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The Light at the End of the Tunnel

 

Nick Geddes’ Long Road to Recovery

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

In April of 2011 while racing the Sea Otter Classic in California, I had an unexpected crash during the Dual Slalom finals that ended up changing my life.

Following a minor concussion I was taken to the hospital for further evaluation.  A routine blood test revealed that I had leukemia.

I was immediately transferred to Stanford Children’s Hospital and after three days of further evaluation, I was transferred and admitted to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.  Following a bone marrow biopsy and more testing, I was officially diagnosed having T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

I began chemotherapy, the first stage of my treatment. On August 9th, 2011, after months of chemotherapy and six sessions of total body irradiation, I was ready for a bone marrow transplant.

The marrow came from an anonymous 24-year-old male donor because no one in my family could be a tissue match.  A small bag containing the bone marrow was transfused though a catheter implanted in my chest.  

It was going to take a long time for my body to accept the donor’s bone marrow.  In the meantime I would need hemoglobin and platelet transfusions plus numerous drugs and painkillers keeping my body alive and vital signs stable.

One of the side-effects of the transplant were large sores that developed throughout my mouth and throat making it feel like I had been chewing on glass for hours.  This, in conjunction with nausea, weakness and other flu-like symptoms, took a toll mentally and physically.

I was put on an IV for all of my nutritional needs because eating was impossible.  On top of the two IV lines for nutrition, there were anti-nausea, pain meds, antifungal and antibacterial drugs all running in my catheter.

For the first couple weeks I was so drugged up that I don’t really remember what went on.

Slowly, I started to become more lucid and aware as the days dragged on.  I was gradually weaned from some of the meds.

The hardest part was going into isolation.  It was such a long time and almost unbearable for someone like me who’s used to being outdoors all day long.  There wasn’t much I could do in my room– other than watch television, use the Internet, and sleep.

By Day 20 of isolation I was gaining a little bit of energy and started to use the spin bike I had in my room. After 26 days, I was finally able to leave my specially ventilated and pressurized 8’x10’ room.

The next 5 days were the worst because I was starting feeling a bit better and the doctors were talking about when I would get out.  But they were never able to give an exact date; only a vague guess.

Finally, that day came.  After much anticipation, I was sent home.  It was Day 31.

When I got home nothing felt more better than being able to get a full night sleep without being poked and prodded.  I felt revived and refreshed.  I was eating more and more, and improving little by little.

Although I wasn’t strong enough yet to get out and ride my bike or exercise much, it was enough to be at home resting, trying to eat normally, having an occasional visitor, and surfing the net until more normal activities were happening.  In the following months I got back to the gym to rebuild what I had lost over treatment. 

The most important thing in my recovery was simply looking forward to riding my bike the next winter and spring.

The latest episode in that recovery path was two months later after my release from the hospital.  Feeling more energetic and healthy and slowly gaining back my strength I made a trip out to Norco Headquarters.  It was wonderful. 

While I knew I’d have a long way to go, the first step was getting back on a bike.  While the snows were starting to fall in my hometown of Whistler, I was soon riding as much as I could in the Squamish trails that winter.  Now my dream is to race again.
 
I want to thank the guys at Norco, friends, family, my parents, the doctors and my bone marrow donor for all their support throughout my treatment period.

It’s good to be alive.

Cheers,
Nick

~Via Nicholas Geddes, Norco, Whistler News, Leo Zuckerman and Vimeo

 

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Warbird Pilot

 

Keeping the Legacy Alive

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Some people see warbird pilots as fearless, confident, risky or arrogant.

In reality, they’re no different than you or me.  They’re just willing to put it all on the line to keep the old warbird legacy alive at their own personal expense.  Some of these pilots were born into the life style; others have worked their way to the top of the small community.

Rob Scribner’s mini-documentary shows what it’s like to be a warbird pilot.  Keeping history alive by flying and maintaining these vintage aircraft for future generations, they’re a different breed altogether.  And the aircraft themselves are a different kind of beautiful:  aerodynamic and sleek, simple and efficient lines, metal and chrome and a roaring Allison or Merlin engine with lots of raw, pure power when unleashed.

Warbird Pilot: Behind the Visor explores the aspects of flying these birds, the bad and difficult parts, the passion behind it and reason they do it, and the joys and the fears of the lifestyle.

John-Curtiss Paul talks about the life of maintaining and flying the old WWII birds—and the life he potentially leaves behind with each flight.

There are only a handful of people in the world that are even capable of doing what John-Curtiss Paul does, and he does it with passion to keep the living legacy of history alive.

* * * * * * * * * *

For you camera and editing aficionados, Scribner describes the equipment he used in making this film:

Most of this project was filmed on the FS100 but we also use a 7D, 60D, and Go-pro Footage.

The FS100 was the A cam;  we did not have a ton of lenses to work with, mainly the 18-200mm Sony E-mount and a 20mm Sony E-mount 2.8 which worked great for fast shooting.

The trick for us was making good use of the Tiffen ND filters.  We shot all the interviews at 24p and most of the Broll in 60p (S & Q).

There were a few times I change to 1080 60p internal to the cam because I wanted to capture audio that I could use later in post but also want to slow it down to 24p.

The 7D, which was our B cam, also had a stock lens, the 18-135mm Canon EF.  This was also the cam we used for the time-lapse shots.  The project was finished up and edited in Premiere Pro CC.

We had to be scrappy when making this project which was actually really fun.

 

~For those P40 and P51 Mustang pilots everywhere, past and present. 

 

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Genesis

 

The Creation of Life

 

A Short and Stellar
Award-Winning Sci-Fi Film

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Dawn of light lying between a silence and sold sources,
Chased amid fusions of wonder in moments hardly seen forgotten
Colored in pastures of chance dancing leaves cast spells of challenge
Amused but real in thought– we fled from the sea– whole

Dawn of thought transferred through moments of days undersearching earth and
Revealing corridors of time, provoking memories, disjointed, but with
purpose

Craving penetrations offer links with the self instructor’s sharp
and tender love, as we took to the air– a picture of distance

Dawn of our power we amuse redescending as fast as misused expression
Only to teach love as to reveal passion chasing
Late into corners, and we danced from the ocean…

Dawn of love sent within us colors of awakening among the many
Want to follow, only tunes of a different age

As the links span
Our endless caresses for the freedom of life everlasting…

 

~Yes: Tales from Topographic Oceans, ‘The Revealing Science of God’ (1974)

* * * * * * *

Abiogenesis was a 4-year labor of love by NASA-loving artist and filmmaker Richard Mans.  Easily sweeping numerous film festival awards across the nation, Mans’ work is a science fiction epic with an extreme amount of attention paid to detail, seamless realism, high-production values, and an original dynamic Dolby soundtrack straight from the creators of District 9 that highly impressed us.

We were blown away and suggest seeing it on the largest screen you have. 

It was a long time in the making by Mans with different trial runs, software, using various models and camera angles, studying NASA Mars Rover film footage, and teaching himself 3D animation. 

He also spent $50,000 of his own money doing it.

Abiogenesis was a labor of love.  A doodle taken to the N-th degree,” said Mans, describing what was, almost unbelievably, his first animated short film.

“I wanted to create something that would advance my work and style, be unique to my sensibilities, and inspire a sense of awe and beauty, while touching on universal themes.”

We think he nailed it. 

You can read more about the details of how Mans created his spectacular work here and here.

 

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Where Did You Sleep Last Night

 

Lead Belly’s Nirvana (1888-1949)

 

**Viral VIDEO**

 

 

He was a bad dude who lived larger than life.

Lead Belly is an old-school wrecking ball folk-singer who worked hard labor as a sharecropper in the Depression-era South, and lived it up with hot babes, stiff drinks, and smoke-filled clubs in Renaissance-era Harlem.

He kicked his enemies’ collective butts in at least five hardcore back-alley knife fights, escaped from jail once, convinced the governors of two states to pardon him from murder raps using nothing more than a guitar and his singing voice, and went on to basically help create modern music by influencing everyone from Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra to Kurt Cobain and Jack White.

He was tough as hell and built like a house.  He drank hard, fought harder, played the twelve-string guitar better than any man alive during his day, and once responded to being stabbed in the throat in prison by pulling the knife out of his own neck and almost murdering the dude with it.

Huddie William Ledbetter was born on a Louisiana bayou in January of 1888.  One of five kids, Ledbetter’s dad was a sharecropper– a tough, calloused-handed wandering manual laborer who worked insane twelve-hour shifts in the hot Louisiana sun for next to nothing.

Huddie quickly realized that bouncing around the countryside with his dirt-poor family looking for backbreaking jobs wasn’t his thing, so he decided to get the hell out of there, beat the shitty hand he’d been dealt with, and become a superstar musician instead.

By twelve he’d dropped out of school.  By fifteen he’d taught himself how to play the accordion, one of the hardest and more complicated instruments to play.

Better known as Lead Belly, he was soon playing shows in the St. Paul’s Bottom neighborhood of Shreveport, Louisiana as a young kid– a hardcore red light district known for being packed with hookers and hooch.

Surrounded by drunken debauchery didn’t derail Lead Belly’s quest for awesomeness, and he was all up in St. Paul’s Bottom cranking out jams on his accordion, blowing everyone’s minds with his music, then going home with a fifth of scotch and the hottest gal in the club.

By the age of sixteen he was married with two kids.  By twenty he was divorced and had split out of Shreveport, wandering the South playing shows in any venue that would have him, and working hard labor jobs when music didn’t pay his bills.

Lead rode the rails, traveling the land from the beer-soaked streets of Shreveport’s seediest neighborhoods to the hottest clubs in Deep Ellum, Texas; hanging out at every bar, saloon, and music venue along the way.

But Lead wasn’t just there to party.  He made it his life’s mission to listen to every musician he could find– and absorb all the musical knowledge he could.

He learned to play the piano, guitar, harmonica, mandolin, and violin, became the undisputed master of the twelve-string guitar, and spoke to so many famous blues and folk musicians that he became a walking encyclopedia of American folk tunes.

Before long he could play basically every folk song there was (he claimed to have learned over 500 tunes), and when he wasn’t putting a new spin on old standards, he was writing badass songs about cowboys, sailors, women, booze, prison, and God.  Hitler, too.

Along the line he worked hard jobs to earn enough cash to put food on the table, hammering railroad spikes, picking cotton, herding cattle as a cowboy, and hammering fence posts.

Lead Belly’s budding music career hit a slight hitch in 1915, when the folk guitarist was arrested for punching a dude in the face, pulling a gun in the middle of a barroom brawl, and then pummeling someone with it.

He was sentenced to serve an unspecified period of hard labor on a chain gang in Harrison County, Texas, busting out the hard work that paid even worse than sharecropping.  Two days into his mandatory community service of whacking rocks, Lead slipped off when the shotgun-toting guards weren’t looking and bolted out of there on foot– some sources claim they sent dogs after him but he managed to elude them.  Escaping prison, he fled to the next county, changed his name, and went right back to work as a manual laborer by day and an aspiring musician by night.

Even though he always played shows in a three-piece suit and a bow tie, Lead Belly was more gangsta than half of Death Row Records.  Bob Dylan once referred to Lead Belly as “One of the few ex-cons to ever record a successful children’s album.”

