We know that Hollywood and others are capable of creating video images that look real but aren't real. Still, we generally tend to accept video evidence of an occurrence as proof that it happened that way.
But after watching this, I think it's safe to say we should no longer accept video as proof of reality:
You should watch the film Life In a Day. It's a crowd-sourced documentary assembled by the folks at National Geographic and YouTube, where folks from around the world sent in 4,500 hours of video footage of their lives as recorded on July 24th, 2010. (Don't worry, the film itself is only an hour and a half.)
Life In a Day weaves together moments of joy and sadness, frivolity and struggle, plainness and great beauty into a wonderful fabric of the human experience. It at once shows the ways in which the routines of our days are shared across cultures and landscapes (we wake, we clean up, we eat, we interact, we travel, we love, we argue, we sleep), but also the stark contrasts of wealthy and poor, privileged and oppressed, healthy and unhealthy, troubled and care-free.
There are only a few "characters" we see multiple times throughout the day - a man bicycling around the world, a family struggling with cancer - but the amazing editing and soundtrack create a story arc grounded not in personality or plot twist, but in the experience of having 24 hours pass and all of the amazing (or mundane) things that can happen in that time. It's a masterpiece that will perhaps seem quaint in a few decades, but that could not have been possible even 5 or 10 years ago.
Life In a Day is inspiring and moving. Best of all, it's real.
I recently received my DVD copy of local filmmaker Zack Parker's latest film, Scalene. This is my review (partly of the film and partly of the making of the film), which doesn't contain any plot spoilers but may still affect your own viewing experience if you read it first.
Scalene is a dark thriller that tells a story of a mother, her son, and the son's caretaker as they interact around some events that change their lives significantly. The film shows the perspectives of each of the three characters using a combination of linear (forward and reverse) and non-linear story-telling, a technique that certainly keeps things interesting and always a bit unsettling.
The movie was filmed in Richmond, and so as a resident it was also "fun" to try to pick out the locations and backdrops along the way - various scenes in the City building, various restaurants, Glen Miller Park, etc. I've even been pulled over by one of the Richmond Police Department officers who makes an appearance in the film, but I don't think that qualifies me for an on-screen credit.
In June, a delegation from Summersault attended the YAPC::NA Perl Conference in Columbus, Ohio for a few days. My second YAPC conference, it was an interesting experience full of inside jokes, engaging discussions, more inside jokes, and good food.
I was only scheduled to give one presentation ("How to talk, or not talk, to your clients about Perl") but after hearing some of the opening remarks at the conference that spent too much time and energy, IMHO, declaring that "Perl is not dead!" I signed up to give a new talk about possibilities for re-framing that sentiment.
The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is restricting glasses, hats, scarves -- and even smiles -- in driver's license photographs. The new rules imposed last month were deemed necessary so that facial recognition software can spot fraudulent license applications, said BMV spokesman Dennis Rosebrough.
And then he had the gall to spin it as an improvement, since it would be horrible to admit that humans had done a better job:
The new technology represents an advancement of what the BMV already was doing, Rosebrough said. BMV employees always have looked at the old photo of a person to see if it looked like the person seeking a new license.
2) I was at a local video store yesterday, trying to rent a video using Anna Lisa's account. I gave the cashier her phone number and name, and he said he'd have to call her to verify that it was okay for me to rent on her account. When she didn't pick up, I offered to call her on my cell phone (in case she wasn't picking up the call from an unknown number), and the cashier said, "okay, yeah, just ask her if it's okay and then you can tell me what she said."
Journalist Amy Goodman, along with two other members of her crew, were roughed up and arrested at the Republican National Convention despite clearly displaying their press credentials. Other journalists hoping to provide media coverage of the convention and the protests around it were pre-emptively arrested before it even began. And of course, many other people attempting to protest peacefully at both major-party conventions were rounded up, assaulted, arrested and more. For anyone who still had some shred of hope that the media have the ability (let alone the interest) to cover actions and speech that dissent from the mainstream, these incidents may not leave you with much hope left.
On Wednesday this week, I experienced the great joy of being a part of what might have been Richmond's first 100-Mile Radius Potluck - where all of the ingredients in the dishes you bring come from within 100 miles of Richmond. It was a great success, with delicious food, good company, and a strong sense of possibility about how local food ties into building a more self-reliant Richmond.