“Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth’s atmosphere to a company as a monopoly.” –Marshal McLuhan, Understanding Media (1965)
“The English language has been the linear tongue of colonial discoveries, racial cruelties, invented names, simulated tribal cultures, and the unheard literature of dominance in tribal cultures; at the same time, this mother tongue of paracolonialism has been a language of liberation for many tribal people.” — Gerald Vizenor
FB blasted me my 2015 writing for the NYE 2016, so I’m copy/pasting and updating this in 2020 for NYE 2021. Let’s see how it goes. I’ll just add the updated version (in parentheses), so.
PSA – Reflection 2015 (2020)
Well, the year is done. I’ve been 54 (59) orbits around the sun, which in itself is a shocker. So, what went on in 2015 (2020)?
– Lived in Chicago from January through March, waiting for work visa. (2020 – Lived in Abu Dhabi UAE the entire year. Didn’t leave it to go anywhere).
– April, moved across the world, YET AGAIN, this time back to the Middle East and a job in the United Arab Emirates, neighbor to Saudi Arabia, but very different culturally and technologically. (2020 – Renewed my apartment rent. Expensive, but nice building with a view of the Gulf and downtown AD – worth it)
– Resigned (2020 – reassured) myself to the fact that I probably (2020 – definitely) won’t live and work in the US again, for reasons too numerous to put into this little FB posting. (Even more new and improved reasons in 2020)
– Found myself separated from my immediate family for quite possibly a very long time. The repercussions from this are also too numerous, but suffice to say, it takes a very VERY strong mind to reconcile and accept this fact. Since I am a “go with the FLOW” kind of person, this is how it has to be, and I am going with it. My family knows me, and accepts this. None of it is easy ever. At all. (2020 – Unchanged and accurate)
– The opportunity I have here in Abu Dhabi is unique in many ways, and the same as anywhere else I could be. I am buckled in for quite possibly several years here, given my age and current situation. (2020 – Unchanged and accurate, though I thought I’d have advanced my position, but I know now that won’t ever happen)
– I am politically removed from the US now, and I don’t like the direction the country is headed. It’s obvious through my many political postings where I stand, and being a “pragmatic progressive” I have also accepted that oligarchy has taken over the country I grew up in. I am thinking a lot about this, and thinking of the many people I know, family and friends, who I’ve left behind to live in the US, which, if you look at the facts, is declining in wealth and influence around the world. (2020 – Unchanged – except for it being far worse, and accurate prediction)
– Overall, my physical health is not the best, but that’s all from my horrible personal habits. I am human, and proud to be who I am, and have grown a bit more into the “jeez, it’s one life, might as well enjoy what I can of it” state of mind. I’ll be around for several more years, so no worries there. (From January 2020 to now, I’ve dropped close to 15kg, so there’s a bright spot. Except for the usual old bastard things, I’m relatively healthier than in 2015)
– I am the most conflicted about my life’s work. I’ve been an educator since age 24. It’s really all I know and love. As much as I’ve seen in the many countries I’ve lived and worked, I try to stay positive, given the overwhelming evidence to the contrary about what it means to be in higher education. I’m still doing it, and really adore every minute I put into writing about it, thinking about it, and putting it into practice. More amazeballs things are around the corner for me in my current job. (2020 – Coaching is a new endeavor – and there’s already a lot of potential that surprised me – especially how it seems a natural next step)
– Basically, I am extremely happy and fortunate for the experiences I’ve had – even with the crusty “angriest guy in the world” postings that I just can’t help posting on FB. I know what I’ve seen and done is something extremely rare in this world. I’ve experienced things extremely unique for one travelling the earth. I am more than a tourist to many regions of the world. This experience has been priceless, so very very priceless, and it’s absolutely impossible to express in words. I’m not gloating about this. I really feel so very fortunate for what I’ve carved out in my life. (2020 – in 2016 I hit five continents within one month of travelling. That was pretty cool. Returned to Okinawa twice – or three times – already too old to remember).
– Facebook, more than anything, has helped me connect and reconnect to a LOT of people from my past. This is such a unique moment in our collective experience to be able to do this. I have re-friended a lot of people, made closer friends with a lot of my acquaintances, and seen that there’s no way ever we will all see eye to eye on things that are important to us. Folks, we can and must agree to disagree, but we must realize how temporary we are here, and do our best to leave a legacy to our progeny. (2020 – Yeah, FB is a dark joke. At least I started using Duck-Duck-Go instead of Google for my web searches. All large social media are evil – FULL STOP and that won’t change.)
