2010: TL;DR

2010: TL;DR

January 2010

Started the year off right with a series of posts about what became Apple’s iPad. Best post?

This one: Chuck’s take.

I had a pretty good take on the iPad, Chuck notwithstanding. Post-announcement business case post (pre-announcement prediction post here) about who would want to buy the iPad along with a post about my prior history of Apple pricing/sales/product when a lot of people were questioning whether Apple would have a hit on its hands.

In other news, I had a texting/cellphone moment of chaos right before HGTV announced they had signed Heather to a development deal. Heather was about to announce it (twice!) during the keynote she moderated at Alt Design Summit (worth attending!) and I was told by several sources that it was ok to announce the deal and then to not announce and then to announce and then to not announce. The flurry of texts and emails and phonecalls and voicemails during Heather’s panel was, to say the least, an incentive to carry an antacid or two on my person at all times. Heather did not announce the deal from the podium and instead, posted it to the mothership later that morning. Hooray!

February 2010

In the run up to the passage of the historical healthcare reform bill, I began to note the lies the GOP was spreading to stop the passage. And there were lies told. Big ones. So big, that Politifact named it their Lie of the Year!

That didn’t deter the GOP from KEEPING HOPE LIES alive! Including the newly elected Robert Hurt! Yay for honesty and “values”!

But we’re not to December of this year in review yet, so I’m getting ahead of myself.

February brought noted liar, Sarah Palin, to the fore, spreading aforementioned lies. See it here.

More personally, this was the month of PenGate.

Heather started it by removing my pen from the car, a hybrid, that when started, may or may not run the combustion engine. Said engine was not running, a fact Heather conveniently left out of her fear-mongering and libelous post discussing her supposed innocence in the matter. In one of our most contentious public spats, Heather turned to her massive audience to bully me, as is her way, according to the bitter, jealous, abused people on Twitter. Of course, my superior breeding (and possibly gay, according to similar people, also on Twitter) lead me to accept my defeat and repair the car. It wasn’t as expensive or time consuming as the repair shop lead me to believe or Heather’s post might have lead innocent children to believe. They finished the repair in under a day and it cost less than our deductible, so no claim was filed. Also: haters gonna hate. Also? You can’t medicate a borderline personality disorder (OR MAYBE YOU CAN), so I’m off my meds for now! I kid. But seriously? Heather caused me to get out of the car while it was in gear. So PenGate can now be put to rest, right after I take my Abilify/Seroquel/Prozac/Bourbon/Gay Pills.

The flickr tally:

Team Jon

Team Heather

I figured the score difference would be worse.

I downloaded Hipstamatic as an afterthought. It became a problem. This was unrelated to Heather breaking her tailbone while riding a snowboard.

March 2010

Healthcare reform passed! And checkout the fantastic healthcare site, Healthcare.gov. Hooray! We can finally put the partisan bickering aside and move the United States forward. Or not. The Tea Party, appearing to be a possibly fascist slash racist front group for conservative and/or libertarian billionaires (2, 3 (Dems can thank Mr. Russo for helping defeat Maryland’s solid GOP Senator in the primaries by helping to fund former satanist and crackpot, Christine O’Donnell, but I’m getting ahead of myself… Russo’s firm was a part of a 2006 conservative PR stunt for Kurds in Iraq), 4), finally gets called on it, but not by a mainstream media outlet. Unless Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo or the New Yorker are considered mainstream…

I’m on the TV!

We meet in Los Angeles with CAA. Finally. The professional deal makers arrive just in time to allow me to wean from any number of prescription level antacids.

We create a production company. Just in case.

April 2010

The iPad arrives! I’m holed up in my nerd cave for the rest of the month, downloading apps, reading and trying to come up with a compelling reason to drop everything in my life to learn how to code for this device. I wake up on tax day to realize that this will never happen without major repercussions. I’m also maybe a bit too old to be learning a new platform/codebase. I say that like I know ANY platform or codebase.

p.s. An oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico! Shouldn’t stop us from our vacation to the Gulf Coast, which we’d been planning for about two years. We were so determined to visit that our deposit was paid in December of 2009 to reserve our spot.

Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of those who perished. The photos (see also 1, 2, 3) of the fire following the explosion are insane and terrifying.

May 2010

The Hipstamatic problem becomes an addiction. I post more New Orleans photos from my December, 2009 trip.

We have spent the last two months looking at houses. We find one, make an offer. Nope. Find another, make an offer. The next 45 days are sheer hell.

June 2010

We had planned for a mega vacation. With the reports of tarballs on Florida beaches, we make a very painful decision to cancel our vacation. One that we had planned on taking since we stepped off the plane after arriving in Salt Lake City from our 2008 Florida trip. Devastated and heartsick for the Gulf. Not about to risk the health of our family. A video from the beach we’d be on showing children playing in sand and having tarballs stuck to them (we saw absolutely zero tarballs in 2008) only helped us feel marginally better about our decision.

p.s. we moved. The Mrs. does a fine telling: 1, 2, 3.

