Category Archives: zen shit

monday media musings

tv_screensI work in media. For the past decade or so the powers that be were worried about online versus TV. Was online going to kill television the way television “killed” radio?  The way it “killed” the major record labels and newspapers? By “kill,” lets’ admit we mean “lessen the social and economic impact of.”  Sometimes less is more … but when billions of dollars are on the line, not so much.

As an industry, we focused more on the platforms than on audience behaviors. Our economic models are wrapped up in the platforms … but users don’t care. We just want what we want (I am counting myself among the users here). Mostly, we want options. Make it easy, make it simple, make it entertaining.

In the case of television, the question is not when and how online will “kill” TV … the question is how will people choose to watch their video?

… will they watch it live?
… will they watch it close to the original airdate? (hours, days months or years later?)
… or will they watch it on demand?

And how can we influence that decision? How can we incentivize people to pay attention when where and how we want them to?

The cable guys are all freaking out now because the chord cutting phenomenon is becoming real. People are deciding that they don’t need to spend $100+ a month to get a giant package of content when all they want is about 10% of what’s offered. Now people can cherrypick what they want through other means (Netflix, Hulu, and Boxee, etc.).

Broadcasters, who are the content engine of the entire ecosystem, are divided on what to do. They are fine with distributing online as long as they can monetize it meaningfully and not cannibalize their existing business. Cable chord cutting wouldn’t really bother them so much … except for the fact that the cable guys pay them retransmission fees. If the cable guys are hurting, then they have less guaranteed income to return to broadcasters. Guaranteed income = good. Uncertainty = bad.

It’s pretty complicated. If you care to read a bit more, this is a decent article.

socialsearch

Distribution matters aside, the intersection of search and social and video on demand is what’s very much on my brain at the mo. Today I signed up for a social search service called aardvark. It lets you tap into your social nets to ask questions and get answers from real people in real time.

For example, I am moving to the East Village on Friday and want to get  an idea of Yoga studios in the neighborhood. I posed the question and within less than a minute I had an AIM message with an answer. A good answer. I got an email a few hours later with more good answers. So now I have a list of Yoga Studios in the East Village provided by people who use and like them – not by the studios that paid the most for SEO.

Very Zen Col if you ask me.

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Stories I got stories.

heartcollageThey are all building up. Perhaps this coming personal phase will be an explosion of expression. When I blow this mofo out, well … head for the hills.

I was thinking about the film “Paper Heart.” I have not seen it yet … just saw the web site and clips* and I am intrigued. It is a faux documentary that pretends to be real. Understood … faux is faux but the marketing implies that it plays directly off reality. I’m getting all jumbled but if you know what I mean, you know what I mean. Sorta montage collage.

It might be fun, but then it might just be 1.5 hours of hipster bratties in their glasses and hoodies being too cool for school. I’ll reserve judgment. Any which way, I dig the concept and think the creators are badass for getting it done and putting it out there.

I have this theory, unoriginal for sure, that the next phase of entertainment will be organic stories where there is no casting, no fundraising or formal scriptwriting & showrunning. We’ll all be out there blogging, vlogging, tweet-upping and whatnot and the best part of creativity will occur where our experiences just collide. For some of us it will simply be life – not “work” per se. For others it will be the show. The ultimate manifestation of Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage.”

Now, this is already happening for sure. It’s called culture. But entertainment itself shall become less and less institutionalized. The formal, giant artificial machinery will keep giving way until the line is totally blurred. (This will be the progression with all large institutions, BTW). Like the JL quote I trip out, that anchors this here blog: “Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”

* I am irritated that Charlyne Yi did not interview any women comics or actors in the video clips on the official movie web site. What the frack?

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the path

kermitbikeclick. there goes another golf ball. i am typing from the back porch looking out on the grass, then the fairways, then the golfers, then the trees, then the clubhouse, then more trees for miles and miles, reaching up into hills that are mountains that keep going all the way to the bluewhite sky. rufus loves the wind on his face. he lets it blow as he holds his chin up proud …Mount Rufemore we call it.

