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Tell a friend Making ‘Milk’: make-believe riot, talking shop with actors

Making Milk: retro storefronts
photo: Steve Rhodes

[previous: friends, Anita Bryant, Carrie Fisher]

During another shot of the Wichita protest march, I walked past the giant cameras set on a rig in the middle of the street — and tried desperately not to look at it, which is notoriously challenging for non-actors. I walked right past, within inches of, the boom operator — and, again, tried not to look at his microphone overhead.

When the crew had turned around the camera, the assistant director announced that they’d be lighting a flare for the riot scene (to mimic the unique look of raw electricity). "Don’t look at the flare," he instructed. I was getting used the challenge of not looking at something that most humans, under ordinary circumstances, would find themselves staring at.

Posted February 5, 2008 by Mariva in city, community, fashion, movies, social

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Tell a friend U2 3D

U2 3D

I accidentally invited bleeding-edge tech journalist Robert Scoble to a private Kyte party. How it unfolded is a little embarrassing, but suffice it to say that the moral of the story is, don’t be Twittering first thing in the morning when you should be busy getting some work done anyway.

After drinks and deep-fried snacks at Johnny Foley’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, the Kyte team, along with Scoble and his Fast Company podcast producer Rocky Barbanica (a disarmingly affable fellow, despite looking like someone who drives a Harley and could be menacing in a dark alley), headed over to the Metreon to see U2 3D in the IMAX movie theatre.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, and, to be honest, I probably would have been more excited at the outset by a presentation of Aliens of the Deep or Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon. With a movie of a U2 concert, I assumed I’d get bored and space out, wishing I could be Twittering from my mobile phone without being rude to my fellow attendees who’d prefer to sit in pitch-darkness. (I was wrong about the movie; read on.)

It’s not that I dislike U2. In fact, in the ’80s I used to listen incessantly to War on vinyl, lifting the needle at the end of "Seconds" and setting it down at the beginning of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" over and over again, sometimes taking a break from this two-set to listen to "Drowning Man" or "40." When I lived in "Oblique House," a small temporary co-op in Oberlin, Ohio during the summer of 1989, a friend who was a studio musician tuned his guitar to The Joshua Tree and played impeccable renditions of "Where the Streets Have No Name," "I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For," and "In God’s Country." He emulated The Edge’s signature textural style (although neither of us remembers if he’d used delay taps to mimic the "shimmer" effect). Better even than listening to the album on a top-of-the-line sound system, it sounded like a private U2 concert in our house. Later, when I traveled through the southwest, I couldn’t look at any of the ubiquitous Joshua trees without thinking of the eponymous album. Tangentially, Boo owns an original Negativland’s U2 EP (rereleased under another title), purchased just before U2’s former label Island Records sued Negativland, a controversial lawsuit that the U2 members themselves thought was "very heavy."

But I stopped buying albums after Achtung Baby and years later realized that I’d quit listening to U2’s newer stuff altogether — with the possible exception of "Beautiful Day" from All That You Can’t Leave Behind (simply because it was unavoidable in the media and the public sphere). It wasn’t intentional on my part; perhaps it was because the anger and intensity of War (still my favorite U2 album) appealed to me more than the sweeter, feel-good material of later years. (It’s analogous to — though not as extreme as — my erstwhile enthrallment with Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy in the early ’90s before Michael Franti turned into a hippie peacenik; his sound mellowed out and got boring, at least compared to his previous musical incarnations. If I wanted tepid, unchallenging music, I’d listen to smooth jazz.)

Nevertheless, it’s fairly easy to get in the mood for a U2 concert, virtual or live. U2 is like The Beatles, comprising a solid, talented quartet of British Isles musicians with names memorized by millions around the globe, known for their iconic radio hits as much as for their social activism. At this point, U2 is classic — and one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like their music.

Posted January 30, 2008 by Mariva in entertainment, innovations, media, movies, music, technology

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Tell a friend Leo Laporte’s podcasting tips

Only days after my initial careless omission of TWiT (this WEEK in TECH) in the list of the best free tech industry podcasts, I was fortunate enough to see Leo Laporte — who has a background in media, including radio and television — give an insider’s talk about podcasting at last week’s MacWorld. Here are some professional tips I picked up for current or would-be podcasters:

  • Bring passion. When developing a subject idea for a new podcast program, don’t try to game the media market — find what you love or care about and talk about it. If you focus your show on what you’re passionate and knowledgeable about, you’re much more likely to generate interest and be successful.
  • Specialize in a niche. There are thousands of audio shows available, and, for every topic you can think of, there’s at least one podcast for it. So instead of starting a new program about old cars, for example, start out by focusing on old Corvettes. Interview Corvette owners, dealers, and restorers. You can always expand your focus later. Also, don’t worry about getting a huge audience right away. If you have an audience of 1,000 dedicated listeners, you’re doing well. One thousand is a lot of people; if you were speaking to that many in person, it’d be an impressive crowd.