Lead Belly was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame early in the Hall’s life, and his music, which became insanely more popular after his death, has been covered by Bob Dylan, the White Stripes, Johnny Cash, Elvis, the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, the Doors, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, and dozens of other bands, almost all of whom cite this hard-drinking, hard-fighting badass as a major influence on their careers.

Lead Belly lived a more colorful life than can possibly be described in this short column, but you can read more about him here.

~Via Badass, Wikipedia, MTV and Vimeo

 

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Silo

 

A Short Film about a Man and his Missile

 

Staff-Pick **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

We hate a bad day at the office.

When we lose things.

And things go sideways.

And the boss doesn’t understand.

And we happen to be drunk.

Sigh.  

Ever have those days where everything goes wrong and it would’ve been a better day if you had just stayed in bed?  It happens.  Some things just never seem to turn out right on the job, try as hard as we might.  And it’s always a lonely day at the nuclear workplace when you’re at the bottom of the pecking order drowning in your sucky sorrows no one understands.

So do what everyone else does in the military.  Buck it up and sweep it under the rug and say nothing. 

Us?  We simply decided that what’s right is what’s left after everything else is done wrong.

* * * * * * * * * *

How did writer-director David Soll create the set for ‘Silo’? 
Why, he used
a real nuclear missile silo, of course.
Now that’s scary.

 

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Am I Next?

 

Ferguson Seen Through the Eyes
of a Teenager

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

A 16-year-old kid says more with a marker and paper than all of the media did.

Looting, chanting, tear gas, and rubber bullets have been the frequent images coming out of Ferguson, Mo.  

Much of the press coverage following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson has centered more on Brown’s character, personal issues, and a smaller number of looters– rather than asking the greater number of people why they’re protesting and reacting so angrily in the aftermath.

The vast majority of protesters have been peaceful and standing up for their rights, armed with little more than chalk and paper signs protesting what they view as an injustice.

Hoping to create a memorial for Michael Brown, the teenager killed by a police officer in the St Louis suburb on August 9, we follow teenager Shane Flowers as he weaved through the protests, attempting to let his voice be heard and fight for change as the darkness slowly fell on Florissant Avenue.

As he moves through the crowds, he hears differing opinions from other protesters on the best ways to fight for change.

If you want to get to the heart of why people are so frustrated and enraged, look no further than the 16-year-old who expresses much of what the community is struggling with and writing down the questions many are asking.

 

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Ranger Gabriel Gets His Wish

 

A Young Boy’s Journey to Yosemite

 

Staff Pick **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Gabriel always had a wish to be a park ranger.

When the Yosemite park rangers got word of his dream, they stepped up to the plate, in a VERY big way.

Gabriel Lavan-Ying is an eight-year-old from Gainesville, Florida, who suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, an inherited and incurable connective tissue disorder that causes abnormal bruising and skin and joint weaknesses.

With the help of Make-A-Wish Central California, and Yosemite National Park, Gabriel’s wish came true on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.  That was the day he became an honorary park ranger at an official swearing-in ceremony.

The rangers at Yosemite National Park put Gabriel through extensive training in order to ensure his success as a national park ranger.  He arrived in Yosemite with his family– mother Tara, father Kon, twin sister Angelica and older brother Dominic– and stayed at Tenaya Lodge just out-
side the south gate of the park.

On Tuesday, Gabriel and his family traveled to Yosemite Valley for his training and swearing-in ceremony.

Gabriel was dispatched to fight a woodland fire with the Yosemite Fire Crew, attended naturalist walks in Cook’s Meadow, and was dispatched to a search and rescue operation involving an injured hiker and assisted the Yosemite medical team in transporting the patient to a rescue helicopter.

After Gabriel’s full day of training, he was sworn in as an Honorary Park Ranger in a ceremony at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center.

Approximately 300 people, including Yosemite community members and Yosemite park rangers, witnessed the ceremony in which Gabriel received his badge and credentials.  United States Magistrate Judge Michael Seng and Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher presided over the ceremony where Ranger Gabriel received a flag that had previously flown over Yosemite National Park.

We understand Gabriel passed with flying colors.  And he got his own parking space and celebratory cake to boot  after his official swearing in.

Nice job, Ranger Gabriel– and to all of those making his dream come true. 

We can’t name all of you– but you know who you are.


~Via Chris McKechnie, Yosemite Park, and Wish.org
  
   Photos by Michelle Hansen

* * * * * * * *

The Make-A-Wish organization grants the wishes of children between the ages of 2½ and 18 who currently have a life-threatening medical condition which is defined as a progressive, degenerative or malignant disorder placing the child’s life in jeopardy.

More about the Make-A-Wish foundation can be found here.

 

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Pink Floyd’s Crazy Diamond

 

The Final Parting of Syd Barrett

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun
Shine on you crazy diamond.

Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky
Shine on you crazy diamond.

You were caught in the crossfire of childhood and stardom, blown on the steel breeze.

Come on you target for faraway laughter, come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!

You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.

Well you wore out your welcome with random precision, rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions, come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!

     Pink Floyd “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”
     Wish You Were Here, 1975

 

He was the original crazy diamond that shined.

Born Roger Keith Barrett in Cambridge, the son of a renowned pathologist, Barrett changed his name to Syd at age fifteen in honor of local drummer Sid Barrett.

In 1965 he joined up with bassist Roger Waters, drummer Nick Mason and keyboardist Richard Wright in a new band Barrett dubbed Pink Floyd — in honor of blues artists Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.  Barrett quickly became the group’s primary songwriter and guitarist, composing their breakthrough singles Arnold Layne and See Emily Play.

In 1967, the band released its first LP, the psychedelic masterpiece The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.  Ten out of the eleven songs were written by Barrett.

The next year, following a highly successful tour with Jimi Hendrix, Barrett’s mental state began to deteriorate, most likely related to his heavy hallucinogenic LSD intake.  Guitarist David Gilmour was brought in to aid the band as Barrett became increasingly erratic and unreliable.  

Gilmour and Barrett both played in the group for a few months, but Barrett’s onstage behavior became so bizarre he was forced to leave the band.

Amid reports that he was suffering from schizophrenia, Barrett managed to release two solo albums in 1970, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett.  The bulk of the material from these albums, which gained a huge cult following over the years, was written during Barrett’s brief productive period of 1967-68.  An independent career proved impossible:  His one live solo gig was aborted after five songs.

In 1971, Barrett spoke about his absence from the music scene and attributed it to his deteriorating mental health. “I’m disappearing, and avoiding most things,” he said.  ”I’m treading the backward path.  Mostly I just waste my time… I’ve got a very irregular head.  And I’m not anything that you think I am anyway.  I’m full of dust and guitars.”

He cashed it all in, gave up music, sold the rights to his recordings and moved into his mother’s basement in Cambridge, where he lived out the remainder of his life.  For the most part, he gave up living in the outside world. 

Pink Floyd and his former bandmates went on to become one of the biggest gigs on the planet, releasing their best selling albums of all time, The Dark Side of the Moon in 1973 and Wish You Were Here in 1975.

For all its craft and focus, Dark Side was the work of a group that had been adrift just four years earlier, after losing the linchpin of its sound.  Barrett had been everything to Pink Floyd:  the pretty face, the songwriter, the singer, the lead guitarist.

“He was the boy wonder,” says Gilmour.  Under Barrett’s leadership, the band went from arty, Cambridge-bred middle-class students to the heroes of the London underground.  In concert, the whimsical and catchy British pop songs populating the world at the time in 1967 would explode into a new genre of lysergic, psychedelic-driven interstellar improvisations. 

Barret and Pink Floyd would help change the direction of music, and the consciousness of a nation and its youth.

Barrett’s near-daily use of LSD and his underlying mental illness left him all but incapacitated by the time Floyd were recording their second album.  His songwriting output slowed.  He went through at least one show without actually playing his guitar.  He began to drift from reality into the inner sanctum of his mind.  He became an empty shell of his former self.

“When we parted I had written everything for the group,” Barrett said.  “My leaving sort of evened things out within the group.  I think young people should have a lot of fun.  But I never seemed to have any.”

Short of a brief appearance at Abbey Road Studios in 1975 as his former friends were recording Wish You Were Here (a tribute to Barrett), he hadn’t had any contact with Pink Floyd in decades.  He had remarkably changed and to their sudden shock, had checked out completely from any semblance of reality.

It was the last time they would see him.

Barrett spent a good deal of his remaining time painting and gardening.  “I’d like to have been rich,” he remarked, “and to have a lot of money to put into my physicals and to buy food for all of my friends.”

The original frontman and Crazy Diamond of Pink Floyd died in Cambridge, England, from complications related to diabetes in 2006.  He was sixty.

Shine on.

 

  ~For Tavin Anderson and White Manna. 
    Keep the faith and music alive.

 

Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond from Getaway on Vimeo.

 

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Small Cameras, Big Stories

 

There’s a Spy Amongst Us
In the Animal Pack

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s a whole new world out there.

Exciting developments in camera technology have distinguished the playing field between the professional and amateur photographer.

The current challenge now is making something novel and better than what the average person will do.

Understanding the behavior of animals and developing new ways to capture those unique moments requires a huge amount of research, inventiveness, and dedication as the above video by award-winning wildlife filmmaker John Downer
illustrates.

Big differences also come from the newer cameras that are now smaller, camouflaged in different ways, and have a higher picture definition in situ

The end result?  Small cameras make for bigger stories, showing a new chapter of animals in their natural environment– whether it be birds, dolphins, or polar bears– in a uniquely accurate and visually compelling way than what has traditionally been done in the past.

And the images by John Downer and his crew that you see here
are nothing short than spectacular.

~Via John Downer, Getty Images, and Vimeo

 

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The Flying Squirrel

 

The Remarkable 6-Year-Old
Surf & Skate Wonder

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

At the tender age of six, Quincy Symonds is already
tipped as a future Layne Beachley or Stephanie Gilmore.

She may well be the best six-year-old surfer and skater on the planet.

They call her The Flying Squirrel.  The nickname comes from the time Quincy was a toddler living in the US.   A wild squirrel lived in a tree near her house and one day she jumped off the back of her dad’s SUV to mimic her furry friend.

The “Flying Squirrel” moniker stuck.

Stepping into the water at the legendary Snapper Rocks surf break on the Gold Coast, Quincy Symonds has already rocked Australia.  The Tweed Heads local only started surfing about 18 months ago and, in a very short time, has captured the attention of the surfing world, gaining multiple sponsors and a fanatical following on social media.

Her parents have nurtured her along.  Quincy’s dad Jake has been a surfer most of his life and his love for the ocean inspired her to get in the water.  Her mum Kim says it was the most natural thing in the world.

“The very first time I saw her out in the ocean she changed, she became a complete person,” she explains.  “To say that about a four or five-year-old might sound very strange, but I watched it happen.”

“It just doesn’t make sense to me, how she’s able to do what she does,” says Jake.  “I’m amazed by it.  I’m really proud of her but to be honest I can’t comprehend exactly how she does it so well.”

“She has no fear,” offers Quincy’s surf coach Anthony Pope.  “She just doesn’t fall off.  She has incredible balance and her ability to judge the conditions and adjust is at a level I’ve never seen before in someone of her age.”

