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  • A. I. Sajib 7:14 am on 12/17/2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Hi all!

     
  • A. I. Sajib 7:14 am on 12/17/2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Can I write here? 

    Just checking out if I can.

     
  • John Gallino 1:10 am on 11/03/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , shoot the freak   

    We’re Moving! 

    That’s right! Earlier than I ever anticipated, fate has forced me to take this blog to the next level. All future posts will be at our new domain: WeShootTheFreak.com

    See you there! And don’t come back here!

     
  • Meg N. Vitale 9:29 pm on 11/02/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: This I Believe   

    Rocking Chair Logic 

    The following is titled “I didn’t wash my car last month” and it was submitted by a Jeff from Columbia, Maryland on April 28, 2006. It is a part of This I Believe, which describes itself as “an international project engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives”.  It’s based off of a radio series in the ’50s. It’s really interesting to see how different people see the world. Some of them seem trivial, while others seem to tackle some heavier topics. However, although these essays are brief, each and everyone of them has a point that really touches upon what they think.

    And now, without further ado,  Jeff’s story:

     

    I have something shocking to tell you. Are you sitting down? Brace yourself. Are you ready? Here goes.

    I didn’t wash my car last month.

    Isn’t that awful? What’s worse is this: I don’t intend to wash it this month either. Isn’t that terrible?

    Washing my car is one of the things I don’t do because it doesn’t pass my rocking chair test. When I’m an old man sitting in my rocking chair looking back at my life, I’m not going to be saying “Gee I wish I’d spent more time washing my car. If I’d only scrubbed those whitewalls a little more often, I could have had a really happy life.”

    Applying my rocking chair test keeps me from doing a whole host of wasteful things from dusting furniture to holding a grudge to eating spinach. It also keeps me from doing some really stupid things. I know I’m not going to be sitting in my rocking chair thinking “I wish I’d snorted coke”

    Of course it’s not always that simple. Take television. It’s not likely I’ll be sitting in my rocking chair thinking “I wish I’d watched more television.” However I might be thinking “I wish I had relaxed more” and watching television is a form of relaxation.

    Even trickier is reading. Will I be sitting in my rocking chair wishing I had read more? Or will I have wished I’d spent less time reading and more time experiencing things firsthand? Tough call.

    The best thing my rocking chair test does is to remind me that it’s better to do than to own. I may be in my rocking chair wishing I had taken more trips, gone to more ballgames, attended more concerts. It’s not likely that I’ll be thinking “Gee I wish I’d bought a bigger house and a fancier car”

    I’ve made this essay personal because the rocking chair test is personal. Thinks that flunk my rocking chair test may pass yours with flying colors and vice versa. But there’s one thing I suspect is true for all of us.

    That rocking chair is closer than we think.

    Check out  This I Believe for other personal stories and essays. Some of them are pretty unique and they may give you some perspective on life. It’s almost like being able to see through other people’s eyes, if only for that brief moment on one particular idea.

     
  • John Gallino 12:29 pm on 11/02/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blogging, SEO, tips, wordpress, writing   

    5 tips for better blogging 

    Blogging 101I am a newbie to the blogging world, but it has become my new favorite passion. And I’m the type of person that dives headfirst into his passions and learns as much as he can about them so as to get moving right away. So with that in mind I thought I’d mention some of the things I’ve learned about writing good blog posts.

    Disclaimer: This is only my 65th post or so, and my blog gets a measily 20 or so hits a day on average, but hopefully that will change if I continue the following practices.

    1. First and foremost, put yourself in the mind of the reader. What do you NOT want to hear about? You probably don’t want to hear about someone’s complaints about their kids or their cats or their accountant UNLESS there is something in the story that can benefit you. The one thing I think people want most from a blog post is a little kernel of knowledge that they can take with them. That’s why in almost every post I write, I try my best to tie in something that I don’t think most of my audience knows about. People will keep feeling satisfied and (hopefully) coming back if you teach them something new every time. It doesn’t have to be a fact, a recipe, or a how-to lesson. It can simply be a new way of thinking about an issue, or a connection to something else that may be of interest. In my last post I connected The Rally to Restore Sanity (something thousands of people have probably blogged about) with Dave Chappelle’s appearance on Inside the Actor’s Studio. This not only is a new take on the issue, but connects people to another piece of media they might not have been exposed to otherwise.

    2. Value-added content. This is a journalism term that refers to the extra things you can put in your article to make it more than a wall of text. Nobody wants to read a wall of text. You should include at least one relevant picture in every blog post. It’s inviting and sets a tempo for the post. Because we’re on the internet and not a newspaper, you can take this further by embedding youtube videos or linking right in the text. If I mention something obscure in a post, I will usually link to its wikipedia page (set to open in a new window) in case a reader wants to know more about it.

