Indie-Script: April 2006: Archives

April 26, 2006

I Hate Instruction Manuals genre: Indie-Script

I hate instruction manuals. Last fall, I went to the New York Film Academy to learn digital filmmaking. The camera we used for the program was a Panasonic AG-DVX100. The good news is that we received hands on instruction and training in using the camera. Panasonic came out with a new camera early this year, the AG-HVX200 which in simple terms is a high definition upgrade to the DVX100 that uses both Mini-DV tapes as well as Panasonic's new P2 cards (similar to a still camera SD card). I knew they were going to introduce the camera last fall so I decided to wait to purchase the HVX200 rather than the DVX100 that I used at NYFA.

I've had the new camera for a couple months but I haven't taken the time to read the instructions...truthfully it's quite similar to the camera used at NYFA. Last night I decided I would get up early this morning and upload a digital short I made at NYFA to You Tube (basically a video hosting site). Well as they say so much for the best laid plans. My digital short wasn't in a format that is compatible with You Tube so I set out to convert it by downloading the Mini-DV through the new camera into Final Cut in order to change the format. Speed painfully forward to midday and my little plan has hit enough speed bumps to warrant a new axle.

Anyway, I haven't had time to post some new entries to Thought Theater so I thought I would at least offer my lame explanation. As my friends can attest, I have an aversion to instruction manuals which usually means that if I don’t take a class where the training is hands on and visual, then I learn through trial and error. Well this morning turned out to be heavy on the error. The good news is that I'm stubborn enough that I don't give up easily. Bottom line, I expect to get the digital short posted after a few more twists and turns.

In the meantime, please take some time to look back on some of the older postings. The April archive is quite large and you can also peruse the "genre" list in the right hand column to pick from a variety of topics sections. The content mix is quite varied so hopefully there is something fro everybody. Thanks for visiting Thought Theater.

Daniel DiRito | April 26, 2006 | 11:34 AM | link | Comments (0)
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"Shameless" Promotion genre: Indie-Script

I was playing around with Adobe Creative Suites (OK, more accurately, I was looking around like a two year old at the zoo) and decided to see if I could create some type of ad copy for Thought Theater. It took me longer to think something up than to actually put the ad together with Adobe. Anyway, since I spent the time, I decided I would go ahead and post it here.

Shameless promotion

Daniel DiRito | April 26, 2006 | 8:50 AM | link | Comments (0)
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April 23, 2006

Dialogue, Not Dish...I Promise genre: Indie-Script

OK, frustration break. Today, I spent a fair amount of time on another site in a "discussion" about immigration. First admission...I have an opinion about everything. First caveat...even though I have an opinion, I want to hear other opinions because the only thing I'm really pursuing is some degree of "truth". First frustration...intransigence in the absence of data and fact rarely leads anyone closer to the "truth"...which is where I'm hoping to travel. Second frustration...if the "first frustration" exists, then the attempt to achieve some degree of "truth" being pursued in the "first caveat" has failed.

Second admission...my opinions aren't always fully vetted to the point that I can site verbatim data and fact. Second caveat...even though I think I have fact and data to support my opinions, there is always more data and more fact available or to be discovered. Third frustration...an unwillingness to listen to all the available facts and accept that data is always being updated rarely leads anyone closer to the "truth"...which is where I'm hoping to travel. Fourth frustration...if the "third frustration" exists, then the attempt to achieve some degree of refined "truth" being pursued in the "second caveat" will fail.

Final admission...I just want some good old fashioned collegial discussion. Final caveat...if you're right, I'm happy to admit same in order for "us" to get closer to more consensus "truth". Second to last frustration...if the willingness to admit the other party (whether that's me or you) might be more right...hence have more "truth" isn't present, "we" won't get any closer to the "truth"...which is where I'm hoping to travel. Final frustration...if the "second to last frustration" exists, then the attempt to achieve some mutual consensus on the "truth" that "we" are pursuing in the "final caveat" will fail.

Honestly, how I get to the "truth" isn't as important as getting there...if you can help me get there, I will be thrilled, grateful, and grudge free. So right now my "truth" is simply that my head hurts. I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

Daniel DiRito | April 23, 2006 | 7:49 PM | link | Comments (2)
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80,000 Protest Murder In Brussels genre: Indie-Script

An estimated 80,000 people took to the streets in Brussels, Belgium to protest the murder of a 17 year old teenager who refused to give two robbers his MP3 player. The crowd was the largest since 1996 when some 300,000 protested the police handling of another kidnapping and murder. Read the full article here.

What I find fascinating is the contrast in reactions to such crimes against an individual here in the United States. I see occasional vigils for crime victims but I personally can't recall a protest of this magnitude. If anyone cares to point one out, feel free to post a comment. I wonder what this says about our desensitization to violence and crime.