Quincy also grabbed the attention of former world champion surfer Barton Lynch at the Hurley BL’s Blast Off, the world’s biggest surf festival for young competitors.  ”There is something inherent and instinctive in the way she surfs.  It’s quite mind-blowing and baffling.  She has an amazing sense for the ocean,” Lynch said.

While Quincy’s feats in the water are impressive on their own, they are even more inspiring given that she has battled a serious medical condition for her entire life.

Not long after she was born, Quincy was rushed into the Intensive Care Unit suffering adrenal crisis. After extensive testing, Quincy was diagnosed with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, a genetic disorder that affects her body’s ability to create cortisone.

Quincy’s condition means she is steroid dependent.  “Steroid dependency at this age requires medication three times a day,” Kim explains.  “In times of sickness, Quincy needs intensive medical treatment.”

While you might think it dangerous for a five or six-year-old to be surfing at all, every possible measure and precaution has been put in place to ensure Quincy is safe in the Gold Coast water.

“We always assess the conditions and the skill level of the other surfers in the water before we paddle out”, says Jake.  “When the waves are bigger, we have a custom-made life vest that she wears.  It’s quite thin but it offers a little bit of support for her if she takes a wipeout on a bigger wave.”

And it’s not just Quincy’s buoyancy vest that is custom made.  Quincy’s boards are custom-designed and shaped for her, so she has a variety of different boards to suit varying conditions and match her progress.  

To note, there are very few boards in the world as small as Quincy and they’re basically miniature versions of the performance surfboards one sees on the world tour.

When the waves were too big for her to surf, Quincy took up skateboarding.  As you’d expect, she took to boarding on land just as quickly as she did in the surf.

Looking over the edge of the 12-foot skate bowl as Quincy’s takes her skating sessions, most folks would feel immediately
uneasy.  But there was Quincy with her back foot planted firmly on her board– ready to confidently drop in and shred the concrete bowl up with a smile from ear to ear as her proud parents watched from the sidelines.

There is a constant stream of eager young skaters approaching Quincy asking how old she is.  Some know her from her profile on Instagram, where (with the help of her Mum) Quincy uploads photos and videos of her boarding adventures.

So, what does she think of her social media fame?

“It gets annoying.  People always ask, ‘Will you follow me?,’” she says, rolling her eyes like a teenager.

Quincy says she wants to be a pro surfer and skater when she grows up. 

The way she’s going now, we’re fairly certain the Flying Squirrel will make it there very soon.

     ~Via “A Small Surfer Makes Big Waves” by Scott Gamble,
       ABC Open, SMH, Daily Mail and Vimeo

 

 

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Missouri Burning

 

Tensions Again Erupt in Ferguson–

One Protester Shot; Seven Arrested

 

**VIDEO**

 

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It’s only getting worse.

Rioting, looting, shooting and burning down stores.  What we’re seeing in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, is an example of how the streets can quickly descend into chaos as tensions erupt.

The mayhem in Ferguson escalated early this Sunday morning as a man was shot and seven people were arrested following a confrontation between police and protesters who refused to abide by the state mandated curfew.

Authorities have not identified the man but said he was critically wounded by a gunshot.  It is unclear who shot him, but he was injured near an area of the town where protesters had gathered near a restaurant and some people were standing on the roof.  Authorities said it did not appear he was shot by an officer.

Officers from Missouri State Highway Patrol, St. Louis City and County police worked to remove the people from the area and brought armored vehicles and tear gas.  A man with a handgun was spotted in the crowd and another person was reported shooting at a police car.

“I was disappointed in the actions of tonight” said patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, looking weary over the continued violence and escalating tensions rocking the community.

Police had earlier pledged they would not use such tactics but Johnson said they were worried about officers’ safety.

“Tonight’s response was a proper one,” he said, adding that he was “disappointed” that rioting continued.

The crowd, which is continuing to protest the fatal shooting of black 18-year-old Michael Brown by white Ferguson officer, Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, refused to comply with the curfew chanting “No justice! No curfew!”

Police have not announced information about Wilson.  He wrote on his Facebook page Saturday that he had to deactivate it the day before due to a number of threats.

“I can’t share much at this point but the media is going too far invading my family’s privacy,” he wrote.  “I am concerned for their safety.”

He also wrote Friday he was “overwhelmed” by kind words and prayers people had been sending him.  “This is a very difficult time for all people involved and I am trying to have faith that the right outcomes will be reached for the community,” he wrote.  “I am sorry that I cannot answer all of your messages but hope you understand. Continued prayers for all are appreciated.”

When police informed the crowd they were in violation of the state mandate, the crowd refused to disperse and officers fired smoke and tear gas canisters at the citizens.  The mandate was imposed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Saturday from midnight to 5 a.m.

But the tensions between the people and local police seem to only escalate.

“They got guns.  We got guns.  We are ready,” said Jayson Ross, who was leading the protesters toward police before the canisters were fired.

As canisters flew through the air about 50 minutes into the curfew, a protestor hurled a Molotov cocktail at the side of a local store and ignited a small fire.

Clouds of smoke had filled the street when a group of other protesters raced toward the store, Chop Suey, and stomped out the fire.

Cops in riot gear were hanging back as the demonstrators slowly advanced along W. Florissant Ave. at about 12:30 a.m. local time.

But 15 minutes later, cops threatened to move in.

“This is the police,” an officer announced into a bullhorn.  “You are violating the state-issued curfew.  You must disperse immediately or you will be subject to arrest.”

The dangerous scene occurred hours after the governor was heckled at a press conference at a church where he announced the curfew.

A group of Black Panthers were seen leading protesters in a chant calling for his head.

“What’s his name?” they shouted.

“Darren Wilson,” they replied.

“How do we want him?” they shouted.

“Dead,” several protesters replied.

 

 

 

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A Shredding Good Time Road Trip

 

Shred ‘Til You’re Dead With the Homies

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Skate ’til you drop.

Five of the world’s best shred skaters, such as Chris Haffey, Erik Bailey, Jeff Stockwell, Victor Arias and Brandon Smith shared a two-week, 3,000-mile summer tour of skate parks in Northern California, Oregon and Idaho.

Ivan Narez joined those guys and made a video based on the footage he stacked up from the camping and shredding road trip.  You’ll catch them working Eureka’s Cooper Gulch Skate Park at the 5:17 mark.

Spending two weeks shredding, camping, playing Wiffle ball, riding motorcycles, fighting off aliens, swimming in the river, drinking brews and doing all the other things you like to do with homies on the road sounds hella fun to us.

They also burned through 200 pairs of socks, slept in tent cities, ate out of cans, got mighty stinky and kept a vigilant eye out for Bigfoot.

Life is one tough concrete jungle.  The rest of us have to work.

 

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Float Plane Barefoot Skiing Madness

 

Skating on Thin Ice & Thick Skin

 

** VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

What an insane way to beat the summer heat.

Can you imagine surfing over water barefoot while getting pulled by an airplane?

Three veteran barefoot water-skiers from the World Barefoot Center in Winter Haven, Florida, joined stunt filmmaker Devin Graham for the above video with some gnarly barefoot waterskiing, the least of which was jumping ramps while being pulled by a float plane.

For Ben Groen, 23, and David Small, 30, it was their first time barefoot waterskiing behind an airplane.  For Keith St. Onge, 36, it was his first for taking a jump off a ramp while being pulled by a plane.

“It’s something that’s not done very often,” Groen said. “I’d say it’s only been done a handful of times.

“I was really excited to ski behind a plane.  I’d seen Keith do it in the past.  It’s always been something that’s been on my bucket list.  So to go out there and ski, and ski being pulled by a plane, and then ski over the ramp, that was pretty cool for me.”

The maneuver was a tricky one.  The water-skiers get in the water on two skis– and wait for the plane to pass overhead with the rope dangling behind.  Grabbing the rope they get up on both skis and as the plane increases speed, they drop one ski, then the other, and after a few practice runs they’re off and barefoot waterskiing.

“It was a little hard to coordinate,” Groen admitted.

“There were a couple of trial-and-error runs there for sure, trying to get the rope at the right time.  If we missed the rope the pilot was kind of committed to keep going.  He’d have to fly up, do a loop, and come back down again.”

One might think the actual barefoot waterskiing behind an airplane would be difficult, but that’s not the case.

“It’s funny– it’s a little bit easier because the plane is picking you up off the water so you’re lighter than you usually are when behind a boat,” Groen explained.  “It actually makes you lighter on your feet which makes it easier, but the plane can go a lot faster than a boat would.”

The barefoot water-skiers typically go about 40 to 45 mph behind a boat, but the float plane travels at 50 mph or more.  “You’re skiing light on your feet because the water is going by super fast,” Groen said.

That’s easier said than done, we’re guessing.

Below is the behind-the-scenes footage of how Graham caught the action.

 

~Via Devin Graham, Outdoor Grind/World Barefoot Center, YouTube

 

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The Most Wanted Man in the World

 

Edward Snowden’s Untold Story

 

**VIDEO**

 

James Bamford
Wired Magazine

 

The message arrives on my “clean machine,” a MacBook Air
loaded only with a sophisticated encryption package.

“Change in plans,” my contact says.  “Be in the lobby of the Hotel X by 1 pm.  Bring a book and wait for ES to find you.”

ES is Edward Snowden, the most wanted man in the world.  For almost nine months, I have been trying to set up an interview with him—traveling to Berlin, Rio de Janeiro twice, and New York multiple times to talk with the handful of his confidants who can arrange a meeting.

Among other things, I want to answer a burning question:  What drove Snowden to leak hundreds of thousands of top-secret documents, revelations that have laid bare the vast scope of the government’s domestic surveillance programs?

In May I received an email from his lawyer, ACLU attorney Ben Wizner, confirming that Snowden would meet me in Moscow and let me hang out and chat with him for what turned out to be three solid days over several weeks.  It is the most time that any journalist has been allowed to spend with him since he arrived in Russia in June 2013.

But the finer details of the rendezvous remain shrouded in mystery.  I landed in Moscow without knowing precisely where or when Snowden and I would actually meet.

Now, at last, the details are set…

     …A minimal excerpt, you can read the full piece in Wired Magazine here

 

 

The Most Wanted Man in the World: Edward Snowden in his own words from WIRED on Vimeo.

 

 

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30 Gifts for 30 Strangers

 

Better to Give Than to Receive

**VIDEO**

 

Lucas Jatoba
Filmmaker

 

 

Hello!

My name is Lucas and I’m Brazilian.  

Since I arrived in Australia a lot of beautiful things happened in my life.  On the day I turned 30 I decided to celebrate in a special way, being grateful to the people of Sydney. :)

When I approached people, at first moment they thought it was a bit weird.  But after I started to explain why I was doing it they were very receptive, warm and happy.

I think everyone loves it when they see that there are people in the world who care about their happiness.  We all share the same home, planet Earth, so we need to treat everyone as brothers, not enemies.

Thank you so much to all my friends who helped make this happen.  Without you it would not have been possible.  And thank you to everyone who lives in Australia, making this country such a wonderful place.

