saturday night's alright alright alright

So Saturday. Traditional night for drunken revelry, yes/no?

Then, the end of senior semester, with thesis deadline fast approaching. Not so much on the drunken revelry.

Temporary solution: drinks and laptops on the back porch…

*plus, I make good use of my time by figuring out how to make photos on my gallery show up here… whee!


lab time

I just spent a very productive 5 1/2 hours in the DV lab at school. They have two shiny new G5 machines with 23 inch cinema HD displays. Unfortunately, they’re still in “beta” versions, meaning more unstable than the regular G4s (“unstable but crazy fast”).

For me, this translated into Avid DV Pro eating my OMFI MediaFiles database file on my harddrive, preventing me from accessing my 18 hours of logged and captured footage. I was nearly resigned to hours of desperate harddrive maintenance, but decided to try switching to a G4 with Avid DV Xpress first. Everything opened up just fine. No corrupt database files in sight. No 23″ display either, sadly, but you take what you can get at UT.

The lab is already getting crowded, people are already getting delirious. I have 23 tapes total. I have five more tapes to log/capture (about two hours computer time per tape). I have three weeks to finish. I have two words to summarize my feelings on this matter: fucking fuck.


Chickens, at home and abroad

Thursday morning I set off for Pittsburg, Texas, and another few days of filming. The drive up there has always been pretty tolerable—scenic farmland, hills, the occasional herd of goats—but this time was especially nice because all the wildflowers were in full bloom. The road was lined in bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, red clover, and pink, yellow, and pale blue flowers whose names I don’t know.

I checked in at the trusty old Mount Pleasant Days Inn (micro-fridges AND wireless internet!) and then made a few calls to line up interviews for the next two days. Friday morning I talked with a “Corporate Environmental Coordinator” at Pilgrim’s Pride—we drove out to his farm (he’s also a contract grower with Pilgrim’s) and filmed in front of bright red 500-foot-long chicken houses (capacity: 29,000 chickens).

Then I met up with Susan in the afternoon, and we drove around her family’s farm, now overgrown and on the market. Saturday morning I got to revisit the chickens I saw placed into houses as cute little chicks six weeks ago. In that time, they’ve grown to five pounds, are no longer cute, and are headed to the slaughterhouse early this week. Once again, great footage. I’m debating whether or not to drive back Monday night to see them collected for their journey to the processing plant.

Photos from this trip are on the gallery—just a few for posterity’s sake.

So I get back Saturday night, feeling the opposite of studious or productive. Maryann comes up with the obvious solution, which is decorating Easter eggs. Which of course leads to drinking and watching Zoolander. Naturally. All of which resulted in a great series of egg pictures.

Now it’s Sunday, Maryann and I just got back from a luscious Easter brunch at Eastside Cafe, courtesy her dad, and I should really drive to campus in this nasty weather and spend the rest of the day logging footage. Thankfully, I also need to read a novel for my history class, which is much easier to do while curled up in a warm bed.

Peace Corps year 1

(here) it goes…

Welcome to my redesigned, relocated weblog/website. I offer it to you today in the midst of change and excitement and endings and beginnings.

For starters, a month ago today I began overhauling and the blog, which I’ve shifted from Blogger/Blogspot to MT/ Many thanks to Bryan and Ali for their help with this. Also, R.I.P. showcat, though I hope to keep it online for archival purposes, at least until Blogger decides to squoosh it.

Webdesign proved maddening enough to adequately distract me from thesis work for a while. However, seeing as how exactly a month from now I’ll have finished with college classes and have less than 24 hours to turn in my thesis, I figure it’s time to kick this thing out into the world and, I don’t know, start editing some video. All the same, expect a rant or two about CSS and div’s and browsers to come eventually. Design was a bitch.

Other reasons why the switch today? This morning I flew back from spring visit weekend at UC-Berkeley (my photos and Leslie’s), a few surreal days in which I fell even more madly in love with the city, the school, the program, the faculty/staff/students, the trees, the sky, the public transportation, etc., etc…. and then this afternoon I called the Peace Corps offices in DC to officially accept my invitation to Senegal.

And the butterflies in my stomach right now are only the ones that flutter around a momentous decision, not those of doubt or regret. It was strange—I was walking through the Berkeley campus feeling utterly at home, yet even in the golden sunlight coming through the storybook trees, I knew that I wanted to go to Africa in September.

And I do. Berkeley’s J-school was amazing, and after this weekend I’m absolutely certain that I want to study there—eventually. But right now I want the adventure and the challenge of two years far, far from home.

After reading more and talking with more people, I can imagine staging in the US. I can imagine arriving in Dakar and stepping off the plane. I can imagine the bus ride to training in Thies. Struggling with French, learning a completely new African language. Meeting my host family and sitting down to my first meal with them. I can even almost picture my first night alone at my assignment (the night of my 23rd birthday, according to the schedule that arrived with my invitation packet). After that, it’s still hazy in my mind—daily routines, my job, being the only American for miles and miles around… but I want all of it, scary and exhilarating and whatever else it may prove to be.

So there. New site, new plans, blah blah blah. Onward.