Daniel DiRito | April 23, 2006 | 4:52 PM | link | Comments (0)
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April 18, 2006

Thank You genre: Indie-Script

I really appreciate all those who have taken the time to stop by Thought Theater. It's been encouraging to see the number of visitors steadily increasing and to witness the many readers who continue to return to the site. If you haven't already done so, I hope you will take some time to read some of the older postings that were in place before you may have found Thought Theater. It gives the reader a broader perspective of the overall content mix and a better understanding of my own thoughts about numerous issues. If it hasn't already become apparent, my curiosities are rather varied so hopefully there will be something of interest to all.

I will continue to post about a wide mix that includes current topics and news, relationships, humor, photography, and poetry...as well as the more reflective postings that attempt to look below the surface. For a more comprehensive list of topics, please refer to the "genre" listings in the right-hand column.

I encourage you to add comments about what you read but to also insert your own insights and observations. Anything short of a novel is welcome. I enjoy the dialogue and it helps me expand and refine my own awareness. We may not always agree but my own preference is to keep the dialogue civil and productive so you needn't be concerned about personal attacks...I just don't see that as productive. I much prefer wit, humor, and the occasional snarky remark. Feel free to return the volley. Thanks again for visiting Thought Theater. I look forward to the exchange.

Daniel DiRito | April 18, 2006 | 1:34 PM | link | Comments (0)
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April 14, 2006

A Deep Breath: There's Still 94 Years genre: Indie-Script

Well it's been two weeks now since Thought Theater came out from behind the security of a password. Those fourteen days went awfully fast...which for me isn't necessarily a bad thing since I'm prone to boredom. Nonetheless, it seems appropriate to stop for a moment in order to reflect on where I've been and what I think I may have learned.

In my high school, the Headmaster was a remarkably insightful person and my particular group of friends spent a good deal of time with Ed during the school year as well as the summer. Although he never said it in so many words, Ed lived each day as if there were no tomorrow. There were countless demonstrations. I did take note of one particular conversation. He told me that despite his record of notable positions in education (he also wasn't inclined to stay in any one particular position), he hadn't saved a penny. He paused for a moment before saying, "and I don't regret it."

We constantly asked him to tell us the secret of life and he assured us that he would...but not until we graduated. Like a cherished home movie, that moment remains a vivid image. We were standing on the steps of the Cathedral, having just finished the graduation ceremony, when I reminded him that it was time to tell me the secret. In retrospect, I think I knew what he was going to say but I wanted to hear the words. In his charming Boston accent, he said, "Dan, there is no secret to life...you simply live it."

Over the years, I've often thought back on those words. Many times it felt as if they were the words of strangers spoken in languages I couldn't comprehend. Those moments told me that it was time for change. Initially, I resisted and held my ground thinking change would come to me. Sometimes it did...but it was rarely the change I preferred. Much like a failing tree on a hillside overlooking a brook, waiting stoically for the water to rise high enough to provide a much needed drink, that eventually realizes it must reach out for water if it is to survive, I came to understand that life is the same. Life is not a carnival ride whereby we pay a fare to be whisked away in a whirlwind to new places filled with new surroundings and surprises.

The last three years have been part of my own journey to reach out. The launching of Thought Theater is one segment in a host of changes. The last two weeks have been quite similar to the beginning of my trip around the world a little more than a year ago. It's been me alone again with absolute strangers...something I particularly enjoy but only recently came to fully appreciate. It's difficult to explain. For the most part it's about fulfilling the words that Ed spoke so long ago. It's also about reaching out in numerous ways to find and effect change.

People are fascinating. One thing is certain...wherever people are involved, anything is possible. It's hard to say if I think I've been surprised by the events of these two weeks. My general nature is such that I often expect the unexpected, so in that sense one could say I'm not surprised. At the same time, much of what has transpired, I didn't fully anticipate, although in hindsight it fits my perceptions of the nature of people and the world we inhabit.

Strangely enough, I've always liked politics, although not simply because I'm singularly interested in political matters. Actually, the political arena may be the single best place to watch and learn about people. Few other topics stir as much passion as politics and religion. I mention religion primarily because it has seemingly become an integral part of politics in recent years. For me, it seems a rather difficult and dangerous marriage.

As I've found myself in conversations at numerous blogs this past two weeks, some interesting, if not troubling, patterns have emerged. Conventional thinking is that the internet allows people to breech the divide of distance in order to share ideas and observations. To a degree that is true. However, I see much of this new "communication" being less about communicating and more about contentious attacks. Most fascinating is the fact that this behavior takes place at sites where one would expect more consensus than conflict and yet the opposite is just as likely.