July 2010

Since we moved, we have an office to wire and about 10-15 years of deferred maintenance to take care of on our new house! I spend the month getting bids. Each day becomes an exercise in how much money we’ll spend or not spend and worry about spending when there will be no choice but to do the (expensive) maintenance.

Heather speaks at the groundbreaking for a wing of the hospital she received treatment for post-partum depression. It’s one of the best speeches I’ve heard her give. The governor of Utah is there. I resist the urge to talk to him about immigration policies and the DREAM act. Instead, I took a photo of the dignitary shovels. Heather was a dignitary! This makes up (almost) for PenGate.

August 2010

We agree to a sponsorship deal on the mothership that will involve a lot of late nights with me at the computer, after a decade of false starts, to get my head around Final Cut Pro. I’ve got some outtakes I’m hoping to share after this post goes live. If I can open Final Cut Pro without twitching. The first video goes live after a couple of nights of near all-nighters.

I’m embarrassed by the mistakes I made. Heather? Pro. Me? Nah. Including my first voiceover work in a very very long time. I wasn’t trying to make fun of the “in a world” guy, but some people felt I was. Hmmm. Also? Audio issues discovered mid-editing. And not just issues. How about not recording the expensive wireless microphone for ANY of the takes? Smoooooooth.

For two weeks after, I spend every waking hour scouring the internet for tutorials and workflow suggestions (including audio monitoring). I find them. They are life saving. I begin to buy new hard drives to hold all of the video files.

p.s. We were really in real life redoing our office, which means trips to stores, furniture moving and assemblage and all the planning for how the room will come together on top of video production. I’m amazed my pancreas and our relationship survived. Therapy, FTW.

September 2010

We open the month with the second video for the office remodel, this one benefitting from better planning, better shooting and better knowledge of the hardware and software. I also started to play around with Motion, and that is some cool software, right there. The video mentioned:

Still seeing mistakes in the video. Time to have the 24-70 lens worked on. The zoom pulls are largely atrocious. I’m sharing the video again because I am proud of myself for producing some video that looks less amateurish.

We immediately headed to Moab for a much needed break. I got to drive an off-road vehicle, likely damaging friendships with my more environmentally conscious friends, and try to balance the damage with a horseback ride, my first ever.

My mom turned 80 this month. 80. Big party with friends and family at her church. I took over 400 shots and it took until Thanksgiving for me to finish the edits.

And we finished the office!

Still fought the pulls and pushes with the 24-70mm lens. I bought a sweet tripod to do the pans and tilts and it’s made a huge difference. Except then I learn about the 5D Mk II’s rolling shutter issues. If only I’d watched this first. If you shoot video with a DSLR, learning about this is a huge help, especially if you shoot a lot of handheld work. Rule of thumb? Shoot at the framerate the project demands (e.g., 24fps or 30fps) and then double that for the shutter speed. So, 24fps at 1/48 (1/50) and for 30fps, use a 1/60 shutter speed. That’s one of the reasons for the big visual difference from the first office video to the second, except I didn’t know that it would also reduce the rolling shutter issues. For the workflow of getting the video off a Compact Flash card, I used a Final Cut Pro plugin from Canon (download link here) for logging and capturing video. I used MPEG Streamclip on the first video and wasn’t pleased with the results. The plug-in does require that you insert the card and import from the card straight into Final Cut Pro. I make sure that those files get backed up onto two other drives before I erased the files from the Compact Flash card. As video is pulled into Final Cut Pro, the plugin converts the video to a format that is spectacular (I chose Apple Pro-Res 422), easier to work with in terms of usable footage and faster to edit/render. I owe a huge thanks to the folks who posted tips to YouTube, Vimeo and on their personal sites/blogs (also) for teaching me a lot of tricks. The video in this post (it’s embedded on Laforet’s site, but it’s Chase Jarvis talking about how to work fast and smart) is a must watch for anybody shooting video with a DSLR. Or anybody shooting stills. Great strategies for making sure the work you do doesn’t get lost.

October 2010

I took Leta to Disneyland for the first time. This was a big decision, as we’ve put off going as a family because we figured we’d spend most of the time either standing in line or trying to convince Leta that the Disney imagineers have done their seismic research and the rides can withstand any number of natural occurrences. And that the princesses are really friendly in real life.

Heather, a complete saint, stayed with the quarantined and very grumpy, badger-like ill Marlo. I got to see a whole new side of Leta. We arrived on a Thursday and she was a powerhouse until Saturday afternoon when she finally hit the wall. I thought we’d spend a few hours a day at the park and then spend the rest of the time at the hotel pool or seeing other stuff… like maybe the beach? I had a lot of contingencies planned and didn’t need any of them. She loved it. Loved. We spent most of our time in Fantasyland, as I expected we would, but the first day, Leta wanted to ride the Toontown coaster. That was probably a mistake. Or at least my whooping it up was a mistake. It scared her really badly. However, she quickly recovered and we got on Autopia in record time, where Leta drove us around the track, looking far older than I was comfortable seeing. As in, one day, she’ll be driving a real car. Gonna hold on to grade school as long as I can before I deal with that reality.

