Category Archives: made by me

Jan. 8: Come see my new film!

My new short, Pre-Apocalypse, is screening next week along with the other projects from my fiction film class. These films are pretty rough technically– each filmed in one day on 16mm, edited by hand on the Steenbeck, single track audio, no sound mix, no titles, some camera problems– but represent a lot of talent and hard work. I’ll be posting a d.i.y. digital transfer of my film up here soon, but I want to encourage everyone to come out and see it on the big screen because the film projection looks so much better. Hope to see you there!

preapocalypse.png

VES 150 Fall Screening
Thursday, January 8th
5:30pm
Carpenter Center Lecture Hall
24 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

muxtape

I’m a little late in the game posting about this one but I’m really digging muxtape. I’ve never been able to get into sites like last.fm because they seemed so impersonal, and kinda creepy… a robot spying on your itunes and then comparing you to this huge database and telling you whats compatible with your personal record. Muxtape is old school curatorial, your friends putting together the exact songs stuck in their head at the moment, and in an order that makes sense to them. Plus I like the post-web2.0 design that seems to be all the rage today – simple, clean lines, big text, and no goddamn rounded corners. Click once to play a song, once more for it to stop.

Of course, for all you readers out there philosophically opposed to listening to music through your browser, and who can’t be bothered to hack it out (thnx jono!), I’ll try to keep an mp3 archive of each playlist I upload on this site, and calling it fair use. Here’s my first mix, a collection of tracks that have been stuck in my head (for better or for worse) during the past month:

springtime fuck yea!

springtime fuck yea!

01 – Stro – clothing song
02 – The Breeders – Walk It Off
03 – Bondage Fairies – He-man
04 – Teengirl Fantasy – Portofino
05 – Battle of Mice – Sleep and Dream
06 – RjD2 – Ghostwriter
07 – Blind Melon – No Rain
08 – Rihanna – Umbrella (VNDLSM remix)
09 – Mistah F.A.B – Hula Hoop
10 – The Killers – Smile Like You Mean It (Fischerspooner Remix)
11 – M.I.A. – Paper Planes
12 – Lali Puna – Micronomic (boom bip remix (compilation edit))

long time no blog

some of the things I’ve done instead:

  • Designed a PDF of Sharing Creative Works, the Creative Commons comic I worked on with Alex Roberts and Jon Phillips. Did this with Scribus, an open source desktop publishing app that seems to have finally reached maturity (usable interface, doesn’t crash every couple of hours).
  • Wrote the copy for Simple Licensing, a Creative Commons infodoc designed by Alex, with contributions from Jon and Tim.
  • Redesigned the Lampoon website.
  • Sold out
  • Bunch of arty stuff. More on this later…

Lots of stuff in the blog queue, gonna get on that.

The first step is admitting you have a problem.

For proof that these bundled minor virtues don’t amount to freedom but are, instead, a formula for a period of mounting frenzy climaxing with a lapse into fatigue, consider that “Where do you want to go today?” was really manipulative advice, not an open question. “Go somewhere now,” it strongly recommended, then go somewhere else tomorrow, but always go, go, go—and with our help. But did any rebel reply, “Nowhere. I like it fine right here”? Did anyone boldly ask, “What business is it of yours?” Was anyone brave enough to say, “Frankly, I want to go back to bed”?

Maybe a few of us. Not enough of us. Everyone else was going places, it seemed, and either we started going places, too—especially to those places that weren’t places (another word they’d redefined) but were just pictures or documents or videos or boxes on screens where strangers conversed by typing—or else we’d be nowhere (a location once known as “here”) doing nothing (an activity formerly labeled “living”). What a waste this would be. What a waste of our new freedom.

The Autumn of the Multitaskers

[via Dad]

It took me ~4 hours to read this article because I was simultaneously working, chatting, listening to & downloading music, sorting through 50+ firefox tabs, emailing, eating. I multitask compulsively, and I’ve been doing it since at least middle school, when my brain was particularly vulnerable. These days I have to remind myself to go to bed and to eat breakfast (not that I was ever particularly good at those things), as checking email (which of course leads to web surfage) is so much more natural for me.

The only good news is that last paragraph is that a) I finally recognize that as a human (as opposed to a brain in cyberspace) being I need sleep and food and b) at least one of those 4 hours this morning was spent getting brunch with friends, eating outside, delighting in real human contact.

How pathetic is it that I can get cheap thrills just by leaving the house without my cell phone, no credit card, just a couple dollars in my pocket. How daring, to slip my hand into my pocket and not be greeted by my trusty time piece and communication device! It actually feels like I’m doing something vaguely dangerous. What if someone tries rapes me and I can’t call the police? What if someone tries to mug me but I have no wallet so they decide to rape me instead? What if I get lost and can’t call a friend to google map it, or pay a cab to take me home? What if I engage in conversation with someone attractive but can’t check my text messages, thus proving I have friends, during the awkward pauses? What if if the trees and the clouds get boring?

