On May 4, 2010 there was a storm that whipped through Western Massachusetts. It knocked out power to many places in the area. This video was shot in Sunderland, MA, where these types of storms are frequent in the summer.
Sugarloaf Moutain and the surrounding area is a place of sometimes turbulent, strange weather. The Native American name for the mountain is Wequamps, and is a place of myth: it’s supposed to be body of a giant, human devouring beaver who lived in the former glacial Lake Hitchcock (now the Connecticut River).
One thing about WordPress drives me crazy: people that don’t change important default settings when they set up a new blog. Here are the 2 most common settings people forget to change: user display name and the tag line “Just Another WordPress Blog”.
Photo by karola riegler photography and republished here under a Creative Commons license.
You can find a lot of tutorials on how to create watermarks in iMovie ’09. Most of the tutorials require you to use an alpha image (transparency) like a png or gif file. My method is quick and easy, and doesn’t require creating an image.
Watch how you can create a quick watermark for your video in iMovie ’09:
In 1992 I made this 30 minute documentary about federal tax resisters in Western Massachusetts. The event precipitating the video was the arrest for nonpayment of taxesÂ by US Marshals and IRS agents of Randy Kehler on December 3, 1991. Kehler, his wife Betsy Corner and daughter, had been living in their house since 1989 when the IRS seized it.
Path of Greatest Resistance: tax resistance in Western Massachusetts, Â tries to understand the motivations of a variety of tax resisters that lived in Western Mass. along with Kehler and Corner. In addition to Kehler, featured in the video are Andrea Ayvazian, Wally Nelson, Brayton Shanley, among others.
Looking back at the video, it holds up pretty well (only the first 4 minutes make me cringe). Of course the quality isn’t up to today’s digital standards, but I think the story is still a compelling one. There are some interviews where the video is dark. Believe it or not, at the time both the Shanley’s and Wally Nelson were homesteaders — that is, they were living without electricity, so our recording was done with battery power and no extra lights.
The video is from a VHS transfer, pre-digital recording or editing. I’ve remastered the audio and created new title and credit sequences. Otherwise, the video is as it was in 1992.
Emily Harding-Morick was my primary collaborator on this project, and deserves much credit for helping me make the documentary a reality.
I was doing my regular walk in Sunderland, MA, when I came upon what I thought was a nut fishing in a drainage ditch. Turns out she wasn’t a nut at all, but a graduate student from the University of Massachusetts Amherst doing research. This drainage ditch/brook overflows often, so Colleen Samson’s thesis project is to better understand the water flow. She’ll present her findings to the town, who may then fix the ditch.
I needed to get a VHS tape transfered to DVD for a project you’ll see on this site soon. By word of mouth (Twitter, really) I found Memory Magic, a local business that provides all kinds of digital transfer services. The interesting thing about Memory Magic is that they’re run as a social enterprise by a human services agency to provide employment for people with mental disabilities.
The work they did for me is topnotch. Actually, it was better than I expected, and I probably would have paid twice the price without batting an eye. Plus, you can’t beat the mission.
Here’s a little story about this business.
Asparagus is going to start popping soon in the Pioneer Valley. But what does it look like before you buy it at your local farm stand? Check out the video.
Also, did you know that a popular movie and book begins its narrative in Western Mass? The Mosquito Coast, written by Paul Theroux (then made into a movie starring Harrison Ford) begins in Hatfield, MA, with the local asparagus growing and picking culture as a backdrop.
Photo (CC) by surfma
I’ve been thinking about doing a daily video podcast for a while now, inspired by two different people: ZeFrank (very popular daily video before people were really doing such things) and David Lynch (his daily [kind of] weather report).
I now present to you, Farm Report. Why Farm Report? I live on a farm. They’re interesting because it’s a natural food factory.
In addition to farming I’ll probably report on other experiences, but rather than confuse the hell out of you by creating a different show for each of my interests, let’s call this Farm Report.
If you’re interested, 3 tools are being used to create Farm Report: a Kodak Zi8 HD Pocket Video Camera, a Sima video light, and an Audio Technica lavalier microphone.
Enjoy and leave a comment with suggestions.
Last week I interviewed Jennifer 8. Lee about Chinese take-out food after she was finished with her speaking engagement at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She’s a former metro reporter for the New York Times who took a buy out package in late 2009, and now she’s doing freelance writing.
Lee has a passion for Chinese food. Her talk at UMass to the 5 College Pan Asian Network was a take on her book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food. But her interest isn’t just about Chinese food in the United States; I guess you might call it the political economy, or cultural history of Chinese food in the U.S..
One thing I didn’t know before talking to Lee is that to find an authentic Chinese food restaurant, not an Americanized version, look on the menu for lamb dishes. If a Chinese menu includes lamb dishes, it’s most likely serious about cooking for Chinese people.