PUTTING THE “I” IN TEAM

I considered myself a good team player until I did a recent video team project.   I may be a closet control freak.

When assigned a Multimedia Reporting team project, I assumed we were all on the same page, shared the vision of the assignment, and it was going to be great.  Hmm.

1)  Enthusiasm is no substitute for a cohesive plan.  Team projects are like playing telephone – things get lost in translation.  Shooting scripts and other bits of paperwork keep people and projects on task.  Investing five minutes to type an outline with specific questions to ask, shots and coverage to get saves heartache in post, and insures a better grade.

2)  Cell phone video is…  Cell phones are NOT video cameras.  We all shoot video with cell phones, but sometimes we forget to turn the darned thing sideways.  In our excitement, we do not pay attention to details.  I should invent an app that prompts to turn the phone horizontal in video mode.  Until then, stop, take a breath, and make sure the phone is shooting video in horizontal format.  Did I mention cell phone video is shaky?  I’m buying a cell phone tripod today.

3)  Cell phone audio is…  I video taped my project expert using a cell phone and a pro digital audio recorder.  Big deal – there is no time to replace audio in post!  Our projects are quick and dirty, in a clean sort of way.  The best plan: use a video camera with external microphone.  Double check your audio before the interview to make sure you have sound on tape.

4)  All editing is not equal.  I’ve done fast and furious audio/video editing for money and I love it!  Tag team editing is ineffective.  If someone has never edited, they don’t really learn, and if you’re up against deadlines, it makes things more stressful.  I would rather have two video projects where we switch off in sub teams.  That gives everyone a chance to work the full project and provides time to teach someone new to editing why it is so much fun.

5)  iMovie will bite the hand that edits.  Trust me – do a few edits and close out so the software can keep up.  Better to close than to lose it all when the system RAM overloads and shuts down.  I hate that.

6)  Silence is golden.  Without an amazing library of jingles and music drops, skipping the musical interlude may be the better part of valor.

I had a great time with my team, aside from technical issues.  Now that I know the lay of the land, I’m prepared to be an I-ncredible team member for the next round!

DO PEOPLE DO THIS AT HOME?

WARNING – GRAPHIC IMAGES!

I admit it – I am a clean freak.  I’m not Felix Unger freakish, but I love clean things, especially clean public restrooms.  What I encountered at a Cerritos College Learning Center restroom was an offense to my senses, and plain old common sense.  I was so physically disgusted that I loudly remarked to anyone within earshot, “Really?  Do people do this at home?!”

I have been at Cerritos College since January and I am impressed with the cleanliness of the entire campus, especially the restrooms.  When I saw two stuffed toilets, Starbucks cups, trash, and toilet tissue on the floor, I was shocked.  However, when I closed the door of the lone, semi clean stall, I knew strangers had been in our house.  The back of the normally clean door was covered with a juvenile missive in bright red ink, complete with graphic.

The amount of spent hand towel paper on the floor usually tends to increase at noon, causing me to wonder why people cannot pick up what they just dropped.  I also wonder what the heck their house looks like.  I have adjusted to this, but when I saw the other, I went looking for a possible source of the interlopers who trashed our territory.

I didn’t have to look far.  Opposite the restroom is the first floor Teleconference Center.  On the glass door was a sign: New Student Orientation – Here.  A young female student helping facilitate the event informed me that there were high school students on campus.  I told her that I suspected they had trashed the restroom and escorted her across the hallway to show her why my knickers were in such a twist.  She was visibly disgusted.  With a grimace on her face and intent in her walk, the young woman stomped down the hallway in search of a facilities person to help restore normalcy to our world.

I walked home that afternoon trusting that someone would give those high school animals a good talking to about respecting the property of others, and behaving like ladies at all times, in all places.  My work there was done.

 

A picture is worth a thousand words so here are a few thousand words more.

 

Cerritos College Learning Resource Center.  April 24, 2014.  Norwalk, Calif.

Cerritos College – Wilton Michael Library. April 24, 2014. Norwalk, Calif.

