Thursday, February 21, 2008

110. Goleta Beach Update Post AAAS Conference, Upcoming Interviews with Drs. Melinda Szaloky and Ed Keller

After the Art Sylvester interview a week-and-a-half ago, it seems like I've gotten in very good habits with this film. Blogs are coming easier. So are the conversations in our meetings. I just stopped by Dr. Sylvester's office and he agreed to help me a little bit with my application for an internship to SlateV / Slate Magazine this summer. I'll be applying to three science/media/policy internships this summer: (1) Conservation Magazine up in Washington, (2) Slate Magazine / Slate V in Los Angeles, and (3) the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington D.C. I also have some backup ideas. I am desperate for some novel experiences this summer! I'm ready to fall off a log. I'm ready to rapidly evolve. I just hope with all my mind's heart one person takes me in! I'll do whatever it takes! It's important to set up a future career for myself after a Ph.D....

The day after I returned from AAAS in Boston (a future blog I shall write), Greenscreen met up at the usual Digital Editing Lab spot, and Lauren and Nicole announced that there would be two primary interviews left: (1) Dr. Melinda Szaloky (Film and Media Studies / Philosophy) will provide her views on Deep Ecology (and hopefully some perspectives on Kant--the ideas of beauty and sublime) this upcoming Sunday and (2) Dr. Ed Keller (Earth Sciences) will discuss his perspectives on Goleta Beach, which contrast in part with Dr. Sylvester (as of what I know). Dr. Keller seems to have a more hands-off managed-retreat approach and doesn't place value on preserving the park system. I agreed to help out with both interviews, in which one will be this Sunday afternoon and one will be next Friday. I have met both profs before, so I think that should help facilitate the process.

For Dr. Szaloky's interview, there are 4-5 main questions:

(1). What is deep ecology?
(2). How does deep ecology apply to everyday life, and to students at UCSB?
(3). How is the deep ecology perspective applied to the situation with Goleta Beach?
(4). What are the main value systems revolving around the management of Goleta Beach? And how do these value systems relate to deep ecology (question three, rehashed)
(5). What are your personal interactions/experiences/feelings about the Goleta Beach situation?
(6). In Film and Media Studies 183 (Films of the Human and Natural Environment), you discussed notions of "beauty" and "sublime" in Kant's readings. Do you have any comments on these perspectives as it pertains to Goleta Beach?

Okay, I added a sixth question. Fine! Lauren make a comment on how something should be said along the lines of "nature is not a playground." I'm not sure whether this is a deep ecology perspective. I'm not in entire agreement because if the outdoors were not a playground, the fields of ecology, evolution, earth sciences, and environmental sciences wouldn't exist in the first place. In the end, we field scientists are just a bunch of kids who want to go out and play in the mud! Unless the mud is too close to the lava of a volcano, the mouth of a shark, or the eye of hurricane Katrina (Hence, revealing my conservative adventurist perspective)!

I am not really a deep ecology person myself. I think the theory or philosophy is vague. There's nothing concrete about it. You can make anything out of it. It's just like how every person designs their own unique god or set of gods in their brains to cater to his/her personal needs. To be even more extreme, it's even as vague as global warming itself. The logic is so messy and loose, it all hurts my brain to think about it. The only thing that I am supportive about with deep ecology is that it's important to not approach environmental issues at a surface value, and that when you do go into thinking rationally about ecology, it's almost as if you are digging deep into a rabbithole, a matrix of sorts. That's about all I agree with, and I'll stop there :-). Otherwise the blogging monologue shall go on for near-eternity!

As for Dr. Keller's interview, I will be adopting the questions from Dr. Sylvester's shoot. It is best to stay as consistent as possible so that the questions can be aligned, and direct comparisons of responses can be easily set up... such as to ease Nicole's editing process. I should be meeting with Dr. Keller this Friday around 9am. I am hoping he will be inclined to create some drawings just as Dr. Sylvester did. I also want Dr. Keller to have a lot of input in terms of design of the shoot. After all, he has observed erosion of Goleta Beach much longer than I have, and he has much more geographic resolution to the region than I do. I hope he has suggestions about good outdoor places to conduct the interview, weather permitting.

It's funny to think that in the summer of 2000, Dr. Keller was one of the first professors I met at UC Santa Barbara. As a timid, naive undergrad, I asked him if I could volunteer in his lab, and unfortunately he informed me that year he was going to be on sebattical. Bad luck. Close to 8 years later, perhaps I have acquired enough reasoning tools in earth sciences to carry out a coherent dialogue on coastal geomorphology and management. A rare pat on the back for a continuous effort on expanding my brain! Then again, every single time I reflect upon where I am at in life, I never seem to be happy with myself. I always want more. I always need to do more. And when I look back at a pre-existing state of myself, I shake my head, in complete recognition of how "stupid" I was. It's almost as if my mind is addicted to learning new things, addicted to change. If I don't progress, I can't live with myself.... I guess I shouldn't be so hard on myself. I could be addicted to worse things....

Alexios (director, primary interviewer) is returning this Tuesday from Greece. I don't know how it will be with Dr. Keller's shoot on Friday given he is there. Dr. Sylvester's shoot was the first pre-meditated interview and first visualization/interactive interview out of a handfull of shoots from fall and winter quarter, and I hope we can maintain the same consistency. Alexios is very spontaneous (which is not a bad thing, because it brings out a different character and structure of interview), but just to maintain consistency, I hope we can apply the pre-existing question list and visualization techniques that I posted from the previous blog.

Nicole the editor gave us some advice with interviews. With the upcoming ones, we have to make sure we have super audio, and urge the interviewer to state complete sentences. One- or two-liners preferably.

Other than that, we're working on getting Nicole an external hard drive for storing all the footage (there's not enough memory in the macs at the digital editing lab). There are two upcoming showings of the Goleta Beach film: (1) March 12 at the Isla Vista Theater and (2) March 18, which will be a larger environmental media event around Santa Barbara. As Nicole (the producer) stressed, the projects don't have to be "entirely complete" but as long as we have something to show, that shall be good. I'll try and cram a couple of days of editing with Nicole (the editor), but that will be all I can probably do.

Friday morning creeps up and I hope to get out all my internship applications out by then....

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