Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How Twitter Saved My Street

It all started with a morning walk down my street. That's when I saw it for the first time - a small hole in the road. But as I crouched down to inspect it I noticed it was more than just a break in the asphalt. There didn't seem to be any dirt underneath for at least a foot or so. Was it the start of a catastrophic sinkhole? A portal to another dimension? A shortcut to Clackamas? Either way, I photographed it and twittered about it:

And here's the accompanying photo:
SW Portland is sinking

Later that morning my pal @Jandroid retweeted my discovery to Mayor Sam Adams' attention and he was pretty quick to respond:

I got back to him with the info and the very next morning when I took my morning walk I discovered this:

Problem identified
Twenty-four hours later a cone and a barricade were already in position over the hole. And there was some official-looking spray painting around the area too. And that's how it stayed for a little over a month. Then late last week I noticed this piece of machinery in the area:

Machinery in place

Later that morning the asphalt had been ripped up and they had leveled out the dirt and gravel underneath:

Hole filled

And just a few hours after that the barricade was gone and there were four cones protecting the freshly paved (and hole-free) patch of street. Beautiful.

Mission accomplished

It was pretty exciting to watch the whole process and it all happened surprisingly quickly. You always hear about all hassle and trouble it takes to get things done in a city, but this got resolved so efficiently. Maybe they call it "the city that works" for a reason. To be completely honest, someone else may have called or contacted the city as well (heck, maybe there was a letter-writing campaign I never heard about), but can we pretend that my twitter started it all? Or maybe Mayor Adams and the folks at the city gov can fill in their side of the story? How do all these things work anyway?

Either way, thanks for fixing my street!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Zombies, Bikes, & Venomous Spiders

So my pals at BodyVox got in touch with me a few months back and asked if I was interested in producing a few spooky videos for them. They wanted something short and fun to help spread the word on their upcoming Halloween-inspired dance show, BloodyVox. I came up with a long list of zombie/ghost/vampire related ideas, but finally whittled it down to two concepts I was really excited about. I pitched them to BodyVox and they liked both of them so we moved forward and started planning.

There are so many one-take online videos out there and I've always wanted to make one myself. I also really liked the idea of bicycling zombies, and after scouting the Springwater Corridor I found a stretch of the path that seemed perfect. After sending out a facebook message, I recruited a solid group of zombies (thanks Daniel, Chris, and Lisa!) and BodyVox brought some of their dancers and volunteers as well.

I shot this from the back of an Xtra-cycle as my pal MacKenzie pedaled.

This only took about 7 or 8 takes. This was the last take:

A few years back I started making an annual Thanksgiving movie with my nephews and due to popular response (mostly from my family) we started making them for other occasions as well. This seemed like a great opportunity to employ my 5 & 8 year old nephews once again and tackle yet another subject. They're always game for putting on costumes and I'm always impressed by their range of emotion and acting chops:

Stay tuned for our 2010 Thanksgiving movie - coming next month. And don't forget to buy your tickets for BloodyVox!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Kazoo Museum Has Opened Grandly!

After weeks of planning, months of research, and too many hours spent on ebay The Kazoo Museum has officially reopened in Beaufort, SC. It's in a whole kazoo complex that's also the home of Kazoobie Kazoos and their factory.

The big event took place on Wednesday, October 6th and it seems like most of Beaufort came out to celebrate.

Rick Hubbard (founder of Kazoobie Kazoos and famed kazoo performer) and Stephen Murray (president of Kazoobie Kazoos) shared some remarks along with a number of local government officials who came out for the big event.

People were really excited to welcome a new attraction to the area, and located about halfway between Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC it really is a convenient location. I gave curated tours to anyone interested and answered quite a few question for interested visitors. I realize I'm incredibly biased, but kazoo history really is quite interesting and we've amassed a pretty nice collection that I think will appeal to most folks.

And the local press came out too. I even got a few mentions. An article in Bluffton Today referred to me as "Kazoo historian and curator of the Kazoo Museum." I like the sound of that. I may get some new business cards printed. There was another great article in The Island Packet. And WTOC from Savannah Georgia did a story for their evening news - though they didn't talk much about the museum opening (but I still get a few seconds onscreen). You can check that out here.

And you can see more photos from the museum and the grand opening here:

If you want some more info on the Kazoo Museum and what all this is about you can check out the museum website here or this old blog post. So are you planning your trip yet?