Monthly Archives: June 2006

I wana be like John Lennon

(This image is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.)

On my last day of high school my art teacher asked us all what we wanted to do next. I said I wanted to grow my hair long like John Lennon. No this wasn’t the 1970’s it was 1989.

I learned about The Beatles after the death of John Lennon. When I saw the news video with people putting flowers near where he was shot I asked my dad, “Who are The Beatles?”. I don’t remember what he said but I do remember him reminding me of this moment later. In a few months I had every Beatles record and listened to their music non-stop. I think my mom was rather infuriated. She was more of a Perry Como fan.

I share this with you to explain how influential John Lennon has been to me. Just thinking about him brings tears to my eyes. Its like thinking about the very energy that transformed you. His messages of peace and love set me free.

Lennon’s music and messages, especially post-Beatles, helped me escape the oppressive conservatism of suburban Richmond, Virginia. Not a physical escape per say more of a “Free your mind and your ass will follow” type of escape. (Though with-in days of saying I wanted to be like Lennon I left home and went to art school in the city.)

I’m sure this story is not unique. I have heard so many heartfelt testimonials about how important John Lennon was to people. So when they make a movie about the man I’m intrigued but skeptical. Especially when a promotions company e-mails me to solicit a blog post on AudioActivism.org.

But today I finally saw the trailer for the movie The US vs John Lennon. My first concern was some movie producer was taking advantage of Mr. Lennon’s memory. I wondered what Yoko Ono’s involvement in this project was. Funny how you can become protective of a man you’ve never have met. Maybe I’m feeling protective of the ideals that we share.

The topic of the movie is the drama surrounding John Lennon’s anti-war protest activities and the US government’s attempt at deporting him. The movie fact sheet says, “…provocative look at John Lennon’s transformation from beloved musical artist to anti-war activist to iconic inspiration for peace that also reveals the true story of why and how the U.S. Government tried to silence him. The film will also show that this was not just an isolated episode in American history but that the issues and struggles of that era remain relevant today.”

If this movie makes it to a theater near me I’ll go see it and report back here. Until then think about how Richard Nixon and George W. Bush represent the same empire building hate.

Anarchist Chef

Marc Powell is an anarchist who hacks gourmet food. I haven’t eaten anything he’s made but the guy is smart with lots of energy. Bound to be a good combo for a chef. I know for a fact he knows his code and anarchism values. He called tonight about a tour he’s setting up. He’s taking his high speed blenders, vacuum cookers, steam baths, centrifuges, and who knows what else to a kitchen near you. Details may follow.

Read more about this on MakeZine, NPR, and foodhacking.com. Molecular Gastronomy hasn’t seen anything this cool I am sure!

Q: What in the hell is Molecular Gastronomy?

A: Molecular gastronomy is the application of science to cooking methods.

Digg Politics

Digg Politics Today Digg.com launched version 3 of their website. Digg is a regularly changing collection of links and comments about online stories submitted by users. A multi author blog of sorts. Users can Digg (vote) the stories. The number of diggs is updated on the fly right before your eyes. The most dugg stories get sent to the front page.

Digg seems to be a working example of distributed journalism or maybe distributed front page editing. It has been enormously popular among techies. In a few months its surpassed the famous SlashDot in the number of hits it receives.

Vesion 3 brings many changes. Among them a spiffy new user interface, more profile customizing, lots of stats, and there are several new topics. I’m most interested in the new World News and Politics topics. So much so I’ve put a dynamic feed to Digg Politics on my side bar. I believe this event has HUGE implications in the world of journalism and politics. One more step towards a more democratic media. I hope…

Update As of today you need to be a Digg user to see the new topics. Sign up and give it a shot. 🙂

Change is Good

Welcome to Yesh.com. You might have come here in the past to look at the design “Portfolio of Brian C. Russell”. Well that’s still around. Its just over here now.

This is still the home of Brian C. Russell. Fact is I’ve had many online homes. Too many at this point to even list. Seriously. But here is a bit of info about this particular transition in my life.

From October 2004 to July 2006 I blogged over at AudioActivism.org. It has been more popular than I ever could have imagined. Not as big as some but still amazing to me. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to communicate with people from all over the world. But mostly my reach as been because of audio podcasting.

I set out to interview activists and tell people about online activism tools. My tag line was (is) “Meta data about media activism”. I made a ton of audio files and share them via my RSS feed. You can still listen to them here.

Another part of AudioActivism.org that is popular and useful is the tutorials section. I wrote Podcasting Tutorial & Intro, How to Pocast with WordPress 1.5, HowTo Create a interview Podcast on the Cheap, DIY Radio: Or how I learned to stop worrying about the media and start podcasting, and more. I’m very proud of these writings. They aren’t going any where right now and I hope they continue to be useful to people.

Thanks to many factors I found that AudioActivism.org has amazing google juice. This is the ability to blog about something and see it as one of the top five hits in a Google search. Because I wrote about social justice issues and other progressive topics I was able to demonstrate the power of blogging and podcasting for communicating ideas to millions with few resources. I hope this has inspired people to blog and podcast so they can create positive change in the world. I can only hope I’ve been able to accomplish this. Sometimes its hard to measure or define success.

As you can probably tell I’m changing my home for blogging, and maybe podcasting. The main reason is I want to keep it personal. It other words all over the place. That’s how I think.

AudioActivism.org is a site with a mission. As it turns out its mission became rather focused. But because it was also my personal blog I wrote about stuff that was pretty diverse in subject matter. I became concerned it was too diverse. I hope AudioActivism.org can become better at its original mission of politically leftist media. I have some ideas for its future. We’ll see how it goes. I don’t want to abandon it completely.

So here I am. The ‘I’ part is important. Yesh.com is about me, Brian C. Russell. I have A LOT of interest. They ebb and flow. My life is changing a ton right now. Moving to another blog is only one. So if you want to keep up with what I think this is THE place to do it. My goal is make this a blog by an expert who really likes helping people.