The gifts:  a Wallabies rugby ball, a 30 minute massage voucher, a painting, a skateboard, a scarf, “the doggy bank”, some chocolates, bottle of nice champagne, a plushy teddy bear, a mini-tree to hang pictures from, a Japanese porcelain tea jar, a set of mini garden tools for kids, a scented oil infuser for the home, a voucher for iTunes music, mini boxer shorts for a newborn baby, a colorful origami book, the “Happyland Village Vet” (a toy for kids), scented soaps and candles, an illustrated photo album, a big soft penguin, aromatic moisturizers and shampoos, books, DVDs, and other toys for children and more.

On the making of this film below, you’ll see some funny things that happened.  While giving the presents away, a woman gave me some bread, a little kid stole one of the presents running away, a group of friends gave me things, an Aussie girl was learning Brazilian Portuguese, and of course people were playing with their gifts.

The music for the above video is To Build a Home by Cinematic Orchestra; below, it’s Surrender by Ben Lee.  A big note of thanks to Melanie Hogan and Marcelo Maluf who helped me work the cameras.

A big hug,
  Lucas

Making of – 30 gifts to 30 strangers from Lucas Jatoba on Vimeo.

 

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A Love Letter for Trail Runners

 

…Or Trail Walkers

 

Staff Pick **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

For The Love is a beautiful cinematic poem on trail running
in the Marin headlands by Luis Peña.

It reminds us that while running is good, it’s not the only thing going.  You don’t have to run, you can just simply… walk.

As a nation of largely sedentary workers, we take less and less exercise.  Yet one of the most simple forms is the most effective– walking.

Regular walking, like most aerobic activities, is good for you because exercise strengthens the heart and lungs, increasing overall fitness.

You were made to walk.  It’s good for the bones, increases circulation and muscle endurance, and helps increase your supply of oxygen to get rid of the waste products in the tissues.  Regular walking is excellent for spinal discs, which receive minerals and vitamins through the pumping action it causes.

Walking is better for the spine than running because it puts less stress on the discs.  We were designed for constant movement, not sitting in cars or in front of computers which causes negative pressures on our spinal cord.

The best thing is that you can see results from walking reasonably quickly– although it depends on each person’s individual level of fitness, age and how often and fast they are walking.

There are also psychological benefits to walking.  When you walk, just like any other form of exercise, your body has a chemical release of serotonin, the natural feel-good chemical.  There is also the release of endorphins, which are happy hormones, which is why people feel a natural high at the end of an exercise session.

In short:  You don’t have to run to feel better or be in good shape. 

Simply put your best foot forward like the monkey of nature that you are.  A journey of a thousand different habits of better health and sound mind starts with that first step planted in the sunshine. 

Or fog.

* * * * * * * * *

For the Love was written and filmed by Luis Peña
Aerials by Float Deck Films
Music by Signpost – Sleep Son
Produced by the San Francisco Running Company

 

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My Life After Manson

 

Patricia Krenwinkel’s Story

Award-Winning Documentary

 

Olivia Klaus
Filmmaker

 

 

Forty-five years ago, Patricia Krenwinkel killed for Charles Manson.  

I vividly remember entering the California Institution for Women for the first time in 2001.

As the prison guard slammed the gate behind me, I wondered if I had made the right decision to become a volunteer for an inmate support group.  But my nerves were eased by a woman who introduced herself as “Krenny.”

Welcoming me into the group, she seemed quiet and insecure — yet also exuded an inner strength.  I had no idea how she got here and didn’t ask.  It was only several years later, while documenting the support group for a documentary film, “Sin by Silence,” that I learned Krenny’s full name:  Patricia Krenwinkel.

I was astounded. She was one of the infamous Charles Manson followers, convicted of seven murders.  She eventually approached me to go on camera with her story.

In this Op-Doc video, Ms. Krenwinkel provides her first on-camera interview since 1994, reflecting on her life before and after Manson.  This week would be the 45th anniversary of her crimes.

In 1969, at age 21, Ms. Krenwinkel was a member of Mr. Manson’s cult in Los Angeles.  His group, which he called the “Family,” included more than a dozen men and women who adhered to a bizarre mixture of hippie culture and apocalyptic paranoia.

Seeking to inspire a race war, Manson ordered Ms. Krenwinkel and other members of his group to commit a series of murders.  Over the course of two nights, they savagely murdered seven people, inflicting more than 130 stab wounds.  One of them, the actress Sharon Tate, was eight and a half months pregnant.

At their trial, the women shamelessly admitted their crimes and flaunted their allegiance to a leader they loved, but who clearly controlled their minds.

Over the years, I had gotten to know this woman — and our many conversations about life, love and politics had revealed slivers of a dark past.  But not until her on-camera interview, featured in this Op-Doc, did I fully comprehend her journey of self-discovery.

In prison, she has struggled mightily to reconcile two parts of her life: the 21-year-old girl who committed crimes to win the approval of the man she loved; and the 66-year-old woman who lives each day haunted by the unending suffering she has caused.

Ms. Krenwinkel is now the longest serving woman in the California prison system.  She says she takes full responsibility for her actions — finally, she says, she is a woman she can accept.

But is society ready to accept her back?  She is eligible for parole in 2018.

~Via Olivia Klaus, NY Times/All Things Crime, and Vimeo

* * * * * * * * * *

Olivia Klaus is a documentary filmmaker who lives in Austin.  This video is taken from a longer documentary,Life After Manson,” that premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. 

In August of 2014, it received a Vimeo Staff Pick award.

 

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Lookin’ Out My Backdoor

 

Tambourines & Elephants
 Playing in the Band 

 

Old School **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

I love being here, looking out my back door.

Seeing mountains and green trees and beautiful skies every day.  Feeling the cool coastal breeze pass on through on a fine summer’s day.  The birds and dragonflies humming about, the deer and bears eating dandelions in the meadow, the blackberries and apples ripening on the vine as they have always done.

Happy Hum-people going about their day in an easygoing lazy way, a casual wave of the hand, a friendly smile and hello.

There’s a peace and rhythm in Humboldt filling our minds with calm and cheer.  We see the bright green emerald grass emerging under our feet and hear the ocean’s distant terrifying roar;  it brings a sense of  life to the vibrant fore.

We enjoy the last of the epic summer sunsets and tall white cumulus clouds while relishing the start of a season full of foggy mornings.  We love spending summer dreaming of winter storms, and then the opposite. 

I love that everyone here loves Humboldt so much.  I love being home on the North Coast.

There’s a gentle ache for Humboldt that lives in all of us.  It’s our own little world that we live in, but that’s OK;  they happen to know us here.  It’s a safe place where we can go and not be questioned for who we are.  It has its own sense of comfort, goodness, and a special warmth;  the touch of a friendly hand and a talk beside the fire.  We know the next best thing to being cared for is caring for someone else.  And we all do; whether rich or poor or something in between.

I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but life was never really ordinary.  I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.  Likewise, I never imagined that Humboldt might be something I’d miss– like tambourines and elephants playing in the band.

Yeah, it’s all here, everything one wants and hopes and dreams for.  Life used to be so damn hard.  It’s not so much anymore.  It’s the same for anyone, I suppose, no matter where it is they hang their hat. 

Maybe that’s why we call it home.  Home is the nicest word there is.

It just took me awhile to realize that, lookin’ out my back door.

 

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The World’s Largest Water Balloon Fight

 

Christian Peeps Battle for Glory

 

VIRAL MUSIC VIDEO

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Time out for a little fun and sun from an otherwise typical college day.

Thousands of young Mormons gathered on the field of battle in Provo, Utah, armed with nothing more than a few thousand water balloons and a strong sense of destiny.

The Brigham Young University students threw their virginal, uncaffeinated selves into the fray, thereby setting a Guinness world record for the Largest Water Balloon Fight in July of 2010.  They also made the viral video above, “You Always Make Me Smile” by Kyle Andrews, garner over two million views on YouTube.

In total, 3,927 Mormon faithful lobbed 120,021 balloons, unleashing a massive barrage of colorful cool frolic for six minutes.  It had taken the students three days just to fill that many balloons.

balloons awayMost water balloon fight observers thought the BYU record would last the ages.  It was certainly a stout and glorious victory that would be hard to beat.  But alas! A couple thousand Kentuckian faithful proved them wrong.

Mind you, Kentucky held the previous record– until the Mormons came along and stole it out from underneath them.

So the University of Kentucky Christian Student Fellowship led the charge to recapture the Mormon-held record once and for all.

In August of 2011, over 5,000 equally wholesome young people from the Bluegrass State launched 153,497 balloons.  Some, like the video below, claim it was really 8,957 people and 175,141 balloons, but you know how confused facts get in the heat of battle.  Especially when setting a new world record for college glory.

Whatever the numbers, the Guinness big wigs said Kentucky had it– and BYU lost it.

Below is the video of that epic winning event.  The Kentuckians, though, lost the video side of the competition to their Mormon brethren, capturing only one million YouTube hits.

 

 

CSF World’s Largest Water Balloon Fight 2011 Official Video from Kevser Tunçer on Vimeo.

 

 

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The Closeness of Summer

 

Cherish It While It Lasts

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

I almost wish we were butterflies and lived but three summer days– three such days with you and I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”

     ~John Keats, Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems

 

It seems that summer passes by quicker than any other season.

For those of us fortunate enough to live in Humboldt, we experience distinct yet moderate climates.  We look forward and become ensconced in the warm welcoming weather only to have it ripped away all too quickly as our sun sets lower and the leaves begin to quietly fall from the trees.

June and July are distant memories.  Summer still has a month or more to bathe us in its glory.  Use it wisely.

As we continue to enjoy the soon-to-be fading rays of summer, we take a lasting glimpse of some of the end-of-season things we still look forward to: embracing the sunshine and living outdoors, enjoying the fruits and cool, cool water of a beautiful planet, our togetherness of family and friends, of barbecues, a sense of love and contentment, and a host of other tiny little things we hardly notice and often take for granted.

For now, however, there’s always tomorrow.  Another glorious summer day to enjoy.

Cherish it.  It will be long gone before we know it.

 

JUNE from Mark Mazur on Vimeo.

 

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The Band and Ball Brawl

 

Basketball Streetball Bonding:

‘We’re All in this Together’

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

The Rigsketball tournament takes place every summer all
around Portland.

Here’s how it works:  The Rigsketball van is parked in front of strip clubs, skate parks, cul-de-sacs, alleyways—wherever you can brown bag it and hit the hoop.

Two bands face off until a champion emerges or the cops break it up.  The teams decide as they’re playing how aggressive they want to be.  Sometimes it’s streetball basketball and other times it’s more like rugby. Depends on who is calling fouls. 

Be sure to show up before the games devolve into a drunken Roman candle fight, like has happened in the past.  It runs the gamut on crazy stuff.  There were days where they played outside of a strip club and all the strippers came out to watch.  Then everybody started shooting roman candles at each other.

If you let 100 musicians do whatever they want it gets crazy most of the time.  No one leaves without at least a skinned knee.

All 32 slots were filled this year in less than a day. 

The band that makes it through to win the championship walks away with bragging rights, a bunch of media attention, and an obscenely large golden trophy topped with a statue of the van.  The band sets up a bunch of media stuff for the winner which helps them with visibility in the music community.

Past tournaments have included Portland royalty bands like Starfucker, Typhoon, AAN, Rock ‘n’ Roll Soldiers, Con Bro Chili.