– Above all else, I want everyone reading this to remember two very important things about our all-too-short life. 1) Breathe in. 2) Breathe out. Laugh if you want, but these are the two basic truths that we must remember in order to continue another time around the sun. (2020 – Unchanged and accurate; so very very accurate)
– Go watch a sunrise, and watch a sunset on the same day. It’s a very sober reminder of the amazing beauty that surrounds us, but that we can very easily forget when we get caught up in the day-to-day goings on. (2020 – Unchanged and accurate)
Love (2020 – most of) you all, and with the very best wishes for a safe, sound, prosperous, content, and very very Happy New Year (2020 – stay. the. fuck. inside. wear. a. fucking. mask. get. a. fucking. vaccination. then. wear. your. fucking. mask. stay. safe. stay. sane. wash. your. hands.)
In short: 2015 was AMAZEBALLS (2020 was the worst god-awful shit-storm dumpster-fire and I really don’t see an improved 2021 ahead because reasons).
I’ve started on my new adventure in coaching. A couple people I am working with are wanting to find ways of creating interesting video-based content, so I wrote them an email about some shows I watch kind of regularly on YouTube, NOT for the content, but for the production themselves, as my clients are small-shop operators, and these productions below look to be small and medium-small shops that have had a pretty large degree of Youtube success. After writing the email, I realized I should also pop the info here into my blog, so here it is.
Various titles by Not another cooking show.
This guy used to own a food truck in NYC, but looks like he started his YouTube channel a couple years back. He basic technique is:
1. Talk directly to the camera in close-up.
2. Tell an opening story.
3. Show the food being made in very quick steps.
4. Show the final product.
5. Then slow going through the recipe and technique through a series of jump cuts. His talking is a series of jump cuts, as are his cutting techniques, etc. He has no qualms about the jump cuts. Why should he? It works.
6. Take a photo of the final project in a very careful presentation of the food with the video title superimposed over the shot of the final product.
7. End with him eating the food and final comments.
8. Jamming his knife on the cutting board to show that he’s done.
There’s good use of music in the background, and lots of close-ups of the preparation, frying, baking, etc. It’s edited so that it moves along quickly, but coherently.
Most of his videos are between 6 to 15 minutes long, and he produces maybe three to four videos a month.
Film theory: various titles by The Film Theorists
I absolutely love two things about these productions.
1. The animation of the narrator is just so unique. He uses a lot of still shots, but animates over them, and moves them around in great synch with what he says.
2. He’s a natural narrator, too. This guy uses his voice in a deeply interesting and engaging way. He also ends every show with his tag line ‘BUT THAT’S JUST A THEORY, A FILM THEORY’ and his exaggerated way of saying this is, for me at least, very memorable.
This is obviously a YouTube channel with a highly skilled animation editor, but they still manage to put out a lot of content very quickly.
Most of his videos are a maximum of 20 minutes, and he produces something maybe very other day! He’s got a crew working for him!
Various titles Pitch Meeting by Film Rant
Every “pitch meeting’ video is pretty much exactly the same in structure. It’s the same guy dressed in two different outfits, one of him wears glasses (the writer making the pitch), and the other, the producer with the money, doesn’t.
He shoots on green screen and the backgrounds he uses are only different depending on the year the film that is being pitched was made. This means the device behind the screen writer is either an old typewriter, a newer typewriter, an old computer, or a newer computer. What makes me laugh is the quick edits in the conversation between the two characters. Also, the writer has a tag line “Super easy, barely an inconvenience”. The back and forth style with quick edits as they look at the stories behind the movies are pretty interesting observations, but this is definitely for adult viewers.
Almost every pitch meeting is between 6 to 9 minutes long. He seems to be his own production crew, but he has produced a lot of content in addition to the Pitch meeting series.
Geography Now: Country in focus by Geography Now. This guy set out in the beginning to make a video about every country on Earth. If you dig through his archive and watch earlier productions then watch the Pakistan production, which is only about a year old, you’ll see a marked increase in production quality, and he expanded his ‘staff’ in later productions to help out. There’s a ton of interesting information, and he really innovated in telling some of the stories of the country, and highlighting a lot of different things that are unique about every country. He clearly loves what he’s doing in this series, and recently stopped because of covid, with a promise to return to finish what he started.
Most of his videos are a bit longer, so look for 18 to 30 minutes episodes. With his expanding staff, he’s up to about the letter “T” on the list of 190 or so countries around the globe.