I am cold. The kind of cold you get after doing a long, tough workout. I biked the Heritage Trail. Didn’t know anything about it in advance. I had seen a bunch of bikers entering the path near the pond where I run downtown. Decided to explore it all by my lonesome. I SPF’ed up and headed down there around 11 and didn’t get home til one. Lots of people around downtown. Walking dogs, having picnics, taking strolls.

The path wasn’t too crowded though. It is plenty wide, and hilly enough to be midly challenging but not a total kick in the ass. Things I passed by as I rode: cornfields brimming with corn, lakes, picturesque farm houses, a deserted factory. A deserted basketball court, complete with atrophying nets. A seemingly ancient cemetery on a hill in a remote part of the woods. Many hard core fit-freak bikers. Many, many Hasidim. Open fields galore. A run down old train on tracks that were overgrown with wild flowers. An old fashioned ice cream shop in a beautiful, semi-lifeless old town.

The ride back was faster. I was chasing the sun for a little. Clouds were spreading on the path ahead and I tried to chase the light, and I didn’t make it. It all went dark for a little and it looked even more beautiful. I was thinking of telling someone about the beauty. That’s the human impulse. It’s not enough to just be, to just take it in. I couldn’t wait to tell someone. To bring someone back with me. Or at least bring a camera. I did think about what it must have been like when Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Thoreau and all those Transcendental literary dudes like that were strolling around in this world, blown away by the beauty of it and wondering where we fit into the whole rigamarole, and writing about it.

It also made me think of a cool excerpt Jake sent along:

“Once more it is autumn, when the sunlight grows golden with the turning leaves and the air heavy with fruition and decay. Somewhere the grapes grow rich on the vine. The leaves of the red maple, whose color all summer anticipated the fall, grow tan. The golden leaves line the river bottom, setting the water aglow in the autumn sun. The forest dies and is renewed in the order of time; the sparkling river bears away grief. In the pained cherishing of that transient world, the human, the dweller between the embers and the stars, can raise it up to eternity. That is the task of humans. The moral sense of nature is that it can teach us to cherish time and to look to the eternity within it.”

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Zen Col Also Rises

greensunriseFolkies. This is a tale of hope. Or something like that. The return of Zen Col. Am I in the midst of crisis? Yes. Am I on the verge of the next big phase of my life but totes unsure which direction I’ll be headed in? Totes McGoats. But any which way I know I have everything I need and am right where I need to be. THAT, my fellow travelers, is Zen Col.

Last night after work I headed over to Yoga class. It was the first time I’ve been in ages. I’ve been running, yes. But not a significant amount. At all. And my body is just wasting away locked in an office building all day. I gave up my trainer months ago due to monetary constraints. And I am sans basic daily affection and attention. Yes, I still manage to dress it up good and look like a cutie pie. But my vitality-o-meter has been set on LOW… real low.

Last night, I reconnected in Yoga. I remembered why I did it and why I need to do it. It’s hard. It kinda sucks while you’re doing it at certain moments but at the end of it all, dang. It pays off. You realize that none of the stuff you obsess over all day really matters. You loosen up and become calm. You become patient. You become humble and grateful.

After class I headed back to my nabe, stopping off at STICK STONE BONE before heading to the apartment. I bought two new crystals: one for my Dad (Amethyst: Enhances spiritual awareness, mediation, balance, psychic abilities, inner peace, healing, positive transformation, and relieves stress. Brings understanding of death and rebirth. Unlocks spiritual, mystic, psychic wisdom. Very healing.) and one for me (Rose Quartz: Enhances all forms of love: platonic and romantic love, mother love, self love, and divine love. encourages tolerance and forgiveness. Opens our hearts and teaches us to be tender, peaceful, and gentle. Emanates unconditional love and helps us to attract love). Then I went home, packed myself up, packed up the Rufe, set Aretha up and headed on my merry way to Monroe. No traffic on Route 17 that time of night. We cruised.