Rigsketball is the brainchild of Bim Ditson, a lanky guy with a frizzy red mohawk who looks a bit like a punk version of the turtle guy in Master of Disguise.

As a 15-year-old high school kid in Eugene, Oregon, he was a loud and charismatic guy and running an oddly-successful chain mail jewelry business at local craft fairs.  He has an eight-inch stick-and-poke tattoo on his thigh of a slice of pizza nailed to a cross.  He calls it Cheezus Christ.

Bim moved to Portland to join one of Portland’s most-loved bands called And And And. For a while he was going to shows every night and reporting on them for local newspaper Willamette Week in a column called Bimstagram.

Then he decided to drill a hoop on the back of the And And And van to give the band something to do on tour.  He thought it was kind of funny.  Whatever other bands were on the bill that night would play pick-up games after soundcheck.  That was four years ago.

It was only natural that other bands would start challenging them to three-on-three pick-up games.  That grew into an insane 32-band tournament.  Many never touched a basketball.  Now they play all the time.

There are no permits.  Band members and friends sitting on cars drinking microbrews and tallboys of PBR, listening to old-timey jazz from someones car stereo.  It’s like a backyard barbecue.  

That’s the point.

“It’s getting bands to hang out. Bands don’t hang out enough,” Bim says.  “Bands in different scenes, or at different levels of popularity, don’t kick it, and they should because we’re all in this together.”

Bim’s always been good at making stuff happen.  And he’s always wanted to build a living, breathing music community.  Now all the bands in Portland are suddenly into sports.

“There’s such a strong community and camaraderie between Portland bands, even ones in different genres,” Bim says.

“It’s not uncommon to see psych bands on the same bill as a metal band.  That’s why I wanted to start Rigsketball.  It taps into that idea that we’re all on the same team when we’re at this level,” Bim says.

“We aren’t hurting each other when one of us gets success, because we’re all in the same fucking boat.”

~Via And And And, Bim Ditson, Oregon Music World,
Vice, Juliet Zulu and Vimeo.

 

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Love, Humboldt

 

Humboldt-Made

 

A Staff Pick *Hum-VIDEO*

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

We love Humboldt. 

Everyone does.  It’s our people and community; our place and our home.

Head north along the coast to where most people think California ends. Then keep going.  You’ll eventually reach the redwood forests, pristine beaches, and the six rivers of Humboldt.

You’re in for a treat– and more than the outdoor adventure kind.  That’s because the same natural abundance we enjoy has inspired generations of family farmers, small businesses and artisans.  They handcraft products with care that’s hard to come by anymore– and with an approach that says, “Hey, Let’s be nice to the Earth.”

It’s something we’re really proud of. 

For you, that means seriously treats like local beer and wine, milk, cheeses and grass-fed beef.  Fresh-off-the-dock oysters, salmon, halibut, albacore and crab.  An abundance and variety of heirloom-quality foods, crafts and jewelry.

The best part of Humboldt, though, is the people.  Giving, loving, genuine.  Independent.  Content, happy, and satisfied.  Always a smile and a kind word for one another. 

That’s just the way we are. 

The second best part of Humboldt is the summer weather:  cool and comfortable and far removed from the withering heat felt elsewhere by most throughout the nation.  Many locals stay put for the summer; it’s simply the nicest and best place to be.

If you visit, start with some serious outdoor fun.  Go on a hike, or set out in a kayak. Canoe one the gorgeous rivers or explore our pristine coastline.  

Walk through the glorious forests and smell the fresh air sifting through the redwood needles and bay laurel trees.  Gaze meditatively at our ancient old-growth majesties glowing like cathedrals in the dappled soft sunshine.  Take a long walk on the isolated beaches that stretch for miles.  Delve into the area’s deep and rich history.

You can start at a farmer’s market, perhaps the famous Arcata Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.  Or maybe search the Arcata Plaza, Victorian Ferndale or Old Town Eureka for locally made crafts and jewelry.  Try some wine-tasting in Trinidad or call ahead and visit one of our small wineries.

Say hello.  Don’t be shy about stopping at the boat docks or fruit stands.  During summer you can find festivals and handfuls of events underway.  There’s plenty of gaming around.  Sample the restaurants and eateries; they serve up local and delightful delicacies.

For a community that’s as uniquely independent as we are, we still know how to take care of one another.  Take the time to chat.  Look after your elders by bringing them treats and firewood.  Drop off some fresh-picked blackberries for friends.  Help your neighbor find their chickens.  Pack up the neighborhood kids for a carefree barbecue and a swim at the river.

…And have a happy summer and more fun from all of us in Humboldt.

* * * * * * * * *

For our Hum-friends and family. 
~Via HumboldtMade.com and Vimeo/Runaway Kite

 

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Life, Death, and Happiness

 

Reflections By Philip Seymour Hoffman

 

Staff Pick Animated Flick

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Sigh.

The greatest interview ever recorded won’t get as many hits on YouTube as a cat giving a high five.

The people behind Blank on Blank want to change that.  They take the audio gems falling on the cutting-room floor, or low-fi cassette tapes that never aired, and create original animations of two to five minutes.

The animated short above and produced for PBS Digital Studios, is an example of their latest work, featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman reflecting on Life, Death, and Happiness.  A brilliant actor, Hoffman died in February of this year due to acute mixed drug intoxication, including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine.  He was 46.

Producer David Gerlach selects the audio (everyone from Fidel Castro to Meryl Streep to Tupac), and gives it to animator Patrick Smith, who visualizes the words in charming lo-fi videos.

Blank on Blank is now drawing millions of views and their most popular videos have featured dead artists: Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin, to name a few.

It’s a daunting challenge for an animator.

“You know Hoffman is dead.  You know he’s brilliant,” Smith says.  “And you’re in charge of visualizing these words.  It’s scary.”

Smith finds that the hardest recordings to animate often yield the best results, forcing him to think past the obvious.  His animations– sketchy, vibrant, and witty, like the best New Yorker cartoons come to life– are unquestionably the secret to Blank on Blank’s success, but he defers to the strength of his creative partnership with Gerlach.

“I’m an animator who needs a producer who can push me,” he says.  “All artists are lazy.  Left to our own devices, we make the worst decisions.”

 

Via Blank on Blank, PBS Digital Studios, YouTube, Studio 360/Sideshow Podcast.
For more information and other Blank on Blank episodes, visit blankonblank.org

 

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John Oliver Takes On Native Advertising

 

The Raisins in the Cookie No One Wants

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It was an unusual, yet timely, subject to take on.

HBO comedian John Oliver took a hatchet to native advertising, arguing that the trendy marketing practice is a threat to the editorial independence of newsrooms, misleads readers and erodes trust, and is a disturbing symptom of journalistic news organizations reaching for additional profits to fill their coffers.

Among other things, Oliver hammered native advertising as a confusing camoflauge tactic for selling to the public a sneaky bill of goods they never wanted in the first place.  He also unmercifully skewers the media and advertising industry into some well deserved bits and pieces for eroding the traditional “church and state” partition separating the editorial wing from the business side of news organizations.

Along the way, he takes on the New York Times, Time Inc., the Atlantic, The New Yorker, Chevron and others, describing the fornication of news and advertising as akin to dipping Twizzlers in guacamole and comparing the results to botched heart surgery.

Oliver calls the trend “repurposed bovine waste,” another word for… well, you get the idea.  It’s the raisins in the cookie no one wants.

Edward R. Murrow would be turning over in his grave.

 

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The World’s Largest Urban Zipline

 

One Heck of a Thrill Ride to the Bottom

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s one of his most fun stunts yet.

And it’s big.  That’s right; the man who constantly keeps us pushing ourselves to go bigger with our adventures has teamed up with his buddies to create the world’s largest urban zipline.

Director Devin Graham (better known as Devin Supertramp) put together this 3-minute, action packed video that has us questioning what we’ve been doing with our time slaving away at the normal 9 to 5.

In the above video, these totally whacked daredevils climb to the top of a 700-foot building in Panama City where they find themselves treated to the world’s longest zipline.  

As if riding the 10,000-foot length of barracuda cord wasn’t dank enough, these adrenaline junkie guys eject themselves from the line half way through, free-falling towards terra firma before deploying their parachutes at the last second.

It’s all too freakin’ scary and crazy and awesome. 

For you camera buffs out there, below is the behind-the-scenes take of how YouTube uber-darling Graham put it all together with skill and shill.

 

 

 

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The Last of the Neon Sign Makers

 

Todd Sanders and his Glowing Craft

 

Award-Winning *VIDEO*

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

“When I went to buy the run-down fruit stand that is now Roadhouse Relics, I was offered $15,000 by an Austin investor to walk away from the deal.  My friends told me I was crazy not to take the money and run.  But I knew creating a space and life for myself in Austin was what I wanted to do.

The roof had caved in.  In fact, I am not sure it was even safe to go in.  The day I bought it, I moved in to the only room that still had a roof.  After a few months, I moved into a trailer out back where I lived for the next ten years.

Over the past two decades, I’m proud to say my gallery has become an Austin landmark. I f you had told me when I bought it that one day the New York Times would list it as a must-see place in Austin, I wouldn’t have believed you.

For me, I always knew I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.

Roadhouse Relics is an extension of who I am; it’s become the iconic name behind my work.  The people who come in my store and the collectors who buy my work, they’ve all become part of my story.  And the best part is I have this amazing space, life, and family– and
I get to do what I love.”

   ~Todd Sanders, Roadhouse Relics  

 

For Austinites, Todd Sanders of Roadhouse Relics is a household name.  His South Austin gallery is as iconic as are his signs.

Settling in Austin in the early 90s, it’s hard to separate Sander’s story from the scrappy, authentic story of the city of Austin.  An anomaly of Texas cities, Austin’s preservation of independent business and thinking sets it apart as one of the most unique places in America.

When visitors fall in love with Austin, they fall in love with the handful of artists who have dedicated their lives to this city.  There’s no doubt Sanders is on that list.

Before discovering Austin in 1991, Sanders pursued many different jobs:  art supply salesman, automotive paint and bodywork repairman, motorcycle painter, and a short stint as an antique auto builder.  The skills that were acquired in his seemingly unrelated jobs are applied everyday to the glowing sculptures at Roadhouse Relics.

His vintage neon murals and sculptures decorate and influence the Austin landscape, giving what Sanders likes to call a “crude charm.”   His work has played a role in giving Austin an eclectic, positive identity that is known worldwide as Austin Style.  For Sanders, it is modern vintage, echoed in each of his works.

“The art I create is rustic and garish and over-the-top,” Sanders says.  “These objects don’t harmonize nicely with others in their presence; they dominate.  Energy courses through them, electrifying their surroundings as well.  They’re like that guy at a party who dresses wildly and talks too loudly, but everyone in the room finds him utterly fascinating.”

His pop art has appeared in many movies filmed in Austin.  His work has appeared in Esquire, Fortune Magazine, Texas Monthly, and other publications. It adorns the walls of clients and
well known celebrities everywhere.

What separates Sanders from his contemporaries is that he has preserved the original methods for creating his signs.  Everything is made from scratch, by hand, and without the use of computer aided designs.

With a personal collection of hundreds of old magazines and books from the 1920s through 1960s, Sanders has given himself a master’s education in neon art through study and dedication to the craft during his 20-year career.