Various geography themed content by ibx2cat There’s one feature about this guy’s videos that I haven’t researched and that is how he’s able to have himself in the corner live as he works his way through various websites, including a LOT of use of Google Earth to zoom in and out of various countries as he talks about details of that country. He records everything in one cut, so, there’s no editing at all, and kind of rambles at times, but I like his fast talking style, in fact, it’s very fast at some points, and he’s clearly in love with talking about his topics.
His videos are anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes, but I can still sit through a 45 minute ramble because obviously I’m a big geography buff. He seems to put out videos two to three times a week, and obviously he’s a one-man show.
1. I turned 58 on December 1. Thanks for your birthday wishes. I share birthdays with the late great Richard Pryor, Bette Middler, the disgraced Woody Allen, and the putrid piece of shit Senator from Florida, Rick Scott, among of course many other people. Birthdates determine nothing about your future.
2. My friend and long ago classmate Charlie Williams announced that he’s leaving Facebook at the end of this month. I think it’s the right move, and it triggered something in me, and today, I’ve spent time unfollowing between 50 to 75 groups that I’ve been in on Facebook. I’ve had friends leave FB for various reasons, and, you know, by staying here, we are all contributing to…well, if you don’t know it by now, it’s not even worth commenting. It’ll be hard to leave FB because it’s one of my lifelines to family and friends. What are the alternatives to serving a billionaire who lied and cheated his way into his billions, and is now quite alright that the thing he built is one of the biggest sources of misinformation on the planet. The alternatives are serving the billionaires at twitter, who pretty much do the same thing; serving the billionaires at Instagram (aka Facebook-owned but for the younger generations); serving someone else in order to stay in touch with friends and family. No matter what we choose, it’s the wrong choice. We have no choice, so I’m thinking what to do.
3. The groups I’ve unfollowed are 80% political, with the remaining 20% various news agencies and other weird websites. I’ve kept some web comics sites, some art and design sites, and of course the UU sites, who remind me that religious points of view are embraced by a vast majority of humans and I need to keep my mind as open as possible. Already, I’m seeing a lot more posts from family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances that were being drowned out by all the other flak I had on my “news feed”.
4. I spent a good three or so years as an online adjunct for St. Thomas University, my former employer, and subsequent alma mater (Ed.D. in Ed. Leadership), and I taught a few doctoral level courses about Social Media Management, naively extolling the virtues of the major social media websites. Now I realize I was duped like we’ve all been duped. The hardest part is admitting the dupe. I actually have a lot to say about higher education and education in general, but I think I’d probably have a serious brain aneurysm if I started to do the research that I want to do. I’d be doubled over in rage at the ghetto education has become globally, and especially the anti-educational road that the USA is barreling down.
5. I’m very thankful for my current job. I work with people from over 80 countries. I recently attended a talk at NYU-Abu Dhabi (they have a huge campus on Saadiyat Island…actually kind of hermetically sealed off from Abu Dhabi proper) and their main problem was, they spent all their time recruiting students globally, but their teaching staff come from a homogenous educational background (that being from Western Universities mostly from the English speaking countries). They have a huge disconnect, whereas our college student body comes from open-enrollment Emerati students who have the amazing value of faculty from, as I said, people from over 80 countries. The irony of it all … that’s just the tip of the iceberg… I have a lot of creative freedom in what I do, and have had many valuable working relationships here … and I’ve been humbled and reminded daily of my world view talking with the faculty and staff here. Long story short, this is the longest I’ve ever worked anywhere. I’ve had some frustrations, but I have to say, it’s the least stressful job I’ve experienced in my lifetime, and the opportunities for collaboration, whether with my Italian friend / colleague who will need my help with instructional design issues, my Jordanian and South African colleagues looking to collaborate with designing PD sessions on assessment, or the teachers who I coach from Mexico, India, Panama, Malaysia, Iraq, Nigeria, Tanzania, Australia, Pakistan, Romania…it’s been a really fabulous opportunity and I look forward to our transition to competency-based education at the college. If I write anything (and I still am not disciplined enough) it will be about the diversity of the people I work with. The government of the UAE is, I believe, doing their best to leverage the wealth that oil has brought them, and they are doing their best to diversify their economy. Of course, the road to where they want to go is bumpy, and seat belts are fastened. So far, everything I see here is forward looking, especially from my view inside the college.
6. With that said, moving to Okinawa is somewhere on the horizon, but I’m wondering if I should try to crowdsource some cash so I can have an adventure in Rwanda, first… there are still a lot of teachers who need guidance, and I wonder if there’s a place for me in or around Kigali. What do you think?