But I could easily give up the phone, on an emotional if not practical level. I hate phones, their intrusion on the outdoors and public spaces, their closed networks and the big corporations who run them. I resisted the phone as long as possible, until more than halfway through high school, when my mind was a little more durable. I’m a social phone user, I do it so I can interact with my peers, I can stop when I want.

Its the Internet I abuse: Email, IM, Web. Such delicious freedom, the ultimate home for my nocturnal, curious, cowardly mind. She’s given me so much that I didn’t realize what I’ve been missing. My only hope is for my laptop to get destroyed, and to not have enough money to replace it.

multitask

Its not the computer’s fault though. Its the culture. Recently I’ve had these moments where I have some revelation about life that seems so fucking profound. Then a couple days later I’ll realize that to most anyone in the past my brilliant thought would have been so obvious as to not even warrant a mention. This phenomena is perfectly captured by a review of Michael Pollan’s new book:

Do we really need such elementary advice? Well, two-thirds of the way through his argument Pollan points out something irrefutable. “You would not have bought this book and read this far into it if your food culture was intact and healthy,” he says.

[via Jono]

Its not just our food culture thats fucked beyond belief. We interact with each other through screens, even when we share a physical space, selecting from a menu of avatars and then dueling with each other in our living room. We are surrounded by lies, both factual– the US government– and emotional– the airbrushed images of pseudo-happy pseudo-people trying to sell us shit. We probably spend more time looking at pseudo-people than at actual people. Food is something with a cartoon character logo that you buy in the store and marriage is about being a princess for a day and smiles are for selling toothpaste.

So look, until all this is fixed, I’m gonna have a hard time abandoning the seedy but sincere streets of craigslist and youtube. It takes about 50 tabs (of firefox, silly), some music, a couple IM windows, and an email client to keep me my mind simultaneously stimulated enough to not be bored and distracted enough to not feel lonely, aimless, or anything else. Totally stimulated, totally numb.

Anyway, read that article about multitasking. Really well written, almost like turning on the webcam in your computer and just watching yourself, except ocassionally the cam slips into xray vision mode.

Sharing Creative Works

Last week Creative Commons published Sharing Creative Works, the comic I’ve been working on for the past month or so.

Sharing Creative Works Banner

Originally intended as documentation for our OLPC collaboration, we settled for trying to come up with something American kids (and adults) would understand, as we realized we were pretty unqualified to educate children in the developing world. So in true collaborative form, the comic is on the wiki (admittedly, a poor presentation format) and all the SVG artwork is online, in the hopes that people who have a stronger knowledge of the different cultures the laptops are going to will give us feedback or make improvements.

Sharing Creative Works Storyboard

I wrote the bulk of the script (with lots of help from Jon, Alex, and Asheesh). This is the product of 4ish years of trying to explain CC to friends, family, and whoever else would listen. I’m really curious about how successful it is. Its definitely the approach I’ve found work best in conversation, but this is a comic. Of course I’ve been working on it for too long to have any sense if it works or not (but Valleywag twice blogged us).

As far as the artwork goes, I storyboarded it and then passed it on to our awesome graphic designer, Alex Roberts. He did most of the panels in Inkscape until he got bored of it, and threw it back to me. The art is kinda tricky because of how abstract the ideas are, leading to an over reliance on arrows and such. I had fun with the facial expressions towards the end though.

Sharing Creative Works 17

This is my first real project using vector graphics and its made me a lot more savvy with Inkscape, which is great. I definitely miss ink & bristol, and hopefully will have something new in that medium up here soon. On the other hand, SVG makes it so easy to revise and mess around, like with this final panel that didn’t make the cut:

Sharing Creative Works cut panel

October Update: California, Lampoon, Creative Commons…

Its been a while since my last post, but not for lack of things to say. Instead, my bandwidth for online activity has been consumed by two other endeavors. First, I gave the Harvard Lampoon website a complete redesign using Drupal. Its still very much a work in progress, and considering my attention span, it may stay as such for a while. But check it out, as we plan to update the content quite frequently (including comics illustrated by yours truly).

However, despite what my recent contributions to the Lampoon may seem, I am not back in Cambridge. My love affair with California is still going strong and I’ve decided to stay in Berkeley for the semester. Peace out, Puritans. Hello, beautiful hippie people.

And what have I been doing out here? Besides making lots of friends, art, and sourdough, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been hired as a Business Development Assistant for Creative Commons, the awesome organization I interned with over the summer. I blog for them a couple times a week, so that’s definitely been eating into the energy I have for this site. More to come on what else I’ve been working on there, but for now I should mention that we just launched our Annual Fall Fundraising Campaign, and along with it, a slick site redesign. Those of you already familiar with the great work CC is doing, consider making a donation!

Support CC - 2007

For the uninitiated, this video is a pretty good introduction to what Creative Commons is all about: