Mason Planet
 
"She saw the green hills beyond the town and the roads leading out into summer, leading out into August and rivers and places beyond this town and this house and this room and this particular moment."  -Ray Bradbury, Hopscotch
 
 
Angus & Julia Stone are an Australian brother-sister duo that I first heard when their song "For You" was heavily featured in the pilot episode of Revenge.  While I haven't kept up religiously with that show over the past few months, I have continued to listen to the music of the siblings Stone.  Considering how distinctive their voices are, I love how they are still able to create variety within their music.  I imagine numerous hipsters are driven to Angus & Julia Stone because of their folksy sound and grungy visuals, although don't let that dissuade you from listening to them.

I have attached a few of my favorite songs to this post; "Just A Boy" features Angus on the lead vocals, while "And The Boys" features Julia.  Both are wonderful, in my opinion.

-M
 
 
I applied to participate in Mizzou's Alternative Spring Break program in September, and I cannot believe I am leaving for Delaplane, Virginia next month.  In case you thought I was kidding about the "alternative" aspect of this program, we are renting two minivans to travel safely from Missouri to Virginia and back again.  I literally cannot imagine a vehicle that would be more of a chastity belt than a minivan.  "Hey, sexy, wanna come back to my place...in my minivan?" says no one.

In all seriousness, the minivans will probably be very comfortable, allow for ample personal space and be very safe on the road.  (I swear while writing that sentence a fanny pack briefly appeared around my waist.)

I am very excited for this environmental trip, but there is a significant amount of planning that needs to occur between now and then.  For starters, my group will be restoring hiking trails from winter erosion, and while I am eager to begin this task, I need to make sure that I am in excellent physical shape.  I don't want to be the annoying person that cannot do any physical labor, or the fool who injures himself the first day and is forced to spend the rest of the trip alone in the cabin.  "Go on without me; I love sitting in my bunk, waiting for everyone else to return," I would say before eating everything in the refrigerator while they were gone.

I also need to work on my credibility as a hiker, because when I told my brother I was going on this trip he actually thought I was kidding.  "Wait...you are going on a hiking trip?" he asked while coughing up his beverage.  "Yes, Max. I know it's hard to believe, but I can count the number of hiking trips we took where I didn't cry halfway through the trail on one hand," I said before pausing.  "Never mind, we are descendants of farmers; I will be fine," I lied.

While Missouri has shown me the "wonders" of living in the middle of nowhere, I will need to work on vacationing in a town where the Wikipedia page brags about its post office and antique shop.  (I'm sure they are just being modest and I can really hop on over to Cafe Nordstrom for a fresh salad with grilled chicken and iced tea.)

We are also planning to venture up to Washington D.C. for a quick day trip, and I am positive we won't be taking any touristy photos in front of any historical buildings.  I'm also really positive that I won't use every possible moment to brag about how I was a Summer Organizer for President Obama's reelection campaign and how he has surely made dinner plans with us.

In case it wasn't clear enough from the amount of humor I interjected into this post, I am very thrilled to be going on this trip and I cannot wait to tell everyone about it once I return.  However, I will only be able to go on this trip if I can receive additional funds from generous donors who care about my well being and don't want me to cry myself to sleep for the next 50 years.  *Ahem*  I know anyone who reads this blog has supported me in some capacity in my life, whether it be my academic career, the production of my recent short film or just with love and kindness over the years.  So, if you would like to keep the awesome train that is my happiness moving, please donate a dollar or two on my fundraising page.  I really do appreciate any amount given, and I will make certain to love you all the more for doing it.

-M
 
 
Washington legislators voted in favor of legalizing marriage equality this week, and Governor Christine Gregoire is expected to sign the bill into law shortly.  Thus in just over 90 days the Evergreen State would become the seventh to grant marriage licenses to members of the LGBT community.  

I really have not seen many posts about this on either Facebook or Twitter, so either people are waiting until it becomes law in Washington or they are waiting until it becomes law in America.  Regardless, that last one is not going to occur for many years, so I recommend celebrating any victory as it comes along.