    3. Tags. I realized recently that when I first started this blog, I was using tags incorrectly. I was tagging my posts with vague umbrella terms like “blog” or “project”. This is what Categories are for. Categories will enable a visitor to your blog to find older posts of yours in the same vein to the one they’re reading. Tags, on the other hand, should be much more specific. Tags are the keywords that people will search for that lead them to your post. For my recent post about the Rally, I tagged it with “Rally to Restore Sanity,” “Jon Stewart,” “Washington DC,” among others. I may never write about Washington DC again, but that doesn’t matter. Think of tags as the keywords people will search for that will take them to your post.

    4. Keep it broad. Tying in with #1, you should strive to write your posts in a way that is relatable to most people. Even if you’re writing about one specific incident that happened to you today, you should take it a step further and explore how it made you feel or what you think about a topic as a whole. There is a difference between facts and insight. I could go on Wikipedia for facts. Insight is your job.

    5. Make it easy to read! This is a key ergonomic issue many people ignore. People are used to reading articles in newspapers in magazines. Emulate that style. Capitalize when necessary. Use proper punctuation. Spellcheck. The stuff you learned in middle school. But that’s not all. If your post is exceedingly long, break it up into paragraphs. Organize your thoughts. Use bold for headings. Italics for movie and book titles. Use bulletts and numbered lists and soon a long tedious read seems much more manageable to get through. When you finish your post, go on your blog and see how it looks. See where it can be tightened up or where you could fit a picture or break up a paragraph. I usually edit every post three or four times immediately after it goes online. You should too.

     
  • John Gallino 1:12 am on 11/02/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , matty & bobby, , , projects, trailer   

    Matty & Bobby Update 

    The upcoming Our Lips Are Sealed film now has its own page. It includes a brand new teaser trailer, which I will also include here because I know you are a lazy bum.

    While we’re on the topic, I’d like to present a question. You see, I’m still quite hung up on the title of this damn thing. On the one hand, Our Lips are Sealed is beautiful, poetic and takes its name from Matty & Bobby’s own activist movement. On the other hand, Matty & Bobby Kiss is direct, eye-catching, and attention-grabbing.

     
  • John Gallino 1:03 am on 11/02/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: jon stewart, , reddit, stephen colbert, washington DC   

    Thoughts on the Rally 

    Ah, the Rally. To be quite honest I don’t have a whole lot to say about it. I can tell you that navigating around thousands of people is always frustrating – a lesson I learned at Obama’s inauguration last January. I can tell you that they really should’ve had more jumbotrons because myself and thousands of others couldn’t see a thing. I can tell you that I saw hundreds of signs, many of them quite funny (here are some of the best).

    But I can’t really tell you what it was about. Nobody really can. Especially not the media, as this article will explain (though I don’t really agree with its LOL! THE MEDIA IS STUPID! LOL! thesis). While some were there to celebrate American unity, others showed up to mock the Tea Party movement, while some people were just there advocating the legalization of pot.

    Yes, it was a hippy fest. Yes it was a leftist event, but I knew that going in. As a leftist myself, I didn’t mind. But I do find it a bit phony to pretend that its message was “Can’t we all just get along?”

    I’ll be the first to admit that the mainstream media sucks shit. It is indeed a machine of corporate interests and fear mongering intended only to cater to its niche audiences and shill products from its sponsors. I am all for the fight against sensationalist headlines and extremist analysts. That’s a cause I can support.

    However while I was at the rally I couldn’t help but feel slightly bothered by something.

    Back in 2005, one of my favorite comedians, Dave Chappelle, abandoned his television show in the height of its popularity and took a leave of absence in Africa. Rumors flew that he had a crack addiction or had just lost his mind. When he finally returned he was a guest on Inside the Actor’s Studio, where he described at length the circumstances that lead him to ditching a multi-million dollar deal.

    Anyway none of that is really relevant to the rally, but the following thing he said stuck with me.

    As much as I disagree with Sarah Palin and Glen Beck and most conservatives, I think to classify them as being downright insane may have been a little dismissive, as Dave said.

     
  • John Gallino 10:19 pm on 10/28/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , miniproject, ,   

    Shoot the Freak goes to The Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear 

    The Rally To Restore Sanity Tomorrow myself along with my friends Erik Gavilanes (who I’ve been trying to get to join StF for weeks) and Sean Valverde (who starred in my short Minor Transaction) will be meeting up with fellow team member Meg Vitale and together we will come back with…something.

    We don’t know what because very little is known about the rally even though it’s only two days away. The organizers have remained hush about the guest list, but we expect several awesome surprise guests will make an appearance. However, I can tell you that Erik and I plan to do lots of interviews with other rally attendants and hope to put together a short video in the spirit of the Daily Show’s correspondant pieces.

    Consider it a mini-project. As if I didn’t have enough stuff to edit already. Stay posted for updates.

     
  • Meg N. Vitale 7:02 pm on 10/28/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Mixed Messages and Twenty-Something Troubles 

    Dear World, Do you want us to become responsible go-getters, or would you rather still treat us like meddling kids? Make up your mind before you subject yourself to even more ranting posts from similarly frustrated college students.