His knowledge of typography, style and craftsmanship of vintage signs is both extensive and uniquely self-taught. 

Amassing over 2000 photographs of antique neon signage and murals from countless miles of travel throughout the United States, Sanders has the inspiration and knowledge to create the works of neon art which cover his studio gallery.

He’s the last of his breed; a neon vintage signmaker practicing a once ubiquitous art that, unfortunately, is going by the wayside in the digital era. 

 

 

~Via Todd Sanders, Roadhouse Relics, Vimeo & YouTube. 
All pictures are examples of Todd Sanders’ work.

 

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An Engravers Art

 

The Beauty is in the Detail

 

Vimeo Staff Pick *VIDEO*

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

From Kessler Productions:

We recently traveled to Austin, Texas to collaborate on a shoot
with Joe Simon, Owner and Creative Director of The Delivery Men.

The subject of the mini-doc we filmed was engraver, Gerry Beathard.  Our goal was to learn more about the process he goes through and to capture the art form cinematically.

During the interview process, it was interesting to hear how similar a lot of his process was to editing or filmmaking.  Each one requires an almost fanatical attention to detail, patience, and above all else, passion for the process of creating something that makes you proud.

Below is the behind-the-scenes look of how we filmed it.

 

In The Field With Joe Simon from Kessler Crane on Vimeo.

 

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Going Dark

 

The Final Days of Film Projection

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It’s another nail in the coffin of Hollywood’s Golden Era.

Jason Gwynn and Jay Sheldon’s documentary short film, Going Dark: The Final Days of Film Projection focuses on two men for whom the change in theatrical projection from celluloid film to digital disk is particularly alarming.

With studios forcing theaters to convert entirely to digital projection or be left without content to screen, theater manager Clif Campbell makes the only choice he can:  to close down his theater.  On the eve of the closure, he and projection manager Patrick Jenson reflect on what it means to be a film projectionist and the reasons why film projection is more fulfilling, and better, than digital in the eyes of many.

As much as the film is a lesson in film projection, it’s also the study of the end of an era for those who have become experts in an extinct field.  When Patrick reflects over his many years as a projectionist, you can hear the pain in his voice when he laments relating his skills that are now useless.  There’s no need for a projectionist to even have to press a button anymore.

The Heartland Emmy-winning film also touches on the unique qualities of film projection and what will be lost when the conversion to digital is final everywhere.

For some, it’s the loss of a job.  For others, like Clif, it’s the total end of a business.  As many small theater owners face the choice of expensively retrofitting their theaters for digital or perish, Clif’s story rings on a painfully universal note.

Sometimes progress isn’t made by innovation. It’s made by lazy execs trying to find
a cheaper and easier and way to do something.  Convert or die.

~Via Vimeo, Google/Film Threat

 

If you liked this post, you may enjoy our other one:  On With the Show

 

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Run Jose, Run

 

Fleeing Africa’s Violence and Killing Fields

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

After being abducted from a marketplace as a child and forced to kill, Jose Maria Joao had a vision one night in a
dream.

Risking death, he acted on his conscience.  The decision that came to him in his dream was to stop the fighting and killing. 

And to do that he had to run away.   Far, far away from the killing fields of violence and murder that he had anonymously become part of.

He shares his remarkable and tearful story in this short powerful biopic directed by Dave Meinert of MacDuff Films, which aims to foster a dialogue about the lasting effects of war.

Having worked as a bouncer at bars for the last ten or so years, Jose is a well-known face in Cape Town, South Africa.

“I’ve always been amazed how someone who has been exposed to so much violence can be so peaceful,” says Meinert, who wanted to tell Jose’s story as simply as he could.

Collaborating with filmmaker Michael Cleary, Meinart’s approach to making the film was an instinctive one. “We took a DSLR camera, one lens and a bulb from the hardware store, and switched the camera on. Stylistically, I was influenced by an older piece, but the rest needed to come from Jose as much as possible,” he says.

Upon handing everything over to Lucian Barnard to do the editing, Meinart gave him zero briefing.

“I didn’t know if we had a story in it yet.  He devised the editing style purely on his own and I think it’s the strongest element to the piece.”

Tired of seeing narratives that glamorize war and fighting, Meinart believes filmmakers are responsible for the stories they tell.

“Jose’s story, coupled with his gentle nature and trademark smile, has made us weep many times and we are privileged that he’d share it with us,” he says.

“There’s maybe never been a more relevant time to start sharing stories about the real casualties of war.  Please share his story.”

~Via MacDuff Films, 10 & 5, We Are Awesome,
Rising Continent, and Vimeo

 

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The Angst of Being Cyborg

 

A Sci-Fi Android’s Bonnie & Clyde Tale

 

**Award-Winning SHORT**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 
Consider this the prequel to the coming blockbuster. 

Sometimes the end is just the beginning.

An android receives notice that he will be shut down the next day, effectively ending his dreary droidian life.  But an unexpected encounter of a different sort takes his final day in a direction he wasn’t fully expecting or prepared for.

Voila!  The story of Bonnie & Clyde is reborn for the post-future world.

A terrific short film written and directed by David Rosenbaum, The Trail’s End was created with a single goal in mind.  To get a feature film made.  It’s a science fiction project being groomed to sell.

Now that may sound cynical, but let’s face it.  In Hollywood no one reads anything anymore.  They like things quick and easy and visual.  Got a good idea?  Show ‘em what you got and what you can do.  Upfront, up close, and personal.  And make it snappy.  We haven’t got all day.

Will it be made into a feature length movie?  It does show promise– it’s a premise that works and an idea that tweaks the imagination.

A robot who robs banks with the beautiful, impressionable dame by his side?

We enjoyed this short film and we’re sold.  Let’s see if Hollywood is, too.

 

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Going the Distance

 

Ronnie Goodman’s Long Run

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Ronnie Goodman may well be San Francisco’s
most unexpected half-marathoner. 

He might not have a comfortable place to rest his aching feet at night, but that didn’t keep the homeless artist from running 13.1 miles in San Francisco’s half marathon for charity.

Drug addiction and prison time left Goodman without a home, sleeping on the streets of San Francisco.

Now, sober for more than a decade, Goodman trained for the city’s marathon, setting out to conquer the same streets on which he sleeps.  He finished the race
in 1:43, raising $10,000 for charity.

When he’s not out beating the streets, he paints.

Goodman, 54, has been living under a freeway in San Francisco for two years, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.  Still, he trains two or more hours every day to fulfill his dream of running in the famed local event.  And his fans have found a way to make sure he will.

After reading about his love of running in the Chronicle’s original profile of Goodman, the fans stepped in and donated $120 to cover his entry fee for the July race.

While Goodman could have certainly used the race as a way to raise additional funds for himself, he’s decided to give back to the organization that’s helping him get back on his feet.

He collected money for Hospitality House, an organization that empowers homeless and low-income people through a number of initiatives including an art program that encouraged Goodman to pursue his passion.

The self-taught artist paints and draws works that explore both the beauty and diversity of his city along with images of human despair, according to his website.

Setting a pretty ambitious goal for himself of raising $25,000 for the organization, his donors were entered into a raffle to win one of Goodman’s original works.

Looking forward to showing the Hospitality House just how grateful he is, Goodman feels confident he can reach his goal.

This is my chance to give back to them,” Goodman told the Chronicle.  “That makes me very happy.”

~Via Ronnie Goodman, Google News,
SF Gate/Huffington Post, Vimeo

 

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The Church of Type

 

Letterpress Font and Beauty

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It’s been a long and archaic journey.

For 15 years Kevin Bradley lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, as co-founder of the design studio and letterpress giant Yee-Haw Industries, churning out fine-art prints, commemorative and promotional concert posters, album art and even wedding invitations, using 200-year old equipment in the same tradition as Guttenberg and the original printing press.

Kevin has covered the globe with a range of ephemera and custom typographic fine art prints for a litany of clients. His new company, the Church of Type in Santa Monica, California, represents his newest venture.  In 2013 he moved 30 tons of letterpress equipment across the country to bring his own vision and style to the epicenter of American Culture.

“I am using the old stuff, but I’m making a contemporary print with it,” Bradley says.  His slogan is “Art for the People, Since 1987.”

“I’ve rescued 200 years of beautiful type as well as plates …I always wanted to make a new print with the old stuff.”

He showcases a set of plates with images on metal.  

“In these drawers, I have the entire history of pro wrestling and boxing.  They would develop the photograph on the metal, put a line screen on it, match it with acid, and then they would mount it on wood for printing.  That’s how the newspapers were printed back in the day,” he says with pride.

For 25 years, Bradley has been scouring old barns and basements east of the Mississippi for these rare fonts and types from the 1800s and 1900s.  His business houses one of the most extensive wood and metal type collections in use today: multiple letters and sizes comprising over 1,000 fonts of moveable type and in-house, hand-carved woodblocks, all printed on a 4’x10’ Takach press.

He wants to bring to life the way the world communicated hundreds of years ago, only in a modern way — much like how modern folk musicians keep old songs alive, bringing them to contemporary listeners in new forms and textures.

He considers himself a graphic designer, an illustrator, a painter, print maker, editor, copywriter– even a janitor.  But at the most basic level, he’s a typographer — a last craftsman in a dying profession.

“I’ve got all this type, and I’ve got to figure out how to use it and get people to see it,” Bradley said.

Church of Type is much more than just a printing shop for Bradley; it’s a means of communication that steps into the mythology of man, to the campfire, to that archetypal yearning for the power of the word mixed with the smell of the ink and the wood and the dust.

Across the walls he has a series of original images — robots, dinosaurs, Godzilla.  Each of them is made with letters, which you can see when you look up close.

He’s constantly experimenting every day with the form.

“It’s a repository of the real stuff,” says Bradley.  “It’s my Church of Type.  The word on the page is a powerful thing.  When the power goes out, I will be king.”

~Via Kevin Bradley, LA Weekly, and Vimeo

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On With the Show

 

This is It– The Night of Nights

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s a silver screen, silent film sacred sort of place,
and it’s something out of time.

The Old Town Music Hall began in the 1960′s when two musicians, Bill Coffman and Bill Field, purchased the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ from the Fox West Theater in Long Beach, CA, and installed it in the quaint 188-seat El Segundo State Theater, originally built in 1921.

The “Two Bills” opened their doors in 1968, and to this day the Old Town Music Hall, a treasured cultural landmark and nonprofit organization, continues to entertain audiences with silent and sound films, as well as ragtime, jazz and pipe organ concerts.

All the silver screen films are accompanied live by the Mighty Wurlitzer, just as they were when the silent features were originally released.   

The massive circa-1925 machine messiah wind-powered pipe organ has been meticulously preserved so that silent classics can be experienced with live musical accompaniment, just as they did when they were first shown.  

It’s something you really have to see and hear to believe.

The Mighty Wurlitzer consists of more than 2,600 pipes.  The organ console has four keyboards, 260 switches, and an array of controls and pedals.  From the console, the organist controls the pipes and many percussive instruments, such as a xylophone, marimba, piano, drums, and cymbals.

The entire system is air-powered from a 10-horsepower Spencer Turbine Orgoblo.  This powerful source of wind pressure runs the entire mechanical system and also plays the pipes.  