 

 

Cerritos College - Wilton Michael Library and Learning Resource Center restroom.  April 24, 2014.  Norwalk, Caif.  (Samii Taylor)

Cerritos College – Wilton Michael Library, first floor restroom. April 24, 2014. Norwalk, Calif. (Samii Taylor)

 

Cerritos College - Wilton Michael Library and Learning Resource Center restroom.  Toilets are stuffed with trash, paper and Starbucks cups are discarded on floors.  April 24, 2014.  Norwalk, Caif.  (Samii Taylor)

Cerritos College – Wilton Michael Library, first floor restroom. Toilets are stuffed with trash, paper and Starbucks cups are discarded on floors. April 24, 2014. Norwalk, Calif. (Samii Taylor)

Cerritos College - Wilton Michael Library and Learning Resource Center restroom.  Text has been scratched into wall tiles.  April 24, 2014.  Norwalk, Caif.  (Samii Taylor)

Cerritos College – Wilton Michael Library, first floor restroom. Text has been scratched into wall tiles. April 24, 2014. Norwalk, Calif. (Samii Taylor)

 

Cerritos College - Wilton Michael Library and Learning Resource Center restroom.  Graffiti scrawled onto the back of a stall door with red Sharpie.  April 24, 2014.  Norwalk, Caif.  (Samii Taylor)

Cerritos College – Wilton Michael Library, first floor restroom. Graffiti scrawled onto the back of a stall door with red Sharpie. April 24, 2014. Norwalk, Calif. (Samii Taylor)

Cerritos College - Wilton Michael Library and Learning Resource Center restroom.  The Teleconference Center is opposite first floor restrooms.  April 24, 2014.  Norwalk, Caif.  (Samii Taylor)

Cerritos College – Wilton Michael Library and Learning Resource Center. The Teleconference Center is opposite first floor restrooms. April 24, 2014. Norwalk, Calif. (Samii Taylor)

NEW STUDENT ORIN

Cerritos College – Wilton Michael Library and Learning Resource Center. First floor Teleconference Center hosted New Student Orientation. April 24, 2014. Norwalk, Calif. (Samii Taylor)

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEHIND THE WHEEL Are You Distracted?

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  Students from Cerritos College admitted to driving while texting, eating and searching for the perfect iPod beat.  Not everyone had an accident, but they knew someone who did.  Even Det. Carl Anna from Norwalk Sheriff Department has reached for that pesky cell phone or turned to correct his kids.  Distractions that affect drivers range from riding with Fluffy on their lap to reaching into the back seat to check a pizza receipt.   Angela Hoppe-Nagao provided stats on the emotional aspects of the worst driving distraction – road rage.  Her advice is to not take the mistakes of other drivers so personally.  “You never know what the other person is going through.”

Someplace That’s Green

As I was wandering the Cerritos College campus during my break between classes recently, I came across a flower bed with some of the most beautiful Birds of Paradise that I have seen in a long time.  I was so struck by their brilliance and beauty that I spent the next hour roaming around campus finding beautiful little niches of green and splashes of color.

I confess, I thought the campus was pretty dull looking until I saw the variety of flora on display.  Daniel Becerra from Facilities said that Cerritos College maintains a wide variety of trimmed shrubs, well-manicured grass, rock gardens, desert plants, and an assortment of shade and sun plantings tucked away in little areas around the campus.  Caring for the greenery is a full time job.

When I finished my photo safari, I was refreshed and mentally revived.  That is the gift nature gives us every day.  Trees and flowers live to not only purify our air and provide oxygen for us, they offer us free beauty.  Most people probably never even notice the beautiful growing things in their path every day.  Maybe I can change that with a few photos.

A wide expanse of well manicured grass provides a refreshing green belt on the quad between the Athletic Department buildings and the newly renovated gymnasium at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

A wide expanse of well manicured grass provides a refreshing green belt on the quad between the Athletic Department buildings and the newly renovated gymnasium at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

 

This beauty keeps its branches low for sitting on, but he branches reach skyward to provide cool shade on a sunny day.

This beauty keeps its branches low for sitting on, but he branches reach skyward to provide cool shade on a sunny day.

A large rock resembles the shape of a Golden Grizzly, the California state animal, in a rock bed outside the library at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

A large rock resembles the shape of a Golden Grizzly, the California state animal, in a rock bed outside the library at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

Outside the Student Center dining area, a tree with a split trunk offers shade on a sunny day at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

Outside the Student Center dining area, a tree with a split trunk offers shade on a sunny day at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

A large rock resembles the shape of a Golden Grizzly, the California state animal, in a rock bed outside the library at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

A large rock resembles the shape of a Golden Grizzly, the California state animal, in a rock bed outside the library at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

A spent flower is poised for the perfect moment to shed its seeds and start life all over again at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