    College is supposed to be a time where young adults take on more responsibility. Whether it’s working on time management skills, living away from home, and just dealing with how the world actually works, college is a time of learning. Advisors tell you to go out and get summer jobs, work on your resume, intern, and get some experience before you commit to real life. The advice is sound and students get their experience. But, it’s also a structured environment. They apply, interview, and either get the job or not. Not much variability in how it works out and being attached to some company does wonders for the getting in the door. However, when you are only a student trying to do something on your own, the results are not the same.

    As part of one of my classes, I am supposed to be writing a policy paper on an issue that affects adolescents. We were supposed to be working with a non-profit organization based in Trenton so that they could help us in developing the paper by putting us in touch with people and helping us get our foot in the door for certain elements of the research. The only stipulation was that our topic would have to be approved by them since they would be associated with the project, which is perfectly acceptable. Almost three weeks ago I emailed the lady who was supposed to be helping us requesting her approval of a topic we had chosen. I still haven’t heard back from her, but that’s not really the issue. I can admit to not following up. The issue is that we called the place twice after the lack of a response via email and have yet to actually be approved. While I can understand being busy, there is no excuse to go over a week without getting back to people who rely on your answer in order to move forward with a project. It’s really simple; you could just call us and tell us yes or no. We have deadlines, too, and the lack of respect for us really shines through. In addition to the lack of a response from them, we tried another place that might have been able to help us with the research. Although there was no one there that could help us at the time, they took a message down asking for their superior to call us. Nothing much from them either. However, maybe we aren’t being forceful enough. Maybe we need to be more annoying. Call and call and call until somebody gives us an answer. Maybe that’s the experience we need.

    This may just be a fluke case. Maybe us twenty-somethings are not pushed aside for better things, but I just find it ridiculous how they couldn’t take five minutes to call us back. It’s not like we wanted everything they had on the topic. All we needed was one word and it just wasn’t there. If this is the experience we should be getting, I’m not sure I want to even deal with it. Such a lack of respect for anything until it becomes a nuisance and you just have to deal with it. Not cool. At all.

     
    • John Gallino 7:16 pm on 10/28/2010 Permalink | Reply

      Unfortunately I don’t think this has anything to do with age. The cynic in me would tell you that people just normally treat each other like shit, and that most people just aren’t very good at their jobs usually because they don’t really like them. They put in just enough effort to keep their boss from getting on their backs because they can’t wait to go home and do stuff they actually enjoy. From my brief time working in an office setting, it’s common practice for people to have to call someone again and again, to the point of annoyance, just to get a simple response. I’ve even been guilty of it myself a few times, deciding that “If they really care they’ll ask again later.” but I realize how shitty that is and try to get back to everyone quickly. In fact that’s one simple thing that is suggested to improve any small business – get back to people with the information they want as soon as you can. In a world where no one else bothers to do that, it commands a great level of respect.

      • John Gallino 7:18 pm on 10/28/2010 Permalink | Reply

        On a lighter note however, you can take comfort in the fact that your realization of this lack of common courtesy and your devotion to not submitting to it will probably take you pretty far in life. Sometimes all you need to do to stick out from the crowd is not be an asshole.

  • John Gallino 6:19 pm on 10/28/2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , creativity porn, , , time management   

    There just ain’t no time… 

    No time left

    Lame stock photo to get you to read this post

    Yesterday I was thinking about how busy I seem to be, and how there’s just no time to do all that I want to do. I wish I was less busy doing this stuff so I had more time to do that stuff. It’s all rather ridiculous, but I’d be the first in line to vote for a 48 hour day.

    Anything that gets in the way is my enemy. Class is my enemy. Often sleep and eating meals are enemies. Things that slow me down and keep me from diving into things are my enemies. I can’t give my full attention to any one thing because I can’t allow other things to be neglected.

    For example, I’d really like to finish my screenplay that I started earlier this year and got halfway through. I do a lot of reading about screenwriting instead of actually writing. I write blog posts like this instead of actually writing because I’m an asshole. But if I ever were to actually sit down and try to write more of it, something in my head would go “Wait a second, aren’t you supposed to be editing those two documentaries? Don’t you have that paper to write due in two days? Did you finish color correcting that last bat mitzvah? And have you noticed you haven’t eaten in seven hours?”

    I’m not the kind of person with no hobbies and no major interests. I’m completely the opposite. If I could, I would learn to knit, I would read biographies of Thomas Jefferson, I’d cold call bands and ask them if they’d like me to make a music video of them, I’d go to those “blogger meetups” that occur sometimes and network with likeminded people, I’d do some freelance editing (whether a wedding video or a horror novel), I’d watch all 86 episodes of the Sopranos, I’d volunteer at animal shelters and learn to cook international cuisine.

    But fuck, man, there’s just no time for any of that. Seems like on the few days I don’t go to class, I wake up, make a sandwich, write a few blog posts and do some photo editing and the day is already gone.

    There’s no happy way to end this post, because it just sucks. But I will show you something that I would love to get into someday and learn to do. Music production. Watch the following two videos and see if you’re not inspired.

     
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