It's not uncommon to find a Democrat denigrating another Democrat or a Republican insulting another Republican. There is little cohesion to be found in either camp. The notion of the collective body politic has seemingly been reduced to everybody is their own singular body politic.

Two particular "discussions" come to mind; one about Howard Dean and one about Joe Biden. Granted, I have opinions about both men but these two discussions were primarily nothing more than toss downs. If anger were an odor, I would have had to move away from my computer screen. During the discussion, I inserted what were primarily balanced observations about both men. I was ignored. The conversations could not be moved beyond polarization.

Much like my trip around the world, my travels on the internet bring me to similar conclusions. I'm reminded of a play I saw in New York in the early nineties, Angels in America. The play encapsulates the events at the end of the twentieth century into a prelude about the choices of the coming century. The play heralds the arrival of a new order, a new awareness, and a new politic. The message is one of hope and anticipation for the approaching millennium despite the many issues plaguing the world at the time.

Sadly, little of Kushner's vision has materialized some six years into this new century. Dreams of new alliances have been met by growing fractures. Hopes of a collective spirit have been dashed by partisan rhetoric. The promise of technology has brought us nearer to each other though certainly not closer. Though we are some ten plus years beyond Kushner's dream, we are seemingly closer to Orwell’s imagined vision of some ten years prior.

Two weeks later and my passion for humanity is no worse for the wear. The task likely exceeds my prior perceptions. Each day brings us new possibilities and new opportunities to effect change. Like the metaphorical tree, we must each reach beyond the ground upon which we stand. If these connections we call the internet are to become a new web of interconnected roots whereby we all share in the waters that are our collective destiny, then we mustn't pollute the place from which it flows. Each of us must seek out change. Two weeks later and my expectations must grow accordingly. The millennium approaches. I'm hopeful we still have ninety-four years.

Daniel DiRito | April 14, 2006 | 10:16 AM | link | Comments (0)
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April 1, 2006

Welcome! (Update) genre: Indie-Script

Thought Theater went live on March 31st. If this is your first visit, it may be helpful to read the next posting first. If this is a follow up visit, let me say thanks for coming back. I thought it might be beneficial to give readers some idea of what to expect in the next few days.

I have an abundance of additional material to post but I wanted to give visitors some time to view the material that is already on the site. Reading some of this existing material will give you a broader sense of my thoughts and provide some background perspective for future postings. Additionally, I would like to give readers some time to comment on the existing material and hopefully allow for some back and forth discussion. I really do want Thought Theater to be a place for an exchange of thoughts...not simply a platform for me to air unchallenged and untested observations.

I also want to thank the many readers who have sent emails subsequent to visiting. Your words of encouragement are invaluable and greatly appreciated. At the same time, please don't hesitate to make your comments here on the site...both positive and negative are encouraged. Once again, welcome to Thought Theater!

Daniel DiRito | April 1, 2006 | 5:17 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Welcome! genre: Indie-Script

Bringing Thought Theater to life has been a long but rewarding undertaking. It's been both a time of anticipation and doubt but it has always been a labor of love. While I've never personally experienced the process a parent goes through, from the beginning of a pregnancy until the arrival of a beautiful living breathing child, my journey to this moment seems a fitting analogy. Like all parents, I think my child is beautiful, knowing full well such ethereal notions are biased and subjective. There's a Seinfeld episode that offers a comical looks at this parental phenomenon, but in many ways, it does explain the concept of unconditional love. My newborn may take a while to get it's footing, but I'll be honored and excited to sit back and watch it grow.

There's a standing razzing that takes place amongst my closest friends whereby we each accuse the other, in endearing jest of course, of having something to say. However, setting aside all the kidding, it's clear to me that the truth beneath the surface is that everyone simply wants to be heard and acknowledged. For me, that understanding is what directs my approach to the world...a constant search for the truth that so often sits below the surface...looking for it's chance to emerge...hoping it will be accepted. I've long wanted to find a means to share my many thoughts regardless of whether they be good, bad, or insignificant. The emergence of the internet provides that opportunity. The internet's impact has yet to be fully comprehended and it's magnitude has yet to be fully felt. I'm grateful I can participate.

I look forward to sharing my thoughts while also hearing and acknowledging yours. I chose the name Thought Theater because truth...like theater often waits behind a curtain...it exists but it is often unknown until the curtain is drawn...and it is only exposed when it is acted out on life's stage...fully illuminated by the light of thought. Participating in thought has but one risk...truth. I hope you'll join me. Welcome to Thought Theater!

Daniel DiRito | April 1, 2006 | 11:48 AM | link | Comments (0)
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