A spent flower is poised for the perfect moment to shed its seeds and start life all over again at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

The planter bed around the water feature in the middle of the Quad is bursting with color at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

The planter bed around the water feature in the middle of the Quad is bursting with color at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

The variegated Mock Orange bushes outside of the Student Center are kept well manicured at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

The variegated Mock Orange bushes outside of the Student Center are kept well manicured at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

Sword ferns about to drop the last of their bright red berries in a flower bed at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

Sword ferns about to drop the last of their bright red berries in a flower bed at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

A gnarled tree trunk offers tone and texture, light and shadow to students passing by at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

A gnarled tree trunk offers tone and texture, light and shadow to students passing by at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

Late season camellias are in full bloom at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

Late season camellias are in full bloom at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

Delicate red, feather-like flowers offer tasty sweetness to bees and humming birds on campus at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

Delicate red, feather-like flowers offer tasty sweetness to bees and humming birds on campus at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

Giant Birds of Paradise make a bold display on either side of the walkway of the Athletic Department at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

Giant Birds of Paradise make a bold display on either side of the walkway of the Athletic Department at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

A tree trunk grows sideways, offering it's rugged beauty for all to see behind the Student Center at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

A tree trunk grows sideways, offering it’s rugged beauty for all to see behind the Student Center at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

A large alligator lizard pauses to express his annoyance at being disturbed while sunbathing on the steps of the Student Center at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014.  (Samii Taylor)

A large alligator lizard pauses to express his annoyance at being disturbed while sunbathing on the steps of the Student Center at Cerritos College, Norwalk, Calif., April 15, 2014. (Samii Taylor)

The Kindness of Strangers

I stopped into American Way Thrift Store in Burbank, California, to find out what happens to this type of retailer in a down economy.  Janet Ashe, General Manager, of American Way Thrift Store revealed that they, too, face hard economic times.  Before the economy took a bite out of people’s pocketbooks, American Way would take in as many as five grocery bags of donated items from one person – now, getting one full bag is a bonus.  Pastor Gretchen Bingea of American Lutheran Church said there has been a marked increase in the number families facing hard times that access help at the partner organizations the church supports to help meet the needs of the Burbank community.

 

http://www.talonmarks2.com/multimedia_reporting_sp14/kindness_of_strangers/

The Small, Small, Small World of Southern California Area Historical Miniature Society

Buena Park, California.  April 12, 2014

The SCAHMS show was in town this weekend at La Quinta Inn of Buena Park.   SCAHMS is part a world-wide group of people who create and show amazing miniatures of everything from people to military ordnance to the fantasy figures of popular science fiction and beyond.  This annual event takes model making to a whole new level.

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Top: “Wagons of Yesteryear”  miniatures by C. Reed West

Center and Right: “Mayan Warrior” flat miniature by Penny Meyer

Bottom:  Best of Show: “Huey In Maintenance” by Oliver Doering

 

Thirty-two years ago, artist Penny Meyer was hired by Testor Models to revamp model kit assembly pages to make them more appropriate for American model enthusiasts.  One day, she saw her boss sculpting a little Chinese Boxer from the early 1900s.  He told Meyer there were miniature model kits for every genre of human existence throughout time.  Once she learned there was an entire universe of tiny people to paint, Meyer was hooked!

When Meyer entered the world of historical miniatures, she was one of only three women involved in the hobby.   There was a period of adjustment for the guys, but women of all ages are now involved in this unique art form in all of its genres, especially in the creation of fantasy figures.  Models come as three-dimensional figurines, flat meta, bas-relief sculptures, and half-rounds.  Meyer paints flats, which compliment her talents as an illustrator.  Depending upon the complexity of a piece, it can take 40 to 80 hours for her to finish one piece, which would then sell for around $600.

Historical miniatures are extremely fragile pieces of art.  Artists “hover” over their work because even bumping a display table could mean disaster.  In the case of this year’s SCAHM Best of Show winner, Oliver Doering, any damage to his piece would represent the loss of five years of his life.

Doering’s “Huey in Maintenance,” a Huey helicopter torn apart for repair, is a hybrid of model kit pieces and hand-made pieces.  Doering is humbled by the fact that the Huey has won Best of Show twice in a row.  For him, building the models is more than a hobby, it’s a lifelong passion.   He would consider donating the Huey to a museum for people to enjoy, but would never sell it.  “I can’t sell it,” says Doering, “It’s a part of me.”