I am working from my parents’ house on Fridays through the illness or at least until I can get a better handle on things. I was pleased to find that Dad is comfy and doing OK. He has started eating more than he had before our final hospital emergency trip. The realization that the end is nigh must have reawakened his appetite. He is still walking and still has a good grasp on what’s going on. Mostly it’s the short-term memory that’s going. He sleeps an amazing amount. He’s always been a nappy guy but now it’s like 70% of the time.

I get good thinking done when I am not trapped in the box. I love my colleagues, I love my workplace but the notion that your ass should be in the chair from 9-5 Monday through Friday is truly ancient. Fortunately, I am in a flexible place where my honchos understand that solid creative people who have proven themselves time and time again should be given latitude rather than treated like wards of the state.

With me here to man the fort, my Mom was able to do some errands and meet a friend for lunch. As noted, I got a lot of reading and very good thinking done. To reward myself at the end of the day, I looked into local Yoga classes. To my surprise there is a Yoga mecca less than one mile away from my parents’ house. All these years – how many times did I drive by without knowing or seeing? A very substantial place I might have traveled to anyway had it not been down the road from my parents. Sometimes you overlook great things, people or places that are right under your nose.

Turns out I attended the best Yoga class of my life. Better than the Yoga classes on the beach in Mexico? Yes. Because the teacher was hilarious! It was pure comedy start to finish. Now, it was a physically challenging class for sure. But the teacher was hell bent on making us ENJOY the work while we were doing it. He said that the Yoga field has taken itself too seriously and he aims to change it. His philosophy: if you are supposed to practice Yoga for the rest of your life, why not have some fun with it? His nickname for me was “Quiet Mystery Woman in the Corner” He repeatedly made lighthearted reference to what he called “my quietly intense presence,” and compared me to a Shaman, walking silently though the jungle, noticing all even as no one can see me. I laughed along with him and my classmates. He was doing all kinds of crazy voices and impersonations.

I came home after a nice long workout and dined with my parents. Then I took a long, hot bath, and here I am typing this with wet hair as the thunder bellows outside and Rufus chomps on a rawhide. Tomorrow I shall go on an early run downtown and head over to an acupuncture appointment. One of the cool things about spending all this time at my folks’ place is discovering the truly unique area. Nature abounds, as do natural treatments, stores and vibes. It’s very hippy dippy. SO not my parents’ steez … much more my steez. Yoga, dogs, unfettered space to think, breathe and dream = Zen Col  heaven.

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Q.O.T.D.

We learn as much from sorrow as from joy, as much from illness as from health, from handicap as from advantage – and indeed perhaps more.
–Pearl S. Buck

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currently accepting applications

llcoljfor the last 8 or so months… perhaps longer than that,  i’ve been preoccupied with the death of a close friend, my dad’s ongoing illness, work/economic worries, and other personal crises such as abruptly losing my home  and coming to terms with the painful end of a long-term relationship. a lot of heavy stuff in a really short period of time.

normal things that energize and challenge me… like routine exercise and dating … more or less fell to the wayside as i focused a large amount of my time on other matters like moving, helping out at home, and grieving.  all things considered i believe i’ve held it together pretty well. and now i am getting ready to crawl out of that dark cave i’ve been cocooning in. as part of that effort, i posted a profile online. it’s something i’ve done off and on over the years. never with a winning result, though i have gone on a lot of dates and met some nice people. mostly it’s good for shifting my mind into OPEN mode. like the white light on the top of the taxi saying, “yeah, i’m available.”

for YOUR consideration, here is what i posted in my profile … tell me what you think, please! Continue reading

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letting go

The trade-off for not feeling lonely and being close to others is that on occasion, some of those people, a small minority of them, will fail us. Some people that we think well of will let us down. And some times in a few very rare instances, that connection to that trusted person will be irreparable. This price is worth it though when we look around at all the people we have trusted and loved and can appreciate how full and rich our lives are as a result of those people.

And there is one additional bright side to betrayal as well: it opens the way for us to make room for others who will come into our lives some time down the road. I think of it as clearing out the cobwebs, getting my priorities back in line. We no longer need to invest in someone who disappointed us – we can just let them go.
And there’s always Joan Jett’s take:

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