For your convenience: a glossary of Dr. Larry-isms (I paid 70k for those damn two letters, let me have my vanity!), aka, my favorite ways to make quick notes or comments on shit that scrolls through the FB feed. BTW, fuck Zuck and fuck FB, but this is my only soapbox so there’s that. Make sure you print this out and tape it to the front of your computer / tablet / smart device for your reference. Print it out now before you read it. Stop stalling and print the damn thing…you know copy/paste into something and hit print. That color laser printer in the corner needs some use. If you want, color each point below a different color for variety, and you know, all that printer ink just sitting there. Jeez, go on eat some cheetos too, but watch out there’s onion powder in ’em. Or just watch this, instead, do I need to tell you everything?
Accurate – something that is way the fuck true. So true that you don’t even have time to shave. So true that that Japanese curry just needs a little more red chili powder so the burn in your mouth extends beyond each spoonful, although, hell yeah that piece of meat is better consumed via those aluminum chopsticks you just bought a few weeks back. So true that Patsy Cline and Lynyrd Skynyrd and Buddy Holly and Jane Russell would approve. So true that even Robert Mugabe would concede that everyone being a multi-mega-trillionaire just wasn’t helping.
Current Mood (and variations) – OMG I’m so fucking happy to have added a new pattern into my repertoire. Happy New Year 2020! A NEW DECADE! Just there’s literally a bug in the system and it has literally given us pause to gauge our mood. Shit, what’s gonna happen next? Is this just a 30-minute sitcom that will have resolution? OK, actually 22 minutes because of the fucking marketers…
A pause! A time to reflect! I mean, yeah, I grew up on sitcoms, so everything should be resolved quickly. Who isn’t having mood swings right now? Among all my FB brethren and sisthren there are the pray-ers, the drink-ers, the meme-ers, the political-ers, and the ones I least understand, those who keep it strictly personal with photos of their dogs and cats and living room furniture. Well fuck all that, I’m gonna cuss because there’s empirical research showing I’m a goddamn genius for doing so. Moody? Foody? Goody? Broody? This one I’m gonna milk for a very very long time.
Framing – George Lakoff.George Lakoff. George Lakoff. George Orwell. George Orwell. George Orwell. Lev Vygotsky. Lev Vygotsky. Lev Vygotsky. What do a modern day linguist, an anti-fascist fighter in the Spanish Civil War, and a Soviet educational psychologist have in common? Language is a way to make sense of a world where there’s no sense, until you dig down and see how language itself has been used and is still being used to bend minds, and souls, and morality, and pineapple on pizza. As a language teacher who has always paid attention to the “whose English, exactly, are we teaching?” debate, and keeping in mind Orwell’s lament of the death of hundreds of other languages as the worst legacy of colonialism and hegemony… well shit…sticks and stones may break your bones, but you are fucking wrong to think names will never hurt you, moron. STAY THE FUCK INSIDE.
Kwaheri – Kwaheri is Swahili for “Goodbye”. Straws aren’t destroying the earth, corporations are, and we are all complicit. Dire predictions, animal extinctions, stuff lost forever, like tears in rain … it’s all kwaheri, though it used to be adios.
Pearls – (found in many different phrased ways). Clutch clutch clutch. Remember, in these times, there is no bottom. None. NONE. Almost every day something even lower happens. Because of this new given, nothing that happens from this moment forward should surprise you. Those who want to see the world burn are also dragons, sitting on their piles of gold, the worst hoarders of all, and we are supposed to admire their success. Well, you know what? Framing. The rest of us are their servants in one way or the other. Deep inside me there’s an optimist, but like that speck of dirt that causes oysters to secrete whatever the fuck they secrete to form a pearl, that’s pretty much where I am personally. Also, I really was getting into the XFL because fuck the NFL. I will never learn, will I?
PSA – Public Service Announcements are usually sometimes actual real important serious things…or they aren’t. If you know me and my sense of humor, you’ll be able to tell them apart. It’s really my shorthand for saying… do you really NOT have the basic common sense and decency that this post is flagging? What the ever living fuck is WRONG with you? I think it’s me being Calvin and ranting at all the injustices I PERSONALLY AM SUFFERING. It’s maybe the sociopath in me (I have strong genes in that area sherioshly). Anyway, it’s something that you should take note of.
Zen – Use this as reference Face it: the contradictions in the human condition baffle as much as they entertain. They make waffles as much as they use sump pumps on sailboats headed to St. Croix. You either try to connect it and control it, or you realize that all is well because nothing is under control. It’s why I’m a left-handed-ambidexterous Unitarian. Now go enjoy your snickers.