It’s size and scope are beyond imagination– this is one instrument that can completely floor you if you’ve never seen one in person.  To make things even more interesting (and entertaining) they give audiences a “peek behind the curtain” with every organ performance.  By making each drum, bell, whistle, and special sound effect glow in the dark, audiences can gain a little insight into how this mighty organ actually works.

Needless to say, the old gal requires constant maintenance.

On stage with the organ console is a spectacular 9-foot concert grand piano.  The 92-note Bösendorfer was handmade in Vienna for the Old Town Music Hall in 1974.  The Bösendorfer company has been making pianos since 1828, and is perhaps finest acoustic keyboard instrument made.

But make no mistake.  It’s Hollywood’s films of the Golden Era along with the original musical complement that leave movie buffs in awe.  Charlie Chaplin Clark Gable, Lon Chaney, Judy Garland, Harold Lloyd, Errol Flynn, Bette Davis and a host of other celluloid heroes come alive once again for the night when the intimate venue at 140 Richmond Street opens its doors for all to see.

There is nothing more entertaining than witnessing a silent short and experiencing the artistry of the live organ accompaniment, and the entire gig is simply stunning and beautiful taken in all its majestic glory.

 

~Via Old Town Music Hall, Lost & Found Films,
  Vimeo, and Madeline40

If you liked this story, you may also enjoy our others: Going Dark and The Church of Type


* * * * * * * * *

‘Old Town’ was produced and directed by Ben Wu and David Usui of Lost & Found Films.

It’s one in a series of short films that explore the idea of home, or places that function as home – workplaces, hang out spots, etc.

Lost & Found Films want to figure out what makes them, how they represent us, why we need them.  They’re always on the lookout for dwellings of all sorts.  If you’ve come across any curious or eccentric homes or other curious places, feel free to send them along to:

thismustbetheplace.tv

mail@thismustbetheplace.tv

 

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Where Are Your Teens Tonight?

 

Studying at the Library?  Yeah, Right.

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Our youth now love luxury.

They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and they love chatter in place of exercise.

They no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents and chatter before company; they gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.

     ~Socrates

 

We think that only “bad” kids get into trouble.  And that “good” kids never do.

We’ve got news for you.  They all do. 

All kids get into trouble.  They’re risk-takers, seemingly invincible, and yearning to be independent.  The hormones are flaring and they’re out the door to do who knows what.  It’s called fun. Or angst.

A long, long time ago it used to be smoking, getting into a fight, skipping class, smashing mailboxes.  Today, it’s alcohol, drug, and prescription med abuse, sexually acting out, running away, and more risky stuff– like blowing your mind out in a way-too-fast joyriding car or stupidly handling a gun while too high or drunk.

There’s a Beast and We All Feed It, above, is by Jake Bugg,  a 19-year-old singer-songwriter out of working-class Nottingham, England.  His songs paint a vivid, realistic, and sometimes violent picture of fights, drugs, poverty, and heartbreak happening with kids today.

Black Sugar, below, is a flick of a different flavor.  All kids– even those nice quiet middle class white kids living in the ‘burbs in big homes with swimming pools– find themselves on the riskier side of things when you, and they, least expect it.

Don’t kid yourself.  Each one is portrait of what’s happening with kids today. 

Few, if any, survive their teens.  They take love, perseverance, tenacity, sweat, tears, prayers, lighting candles, and the list could go on.

Remember when you were young?

 

Black Sugar from Hank Friedmann on Vimeo.

 

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Rubble and Broken Lives

 

The Human Cost of War

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

She is a courageous, remarkable woman–
and an outstanding photo journalist.

Immediately after the September 11 attacks, 24-year-old photographer Kate Brooks set out to document the impact of war on civilians.

Since then, she has covered major conflicts throughout the Middle East and Afghanistan, including the American invasion of Iraq, the 2006 Lebanon War, and the Libyan revolution.

“When it comes to military force and going into conflicts, people are very short sighted about what it’s actually going to mean,” says Brooks. “Civilians are always the ones who pay the biggest price in any conflict.”

In this short film, producers Leandro Badalotti and Simon Schorno powerfully weave together the images and interview with the photographer over the course of her career.

Brooks discusses the motivation behind her work, the moral dilemmas photojournalists face, and the importance of documenting the non-military lives affected by these wars.

“One of the things that I love about the greater Middle East is that it’s the birthplace of ancient civilizations and world religions,” says Brooks. 

“Over the past decade it’s become a region of rubble and broken lives.  I don’t have a problem risking my life doing what I am doing, but I have to believe in what I’m doing.”

While many of the photographs can be difficult to view, the film serves as an ever-important reminder of the consequences of war, the human costs for civilians, and the accompanying cycle of violence that many politicians– and us– seem to forget.

 

~Via Kate Brooks, Leandro Badalotti, Simon Schorno,
InterCross and Peace 2000, and Vimeo

* * * * * * * * *

Kate Brooks is currently working on a documentary about the poaching of rhinoceroses and elephants. Please visit her website to see more of her work.

 

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A Twilight Zone Groundhog Day Love Story of Infinite Possibilities

 

Need We Say More?

Staff Pick **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

The Universe is infinite– and so are the options.

A Truncated Story Of Infinity is Director Paul Trillo’s look at the infinite possibilities within our everyday existence.

It’s a bizarre and trippy flick.  As we follow a day in the life of Vincent– otherwise known as Subject X– we find his many variations that exist throughout the universe, and the story slowly begins to fracture into different threads from there by his following a would-be lover down the street.

It’s a little like the Twilight Zone, A more pathetic Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, and a Love Story story– all intertwined into one mildly insane piece and place.

Carpe Diem.  Or consider the multiple possibilities presented in each moment while keeping your sanity delicately intact.  Are you a person dreaming you are a butterfly?  Or a butterfly dreaming you are a person? 

We dunno.  It’s all too much like a mystery wrapped up in a burrito for us.

Enjoy.

 

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A New Life in the Saddle

 

The Story of Jonathan Field

 

 Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him participate in synchronized diving.”
        ~Cuthbert Soup, Another Whole Nother Story

 

His parents introduced him to horses when he was just a year old
and he’s been around them ever since.

Growing up in the rural community of Bradner, British Columbia, Jonathan Field spent many evenings and weekends with his family and friends spending time with their horses.  In a helmet and jodhpurs riding his small buckskin quarterhorse named ’Wee Mite Buck’ he jumped everything, raced friends, and competed in the local 4H club.

At the age of 13, a trip to a cattle branding with his family changed Jonathan’s focus, spurring him toward another path with horses.  He was determined to be a cowboy.

For four seasons Jonathan worked at the historic Quilchena Cattle Company, one of the largest operating cattle ranches in Canada.  Living the cowboy life he rode the range by day and nestled in a cow camp at night, driving cows and branding calves come rain, snow or shine.  Each day was spent in the saddle.  A  teenaged-Jonathan could imagine nothing better.

In 1995 Jonathan’s family hosted a horsemanship demonstration at their ranch.  A cocky, brash young cowboy, Jonathan wasn’t prepared for what awaited him there.  The demonstrator was Pat Parelli; the legendary ’horse whisperer’ and trainer.   Witnessing the sensitive relationship between Pat and his horses turned Jonathan’s world upside down.  It opened his eyes to the unique possibility that one could have a special bond with horses.

Life so often shifts unexpectedly, and Jonathan decided to pursue a stable future with his family’s water well drilling company.  However, a well-drilling accident in the bush, 20 minutes from the nearest town, changed everything.

A 500-pound steel casing fell from 20 feet in the air after the supporting chain failed, landing on Jonathan’s arm.  Crushing and amputating all but the skin on his left wrist, he barely made it to the hospital as he witnessed the enormous loss of blood along the way.  Nearly succumbing to blood loss and shock during the ten hours of travel by plane and ambulance, Jonathan knew his horse career days were all but over.

Four doctors at Vancouver General Hospital decided to attempt the reattachment and rebuilding of Jonathan’s hand and wrist.  After a remarkable surgery, Jonathan awoke in a haze at the hospital’s Plastics and Burns Unit, uncertain of his future.

The doctors performed a miracle reattaching tendons, aligning bones and transplanting nerves in a surgery that wasn’t possible four years earlier.  The doctors phenomenally performed the technical work.  The real test, however, was that the future mobility of Jonathan’s hand would be entirely up to his own determination and attitude toward healing.

During the months of physical therapy and pain management that followed, Jonathan’s resilience and recovery were continually tested.  It played out on a day by day basis, continually marked by frustrating setbacks and delays.  At times it seemed as if it all were going nowhere.

His healing was arduously slow and painful.  He experienced phantom pains.  At times his hand and fingers would go numb, feeling no sensation or movement at all.  He struggled with post traumatic stress, recurring nightmares, and terrifying flashbacks.  He remembered the blood gushing out of his arm for hours on end on the long trip to the hospital.  It was a trauma that played endlessly in his head, over and over.

Struggling with the realities of his future and feeling sorry for what he had lost, Jonathan was about to encounter the one thing he needed most moving his life forward:  he listened to a good friend.

Late one night while working on his stretching exercises and martial arts conditioning with friend and Judo expert, Osamu Kasahara, their talk turned to Jonathan’s accident.

Osamu sensed Jonathan’s struggle and presented him with one of the most powerful thoughts he had ever heard.  

He said to Jonathan proddingly, “You have two choices: to suffer …or to heal.”

The reality of those simple words hit Jonathan like a rock.  Osamu had gently forced him to consider that the future was literally in his hands;  Jonathan would be the ultimate master of his own destiny.  It was an epiphany. 

Jonathan thought long and carefully and came to his decision.  He would turn a horrible situation around and heal; he would be a better and stronger person because of  the accident– instead of worse.

Jonathan will be the first to admit that prior to the accident he was neither a patient nor sympathetic man.  Had he been faced with a another friend in a similar situation, Jonathan’s reaction would have been different.  It would have been more along the lines of “Get over it,” “Cowboy up” or “It’s all in your head.”   That’s the cowboy way.

It’s often a different story when you’re the one who’s living in the saddle.  If not for Jonathan’s decision to heal, he would neither be as sympathetic as he is today nor the compassionate teacher for others.

The path of personal growth was a long journey for Jonathan.  It was one marked by difficult turning points and significant milestone markers along the way. 

A huge contributor towards his sensitivity and empathy, Jonathan now works and mentors both fearful horses and worried people in his new career.

It took a terrible accident and painful months of recovery to begin a journey that would change Jonathan forever, leading him to a new life with horses and a different perspective on life overall.

 

~Via Jonathan Field.net, Vimeo, Salazar

For Shannon Miranda, the Don Sampson & Mont Ellett families, 
and Navajo Trails Ranch

 

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Caught in the Conflict of Gaza

 

It Can Be Done:

Negotiate an End to the Siege

**VIDEO**

 

Joseph A. Palermo
Huffington Post

 

 

The gutless American political class has abdicated its
responsibility for the actions of the Israel Defense Forces.

Few people living in the Middle East or anywhere else make the distinction between the United States and Israel, nor should they with all those weapons stamped “made in the USA.”  It’s supremely foolish to conclude that Israel can never negotiate with Hamas on lifting the siege of Gaza.