Let’s All Tweet Like The Birdies Tweet – Or What The Tweet Is That?

It is official – I have now joined the masses of Twits out there in Social Media Land.  As near as I can figure, I have tweeted well over 100 individual and unique entries.  Is that twittered unique Tweets?  I’ll get back to you on that.

Initially, I was resistant to signing up for an account.  I really did not want to be one of the flock.  However, it was mandatory for my Journalism – 121 Multimedia Reporting class so I did it.  Besides, my instructor, Alicia Edquist, made it look so fun… in a strange sort of communication-based way.

After three months of having a Twitter account, I can honestly say that I see where it can be a tattle tail’s best electronic weapon.  If I had this kind of technology when I was a kid, I would have snapped pictures everything my little brother did and tweeted my mom.  He would have been so busted!

Things I learned from being a Tweeter, which sounds like an old audio joke, but I digress.  My observations from the Twitter wire:

  • The first TWEET is the hardest
  • There’s a lot of TWEET out there
  • Not all tweets are the same
  • Some people should never TWEET selfies… trust me, I know
  • Double spell check before hitting TWEET
  • It’s easy to go one TWEET over the line
  • You are what you TWEET…now and forever
  • A well-crafted TWEET will get retweeted
  • A well-crafted TWEET will get retweeted – and favored
  • Hashtags are your friends
  • Only @ the ones you love
  • You can TWEET till you’re blue in the beak and still not get a lot of followers
  • Avoid Twitter Rehab, TWEET responsibly, fellow twitterers… twits… whatever.

 

The most important thing to remember, if you are gonna TWEET, get one of those cute little battery chargers, ’cause live TWEET sucks up the juice.  See you on the wire!

 

P.S.    Jimmy Fallon – your HASHTAG Wednesday’s ain’t got nothin’ on my journalism class.  Just sayin’.

Wait, he’s got a #.  I can TWEET that!

GARY NUMAN Works Dark Magic on SPLINTER – Songs From A Broken Mind

RATING    ***** out of 5 Stars            Electronic, Synth-pop, Industrial, New Wave, Darkwave

www.garynuman.com

 Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 6.15.16 PM

The first time I heard “I Am Dust” from SPLINTER I was hooked!

Normally, I’m a pop/rock girl with a tendency toward good ol’ 70s-80s music. The industrial-techno-electro strains of SPLINTER touched my soul so much so that I bought the CD a few days later. Gary Numan’s music calls to me today as it always has.

SPLINTER is Numan’s 74th album. His first American hit was “Cars” in 1980, which helped mark Numan as a pioneer in electronic dance music. The cutting-edge sounds and performances on SPLINTER are Numan the Innovator at his best!

The term Darkwave aptly describes the musical offering embodied in SPLINTER. The bass lines are heavy, sometimes ominous, but never conventional. The driving beat and syncopation are uniquely Numan. The melodies are woven of intricate and well-crafted patterns. The classically rendered sound waves within each composition meld into colors that draw the listener deeper into the imagery of the song. No two songs on SPLINTER sound the same.

I greatly appreciate the space Numan leaves in his compositions. I can never anticipate where the breaks will be or how precisely they will affect the lyric lines. Numan is a master of using a break as a composition.

The overall theme of SPLINTER – Songs From A Broken Mind is deeply spiritual – dealing with God, man and lost love that can never be restored.

The lyrics brazenly sing the unasked questions religious dogma fears. SPLINTER expresses doubts about God, while acknowledging the insidious, destructiveness of man. In “Splinter,” Numan pens the lines, “I don’t believe a word of ‘The Word” is true, I don’t believe in the goodness of people like me, I believe everything bleeds from the fear of man.”  Deeply scriptural.

One of my favorite cuts is “We’re The Unforgiven.” It speaks to the vanity of once perfect beings who crossed a line that sealed their fate – eternal separation from God. The line “Once there was life and we were strong, full of pride…now we’re just a ruin.” reminds me to be weary of my prideful self lest I, too, fall into eternal ruin.

I would love to have tea with this untrained musician of a man who says he is “just good with sounds.” I want to hear about the images of the mind that form the amazing dark magic that is Gary Numan in SPLINTER.

 

Trustees Hear from Students Trapped At Cerritos College

CERRITOS TRUSTEES

It was standing room only as the Cerritos College Board of Trustees assembled to hear student comments in support of adding classes to the upcoming summer session.  More than 100 students packed the room and the crowd spilled out into the courtyard.