This trip was definitely a highlight for me as a parent. It was just Leta and me. And I had forgotten about how the rides are so great at building a sense of unknown in the darkness; fear and excitement in a little kid. I think I finally understood why people take their kids to Disneyland and endure the lines and whatnot. Not only did I remember what it was like to ride Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean for the first time, I got to watch Leta do the same, process it, work through the anxieties and confront her fears. The scariest rides were the ones she wanted to go on again! She was really upset when on Friday night, we couldn’t get into Haunted Mansion for the second time because the park closed early for Mickey’s Halloween party. Which reminds me: the Haunted Mansion in October is fantastic! I’m sure most of you know, but they do it up in the style of Nightmare before Christmas. I think Leta will have a better memory of her first trip through the Haunted Mansion than I did.

Sidenote: I remember going to Disneyland back in 1999 with my family. I was about to start a new job and I hadn’t been to Disneyland for about 15 years. That trip was one of the turning points in my life that made me realize that I wanted to have children. Or at least consider that children should be in my future. For most of my adult life, I had figured that I wouldn’t have kids. Being there in 2010 with Leta brought all of that back with a huge force. Spending that much one on one time with Leta was a gift and a profound few days for me. I realized, in much sharper terms, Leta has a lot of questions about the world, but she’s smarter than I give her credit for and she’s able to be pushed, ever so gently, towards overcoming her anxieties and fears. When she does, it’s quite a vision.

She’s already talking about next year. I can’t wait!

I downloaded Instagram on the plane before we took off to come home to Salt Lake City and take this shot to celebrate 10.10.10.

I start to use Tumblr in earnest, finding a way to backup my Tumblr posts here as full-fledged blurbomat posts. Instagram lets me post photos instantly to several sites, and Tumblr has a better image feed than flickr does, so that’s where I send my Instagram posts. Apologies if you follow me and are tired of seeing my stuff in about 17 different places.

November 2010

Dems took a bloodbath. It’s mostly their own fault. Mostly. I’m thinking that progressives have a hard time uniting around a single message and holding to it like conservatives do. I don’t know if it’s an avoidance of authoritarianism (ironically counter to the PR that conservatives shelled out through much of 2009-10) or just a style of governing that forgets mainstream media outlets seem to want their message spoon fed. There were any number of ways the Dems could have stemmed the losses; I’m sure there would have been losses, there always is in a midterm, but there was a big list of major accomplishments that got bowled over by screechy Tea Partiers. I decided that most media outlets love the Tea Party and don’t want to “expose” the darker truths around who’s behind it, because they get ratings hits when the freak show starts.

This tweet succinctly describes how GOP operatives used their experience to steer the Tea Party to victory and what the aftermath would look like.

Not sure the notion in that tweet will be fully born out, but the new congress will take their seats in 2011 and we’ll see if a new movement is for real or just really good PR. I’m guessing the latter, even though I’d love it if we went more towards a multi-party system.

We took a long overdue San Francisco trip to meet with our ad partner for the mothership and I get to take some more nuanced and thought out photos. Hey still photography with a DSLR, I’ve missed you!

Faves from that trip: this one & this one. Both shot in full manual.

We hosted a really fun party and shot it for a giveaway on the mothership. I’m feeling better about my Motion skills and the tripod makes a huge difference.

We hosted Thanksgiving in our new house. Everybody kept their shirt on.

December 2010

The lame duck Congress repeals Don’t Ask Don’t Tell! Ratifies the START treaty! The GOP holds up DREAM act and the 9/11 first responders bill. Jon Stewart does what the mainstream media won’t: simultaneously points out cynical Republican use of 9/11 and how Congress has ignored the first responders by refusing to help fund their health care. Then the bill is finally passed! A conservative activist judge rules that the 2009 healthcare reform law is unconstitutional.

I’ve kept a lot quieter than I should have during this insane year of change for us. I’m hoping to change that in 2011. Hope. After I learn more Drupal and we shoot more video. I salute you if you’ve made it this far.

* * *

On a more somber note, there were two deaths in my immediate family in 2010. My former brother-in-law (he and my sister split up several years ago) committed suicide and one of my sister in-laws passed away on my birthday after a battle with cancer. She was married to my brother for 37 years and was a huge part of our family. There were a lot of traditions that she helped to start and continue over the years, including ones around the holidays.

Both deaths were particularly difficult for me and I’m still grappling with how to talk about them, particularly the suicide of my brother-in-law. At his service, I lost it. My sister was surprised as I was not close with him and hadn’t seen him for several years. I couldn’t say it after the service and I can barely say it now; I could have been the one standing at that service, reading a bio about my spouse and the life she lived, paying tribute and worrying about the future. I don’t think I’ve fully recovered, despite doing a lot of work, from the implications of Heather’s postpartum depression in 2004. I’m hoping to turn that corner this coming year. I’m also hoping to write something more substantial about male suicide and depression.

That said, me and my family are handling this the best they can and we are healthy. Even Marlo. Thanks, as always, for taking the time to stop by. I’m raising my glass to a 2011 that I hope will kick a lot of ass. Cheers.