Tuesday, December 25, 2007

recalling back

In case you were wondering, yes. After today, yes I do own the first season of Wonder Woman on DVD.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

a Christmas moment

Two Decembers ago, I hung around after a dance event really late after it ended (practicing, I think). There were only a few people still there, and everyone was leaving. I sat on the floor changing my shoes and saying good-bye to people while my partner waited to walk me home. My friend Eric left the ballroom about fifty feet away from me, and suddenly he turned around and rolled a bell toward me across the floor. When I caught it, he said, "Shake it. Can you hear it?" Before I had a chance to answer, he gave me a smile and walked away.

I still have it.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

who's there?

As many of you have probably guessed, I sort of have a phobia about answering my phone. I don't like to do it unless I'm by myself and/or I know why the person is calling. I prefer to listen to the message, have time to think about it, and then call them back. I almost never answer my phone when I'm not alone, partly because I feel rude and partly because I don't always know what the phone call will be about, whether it'll be a long one or a short one, etc., so I feel self-conscious.

Does anyone else do this?

This has been a message from Olympus, sponsored by her conscience.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

my kid could paint that

A year ago, my dear friend was working with the Sundance Institute, doing viral marketing up through the film festival in January. She had tickets to a film called My Kid Could Paint That, about a 4-year-old New York girl named Marla Olmstead (she's six now, and adorable, I might add) whose modern art paintings are making waves - thousands of dollars worth of waves, actually - and we had talked casually about my coming up to Park City to see it with her. I wanted to but couldn't get a car, or something. Things became desperate - "I really think you need to borrow a car and get up here now," -- so I borrowed a car and jetted up to Park City, but not soon enough to make the screening.

A few days ago - nearly a year later - I found a screening in my hometown. Scrounging up people to go was the hardest part (everyone hears the word "documentary" and thinks "I'm not paying to see one of those when I can watch the History Channel for free, and leave in the middle if I want" - come on, folks), but after hours of trying, I finally got a small group together. (Of course, then I hear it's in the dollar theater in Provo. Naturally.)

We had the theater to ourselves, except for a security girl who came in and out periodically. (I think she was watching the movie with us.) The movie opened with the air of an examination of the validity of modern and abstract art. The Olmsteads knew a guy who ran a coffee shop, and they put one of Marla's paintings up there just for fun. Shortly thereafter, he contacted them saying, "We need a price on these. People are asking." Another friend of the family owned an art gallery. A "hyper-realist" in style, the gallery owner began to show Marla's pieces in part because he saw her talent, and in part to poke fun at the modern community, as if to say, "Look! What you do, so can a four-year-old." Then, she began to sell. By the end of the movie, Marla Olmsteads were going for a good chunk of change.

Things got hairy when the family agreed to do a piece with 60 Minutes. Honestly, I'm not sure what they were thinking -- all through my communications education, I've gotten the impression that saying yes to 60 Minutes is nearly always a Bad Idea (mostly everyone who goes on this show comes out looking bad after it's all over), but whatever. The piece raised a lot of questions to the effect of "who's actually doing these paintings? Is it really this little girl?" This aspect of the story is still unresolved. It obviously changed the feeling of the documentary significantly, and it was really interesting to see how all parties involved reacted to this new angle.

The doc was done really well, in my opinion. Very objective in a subjective way ... it didn't rely on only the facts, it gave every opportunity to both sides, and it showed the emotion that was relevant and particular to the story. The filmmaker even included several clips of interview subjects criticizing him as a filmmaker, or expressing doubts regarding his motives. Talk about honest, up-front presentation.

I think one of the most interesting points the movie made was the illustration of "observation theory," if that's the exact name ... like in quantum mechanics or any social study, the idea that observation of an object changes how it acts. (You know, like if you're on camera, it's harder to act naturally.) Truth is altered in its presentation. Every story has an angle. The media gets a lot of flack for this, and admittedly we could always be doing better - but the media studies and works very carefully to present balanced stories, and still the general public perceives a biased media most of the time. That's why we need more than one witness for most things. This film was a prime example, both directly with its subjects and, taking a step back, as a film itself. The story was filtered through the filmmaker's eyes, too. I guess that makes it all that much more important to know who you are and what you believe, huh? No one can understand clearly enough to make those decisions for you. Sure, listen to people and sources you trust, but in the end, it comes down to you to decide what you really ascribe to.

It's weird that this little girl is going to grow up largely without remembering all of this, and all these pieces plus the things people tell her are all she'll have to go on - not too much more than we have, except that the older she gets the more she'll remember, and the hype doesn't seem to be going away just yet. I wonder if there are thousands of dollars worth of masterpieces that I did when I was four, that I've simply forgotten? I hope so ...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

social networking WINS.

I think it is so cool that the Republican debate tonight is taking questions from YouTube. Between that and my previous Lymabean entry, I started my family in on the term "social networking 2.0." I don't think they really cared, but such is the cost (perk?) of living with someone with a communications degree.