The American rhetoric of spreading “freedom” has been a legitimizing argument dating back to the 1898 Spanish-American War when we were “liberating” the Cubans and Filipinos from the yoke of Spanish colonialism.

When the U.S. Senate votes 100 to zero to support whatever the IDF does in Gaza our political “leaders” might not realize it, but they’re undermining the ideological architecture that has allowed them to drive this country into every other war.

United States military interventions have always been accompanied by justifications that emphasize the goal of social uplift for the country under attack.  The U.S. might bomb women and children but we’re there to “help” our allies build schools and clinics or bring “freedom” and “women’s rights” to the dispossessed.  We are told the violence is targeted at those opponents who would sabotage the good progress the U.S. is trying to make in Vietnam or Afghanistan or Iraq.

The discourse around the Israel-Palestine struggle has an antiquated settler state accent to it more akin to the America of the 19th Century when white people were “defending” themselves against the onslaught of Native Americans– whose lands were being annexed.

In the 20th Century, especially since the Second World War, the portrayal of U.S. military action is always sold as being altruistic in nature.  The U.S. engages in wars only reluctantly and for the highest ideals.

The historical context for the Israel-Palestine fight today has changed markedly from what it has been over the past half century.  This is not 1967, or 1973, or 1982.  Today in Iraq, Sunni fanatics dominate large swathes of the country and have already ethnically cleansed the Christians from Mosul after a pretty good run of 1,900 years.

With the breakup of Iraq and Syria, the rise of ISIS and other newly-minted anti-Western groups and the realization that the United States is not going reinvade Iraq nor bomb Iran, the neo-conservative juggernaut as far as U.S. policy goes for now, is effectively finished.

Bibi Netanyahu’s stubborn conviction that Israel can never talk to Hamas fails to take into account the shifting regional and global dynamics.  His viewpoint is just a fearful, right-wing reaction that fails to recognize the shifting contours of history.

Pro-war voices always say that negotiations are impossible.  The white minority rulers of South Africa said it– but Apartheid collapsed.  The East German regime said it– but the Berlin Wall came down. The Protestants in Northern Ireland said it too.

Times change.  And the United States is no longer the superpower it once was.  The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have depleted our resources and have created a broad based domestic anti-war backlash.

In addition, the nation suffers from historic levels of income and wealth inequality, chronic trade imbalances, mass incarceration, a huge national debt and a Congress with precious little connection to the will of the people.  In short, the U.S. is in no position to allow its surrogates to dictate terms.

During the Vietnam War, New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy tried to explain to his pro-war detractors why he was calling for talks when they claimed the U.S. was “winning.”

“I thought we were at a critical time,” he said. “And before we take the final plunge to even greater escalation, I think we should try negotiation.  If we can’t find the answer to it we can always go back to the war.”

In November 1967, Kennedy questioned the moral appeals that had been made from the earliest days of the U.S. intervention.  He told a panel of Washington journalists on Face the Nation that the US’s “moral position” in the conflict had “changed tremendously.”

“We’re killing South Vietnamese; we’re killing children; we’re killing women; we’re killing innocent people,” Kennedy said.  He had not yet announced his presidential run but his speeches and other public remarks on Vietnam challenged the narrative that had enabled the war in the first place.

Wittingly or not, RFK had shredded the pro-war moral appeals.

Kennedy was also a strong supporter of Israel.  Days before he was murdered at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, he had appeared at an event in that city wearing a yarmulke and calling for advanced fighter jets to be sent to Israel.

A 24-year-old Palestinian who apparently had been enraged by RFK’s views fired his $30 Iver-Johnson pistol at the Senator shortly after Kennedy won the California Democratic primary.  The Canadian historian, Gil Troy, (an uncritical booster of Israel) has referred to RFK’s assassination as the first act of “Arab terrorism”
on U.S. soil.

So, RFK, who might have become President of the United States, was murdered at the age of 42 ostensibly as an indirect byproduct of the Israel-Palestine conflict.  

Enough is enough.  History cannot be frozen in place. Things have a way of moving along.  Just consider how social media has countered the dominant narrative of the current IDF attack on Gaza and one can see that we now reside in a new world.

There are so many stakeholders, not only in the Middle East but also in Europe and beyond, that would like to see an end to this madness in Gaza. 

The vital thing confronting us today is for the United States to put pressure on Israel to lift the siege of Gaza and seek a viable and realistic political solution.

And if negotiations fail, as RFK said about Vietnam in 1967, “we can always go back to the war.”

The vital thing is to try.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Before earning a Master’s degree and Doctorate in History from Cornell University, Professor Palermo completed Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master’s degree in History from San Jose State University.

His expertise includes the 1980s; political history; presidential politics and war powers; social movements of the 20th century; the 1960s; and the history of American foreign policy. Professor Palermo has also written articles for anthologies on the life of Father Daniel Berrigan, S.J. in The Human Tradition in America Since 1945 and on the Watergate scandal in Watergate and the Resignation of Richard Nixon.

Professor of History at California State University, Sacramento, Professor Palermo’s most recent book is The Eighties. He has also written two other books: In His Own Right: The Political Odyssey of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy and the Death of American Ideals.

Part of the Iona Brotherhood, we thank Dr. Palermo for sharing his work with our readers here.

 

 

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The Humble Origin of Computer Graphics

 

The Big Bang:

The Adobe Illustrator Story

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

We’ve come a long ways since the days of Pong and Mario Brothers.

Even if you have never used a computer illustration program in your life, Terry Hemphill’s informative video above shows us the humble beginnings and the groundbreaking breakthroughs Adobe first made when they introduced their pioneering software– allowing anyone and everyone to be a graphic design artist in their own home.

When Adobe Illustrator first shipped in 1987, it was the first software application for a young company that had, until then, focused solely on lettering and fonts for Apple computers.  The new product not only altered Adobe’s course, it changed drawing and graphic design for the masses forever.

It’s pretty entertaining to see what actually passed for digital illustration in the early days of Adobe– which wasn’t actually all that long ago, and how things have progressed at lightning speed ever since.

As the Illustrator story unfolds, we see the beginnings of Adobe’s first software product, its role in the digital publishing revolution, and what has become an essential tool for designers worldwide today.

The Adobe Illustrator Story is a tad long, but it’s a well done piece with high production values and solid insight into John Warnock’s vision of making graphic design easier and more creative for all of us, since those old school days of using rapidograph pens and the painstaking process of transferring images from paper to the drawing board.

If you can think it, you can create it.

 

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Guardians of the Temple

 

Burning Man and Meaning

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s fairly simple, actually. 

Life is precious.  Life is short.  Life should be a celebration. 

And your temple of sacred space for the celebration and reflection of life is anywhere and everywhere.

Since 2002, the Guardians have held an integral role at the Temple of Burning Man.

68,000 people from all over the world turned out for the radical arts event set in the remote Black Rock Desert of Nevada.  They came, they heard, they saw, and they burned.  For some, it was one big party.  For others, self-expression and freedom.  And for a few, a place for self-reflection and insight.

The Guardians, however, have remained largely invisible; holding space and place from the mysterious shadows of the playa.

Until now.

 

 

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Your Mind is Not Your Own

 

Anywhere the Eye Can See

Lies an Iconic Consumer Image

 

Award-Winning Short Video

 

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s not yours and your mind is not your own.

Guy Trefler set out to flex his graphic design muscles and convey the message that nothing is original.

In Not Mine, a creative visual exploration of how everything’s been inspired by something else, we can see how our brain is implanted with millions of casted images throughout our life.

In a true whirlwind of brand names, logos, iconic imagery and memorable products, we’re made to realize that everything inspired something else at some point or the other.  It’s a fallacy to assume that anything is original anymore, but that doesn’t mean old ideas and concepts can’t be recombined, reconfigured, and reinterpreted to create something new and exciting.

Not Mine was created using a series of 469 images from Google’s image banks, which Trefler playfully labels as ‘not mine’ at the end of the film– showing a full breakdown of all the shots in the short.

His film reminds us how much and how often icons and images are thrust upon us.

Marketers and advertisers try their hardest to reach people while they’re watching TV or reading newspapers or magazines.  But consumers’ viewing and reading habits are so scattershot now that many advertisers say the best way to reach time-pressed consumers is to try to catch their eye at literally every turn.

And it has become ubiquitous. 

Researchers estimate a person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day, compared with 5,000 today.  About half of the people surveyed in one study said they thought marketing and advertising today was overblown and out of control.

Expect more saturation on the horizon.  Old-fashioned billboards are now being converted to digital screens, and they’re considered to be the next big thing coming.  They allow advertisers to change messages frequently from remote computers, timing their pitches to sales events or the hour of the day.  

People can expect to see more of them not only along highways, but also in stores, gyms, gas stations, elevators, doctors’ offices and on the sides of buildings, marketing executives say.

It’s frightening to realize just how many images, advertisements, jingles, and worthless bits of subliminal garbage fill up the useless space in our heads like pieces of flotsam and jetsam.

Our brain cells could be put to so much better use if they were simply free of the clutter, conditioning, and the distraction being forced upon us without our consent, much less our conscious awareness.

 

 

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The Unusual Journey of Robina Asti

 

‘Flying Solo’

 

A Staff Pick
Award-Winning Film

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Everyone has an interesting story to tell.

Flying Solo: A Transgender Widow Fights Discrimination, is a short documentary by the Lambda Legal organization relating the unusual and touching struggle of 92-year-old transgender widow and war veteran Robina Asti.

Robina Asti was denied the survivor benefits she should have received after her husband’s death for two long years.  In a 2004 ceremony in an airplane hangar in Orange County, NY, Robina, a World War II veteran and pilot, married her longtime sweetheart, Norwood Patton.

In June 2012, Norwood passed away at 97 years old.  On July 27, 2012, Robina applied in person for survivor benefits through the SSA.

Though Robina already received Social Security benefits, being able to claim survivor benefits would increase her monthly check by about $500.  On April 24, 2013, the SSA notified Robina that her survivor benefits under Norwood’s Social Security record were denied because “her marriage does not meet the requirements under Federal law for payment of Social Security widow’s benefits,” stating that her marriage was not valid because she was “legally male” at the time of their wedding.

In June 2013, Lambda Legal filed a request for reconsideration on Robina’s behalf. 

This past Valentine’s Day, after months of legal advocacy, the Social Security Administration (SSA) paid Robina, and in April of this year, the SSA updated its policies and procedures regarding the ability of transgender individuals to receive benefits through their spouses.

Robina’s struggle had taken over two years.

After Social Security changed both its mind and its policies, Robina was elated to find out that her long fight to be fully recognized as a spouse was finally over. 

She recounted afterwards:

“I was so happy.

I felt like it was my husband Norwood’s Valentine’s Day gift to me.  I’m glad that Social Security finally came to its senses. 

I hope this means that other people won’t have to experience this.”

 

Robina chose to share her story of struggle, hope, and love with others– so that they, too, may persevere and find their way.

~Via Lambda Legal, Robina Asti, Vimeo

* * * * * * * * *

Flying Solo is previewing at NewFest: The New York LGBT Film Festival, July 27th at 1:30pm.

More information about Lambda Legal’s resources for trans people and advocates can be found here

If you liked this story and video, you might also enjoy Eri’s unusual story, too.

 

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