like (I just thought of this 10 minutes ago), “If the early bird gets the worm, ten just be the worm that shows up late.”  I remember someone from camp telling me one summer they had enjoyed reading my away messages during the school year, even though we hadn’t really known each other during that time.  It was a way to entertain and be entertained and take a short break.

On a side note there, I remember that when my computer crashed after college (but while I was still using AIM), one of the things I was saddest about was the fact that I lost so many of the saved away messages I had loved to use and held dear to me.  I still kind of wonder what they were, but they are gone forever.  Such is life.

Now why did I write all this (which, I must say, is far below par for me and blog posts)?  Well, I thought that instead of a blog post (obviously that part didn’t happen this time), I might share some possible away messages that I thought about during the day — though as I was thinking more about them, I relized that my mind has started thinking about facebook status options instead of in terms of AIM away messages.  And I remember how for so long I never even put a status into my profile.  I guess, just as it happened with the cell phone, technology seems to such me in eventually (and that’s not always a bad thing).

So without further ado (or any more words), here is a part of my day in possible away messages/statuses:

eric left his spinach at the store.

eric is on YouTube!  (See my first upload.)

eric loved riding a bike to work again.

eric really wishes he could get his facebook profile name to be in lowercase letters.

eric will go to bed before midnight!

eric’s couch is also his bed.

eric still needs to unpack (but that’s what the weekend’s for).

eric wrote an extremely long blog but is too lazy to edit or cut any of it.

I’ll be back soon, don’t you worry!