Many of the students attending wore red squares on their clothes in support of the newly formed Social Equality Club.  Club President Jennifer Ovalle and co-founder Jimmy Valdez said the Club was on hand to represent students who could not be part of the political process.

Club member Earvin Chavez gave a comprehensive PowerPoint that outlined the reasons for adding classes.  Not to leave the issue without a solution, the Club presentation included information from the Chancellor’s Office and the Adoptive Budget sighting numerous existing, funded sources that could be tapped to provide the necessary monies to pay instructors and cover other fees associated with the addition of classes.

At the heart of the plea for additional classes is the fact that students cannot get the Math 40, 60, 80, and English 52 and 100, all of which are required to graduate or transfer to another school.  Student Catarina Morales has been at Cerritos for seven years, Matthew Gill has been here five years.  Neither student can move on because they lack the required core classes.  Year after year, they show up in classes that are closed, hoping to get a slot.  Thus far, they have been unsuccessful.

Jimmy Valdez told the Board, “Being here changed my life.”  Without the education he is getting, Valdez would be on a totally different track that includes being involved with gang activity.  For him, being stuck at Cerritos is almost counter productive.

Jesse Pelayo pleaded for the addition of classes for a very personal reason.  “My son is coming here.  I don’t him to be restricted.”

Board Member John Paul Drayer suggested polling the students to see what classes they need most.  “We survey students for food vendors.  Why not summer school?”

When asked why there was a problem with a computer science student getting a required math class,  Math Chair Scott O’Neil said, “There is a 50% failure rate… students have to repeat the classes.”  This situation necessitates wait listing spring, summer and fall classes.

The last slide in the Social Equality Club presentation was the Cerritos College Mission Statement.  “Not adding these classes,” said Chavez, “fails to support student success.”

 

Do The Math – Cerritos College Needs More Classes Or Student’s Fail

April 2 – Norwalk, CA

The Cerritos College Board of Trustees meeting tonight was anything but dull.  It was standing room only and the line extended out the door into the courtyard.  Tonight’s Hot Topic: whether or not to add 100 extra classes to the Summer Semester.

One reason for the capacity crowd was the large number of Social Equality Club members and concerned students who turned out in support of adding extra classes to the upcoming schedule.  Club President Jennifer Ovalle and co-founder Jimmy Valdez presented an impressive PowerPoint outlining the cost of added classes and the various funding resources the Board can utilize to overcome any lack of funds required to make the classes a reality.

Several board members stated that adding classes had already been done with little or no effect on the problem.  Scott O’Neil, Chairman of the Mathematics Department, revealed that while he has capacity classes, the Department also has a 50% failure rate.  That means students are required to take the class again or they will not matriculate to the next level.

Several current Cerritos College students recounted that they have been at the campus between three and seven years, but are unable to graduate because they cannot get the Math and English classes required to transfer to university.  One girls said she shows up every semester, standing in the back of a capacity classroom only to be turned away – again.  A former gang member named Johnny felt that coming to Cerritos College saved his life.  For him, not being able get the required classes to complete his education means he cannot move on with his life to get further away from a deadly past.

Ian Adams, editor of the campus magazine Modern Corsair, came out to support the Social Equity Club and protest recent tuition increases.  Adams believes the Board has raised the cost of tuition beyond affordability for most students. “If they (students) can get Financial Aid,” Ian said, “it still won’t cover the cost of tuition, books, fees, transportation and housing.  They need that education to survive!”

Many students entering Cerritos College directly out of high school are unemployed.  Add the ever increasing cost of transportation and housing to the normal costs of education and it becomes clear that higher education is now beyond the reach of most students.  The current Catch 22 at Cerritos College is an unexpected nightmare for them.

While the Board listened politely, they seemed unprepared to deal effectively with an issue that continues to present itself.  Apparently, nothing they heard was news.  They even requested information from the Social Equity Club that had already been presented in previous meetings and documents.  The Board’s resolution for tonight was to resolve to have additional information to present in two weeks at the Wednesday, April 16 meeting.

 

http://www.talonmarks.com/news/2013/11/18/social-equality-club-seeks-to-address-social-inequalities/

GYPSY AWARDS KEEPING TIME FOR 2014

http://www.talonmarks2.com/multimedia_reporting_sp14/pds_awards_samii/

PDS Gypsy Awards 2014

PDS Gypsy Awards 2014