Posted January 24, 2008 by Mariva in audio, business, career, media, resources, technology

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Tell a friend best free audio podcasts

best free audio podcasts

Over the years I’ve developed a pathological fear of boredom, and subsequently a fear of mundane activities that lead to boredom, like waiting at the airport (especially at night), exercising (if it’s routine and not, say, a hike in an unfamiliar area), or cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. I like to keep my mind occupied; sometimes my own thoughts are enough, and sometimes they’re just not. For when my thoughts aren’t enough, and there’s nothing good on the radio, I listen to my favorite podcasts.

The irony? Alas, there is simply not enough time — even counting the stretches of boring time during aforementioned mundane activities — to listen to everything I want to, so the podcasts not yet listened to stack up in a sometimes overwhelming queue. I’ve realized that podcasts are like books or recorded TV shows: I probably won’t get to everything, but it comforts me to know they’re there, promising a rich intellectual landscape in which to escape from a wasteland of ennui.

Posted January 5, 2008 by Mariva in education, entertainment, news, resources, technology

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Tell a friend April 1

April Fool's Day

In the mood for romance? Or various other tomfoolery?

Oh, by the way: don’t forget to spring forward tonight. No foolin’.

 

Posted April 1, 2006 by Mariva in fun, holidays, news

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Tell a friend time management haiku

work, home, health, friends, sleep
not enough hours in the day
just treading water
  time management: watching the clock

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
by David Allen

The Time Trap: The Classic Book on Time Management
by Alec MacKenzie

Time Tactics of Very Successful People
by B. Eugene Griessman

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
(and other books by Stephen R. Covey & family)

Posted March 24, 2006 by Mariva in books, business, career, innovations, resources

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Tell a friend baby safety

Safe Baby Handling Tips, by David and Kelly Sopp

It’s hard to imagine a better — or funnier — gift for the parents-to-be who already have everything than Safe Baby Handling Tips by David and Kelly Sopp.

This novelty picture book is basically a series of contrasting dos and don’ts with regard to taking care of an infant. For example, the correct way to "bond with baby" is to hold and coo at the baby, not attempt to engage him or her in a timed game of chess! And when you’re putting the baby down to play, put him or her in, say, a playpen, not a cage. When taking baby for a walk, put him or her in a baby backpack, not in an old potato sack.

I mean, sheesh, people — take care of the baby! Get this book.

Posted March 23, 2006 by Mariva in books, education, entertaining, entertainment, fun, gifts, home

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Tell a friend feel-good commercials

feel-good commercials

I realize that advertising represents (and sometimes causes) many of the ills of our society, but I can’t help it — as something of a pop culture aesthete, I love me a good commercial. I think this is because I appreciate good design, clever concepts and creativity in any form. For better or worse — whether subsidizing theater companies and museums or hiring the best illustrators, writers and cinematographers — corporations have become the new patrons of the arts. I’m often astonished at how compelling the commercials for Volkswagon, Apple and Coca-Cola are.

Posted March 22, 2006 by Mariva in arts, business, entertainment, health, innovations, movies

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Tell a friend book clubs and reading resources

book clubs and reading resources

A couple of years ago, I co-founded a major book club in my city. Because I was the facilitator, I felt it was my duty to read not only the chosen books but the study guides as well. It was like taking a literature class, without the term papers and oppressive overhead lighting.

Ah, those were the days. Now I’m in the middle of seven different books and can’t seem to finish any of them. Seriously. (I hope at least to finish Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix — yes, that’s Book 5, not even Book 6! — before the movie is released.)

Posted March 17, 2006 by Mariva in books, community, education, innovations, resources, social

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Tell a friend quote gifts

Lunch Mail

Sometimes the perfect thing to say has already been said by someone else. Lunch Mail has encapsulated this concept in an attractive product designed to uplift and inspire. Each Lunch Mail pack contains a set of thirty colorful business-card-size "surprise" messages. (Think fortune cookies or Cracker Jack prizes without the calories.) Created by the National Education Association, Lunch Mail was conceived as a special treat to include with children’s lunches, but I’ve seen them used for various grownup purposes, such as ice-breakers for cocktail parties, classes and business networking mixers.

Posted March 15, 2006 by Mariva in arts, books, crafts, education, fun, gifts, innovations, social

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