In case anyone is confused or not excited by the sentences prior, I recommend watching this passionate speech by Rep. Maureen Walsh.  Not only do Walsh's mixed emotions on the issue prove just how divisive it can be, but how simple this legal dilemma is when stripped of personal opinion or duty to cultural values.

-M
 
 
It has been a few months since I uploaded my last YouTube video, so I am happy to state I finally created a new one!  It is my first cooking video for Mason Planet, and I hope to shoot a few more in the coming months.

-M
 
 
One of my journalism classes requires weekly blog entries through Wordpress.com, and I thought I would share this week's post on Mason Planet.  As such, it should be noted that I pulled the following information from my own blog, which I do not believe to be illegal in practice.  Seriously, would I file a lawsuit against myself?  Anyways, continue reading to see what all the fuss is about.

mun2 asked several celebrities from the entertainment industry to discuss any difficulties they have faced being Black and Latino in America.  Feel free to check out their comments below.
Although the video is already 10 minutes, I am fascinated about the topic and would like to know more about it.  I have found the entertainment industry to be filled with interesting people conforming to stereotypes that can be sold to mass audiences, but I was still surprised to find the number of  actors speaking of being forced to audition for African-American roles since they are deemed “not hispanic enough.”  It could be a testament that many of the subjects were actors, or that I wasn’t too familiar with their past work, but I would have viewed them as African-American outside of this video.

I think this video is representative of two things about America.  First, America is a such a large country filled with so many different people, so I believe that more and more of these cross sub-cultures will begin to emerge.  Second, it seems race has joined the ranks of religion, sexuality, political affiliation and dietary habits as something that needs to be asked (if appropriate or relevant), and not simply assumed.

-M
 
 
My new semester began yesterday, and my multimedia journalism class is already providing ideas about how to fix my website. (This is one of the numerous reasons I love being a college student.)  While I clearly did not learn the wonders of the virtual universe in one class period, I did realize just how limiting Weebly, the website that I used to create this website, can be regarding certain blogging aspects.  Namely, I can post YouTube videos on my blog, but only links to videos on Vimeo or Vevo; I also cannot indent my paragraphs.  In addition, I would like to implement several formatting changes.

I want to ensure MasonPlanet.com is exactly as I desire it to be, so I have begun pursuing other options.  I could switch host websites, but I think the more compelling option is to build a custom website through Dreamweaver.  Since I have already been taught how to use that software, it should not be too challenging; the only downside is the difficulty keeping my previous blog entries.  However, I think this issue is trumped by the ability to use an individual logo, implement custom  HTML and finally ditch that darn Weebly advertisement at the bottom of every page.

The point of this entry is that I believe I have outgrown using a host website.  Growth is good, right?

-M
 
 
Madison Burge and I executive produced The Substitute, a short film staring Lorelei Linklater based upon a story of the same name by David Lubar, five years ago this April.  While I managed to secure locations, cast and crew, nothing would have occurred if Kat Candler had not skillfully guided the pre-production of the film so we were actually prepared when filming started.  Looking back, I remember the production was filled with countless educational moments since it was my first film set to manage; however, perhaps because we were so young and enthusiastic about filmmaking, the set was filled positive energy and general excitement.  Bootler, the film's director, also helped matters by making certain everyone achieved his particular artistic vision.

Our film was never submitted to film festivals due to copyright laws, but it was uploaded to YouTube; during the last five years it has reached nearly 17,000 views.  I am still impressed with the overall quality of the film, because the average age on the set was 14 or 15-years-old.  Although I could continue my praise, I hope you will discern your own opinion by watching the movie below.

-M
 
 
        I enjoyed visiting with my friends and family in Austin over the past few weeks, and I regret there wasn't time enough for me to see all of them.  It seems like no matter how long I spend in Austin, I always want more time spent here.  As usual, I love the abundance of delicious local restaurants within a few miles of my parent's house; new to this winter was my appreciation of the warmer weather and Austin's array of movie theaters.  I had a fantastic time celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah in December, and I loved being able to supervise the completion of TIM after a lengthy editing process.  I also enjoyed the time off from school that allowed me to catch up on some of my favorite television shows.
       As I sat writing this post, I looked around at the bedroom I used to consider home.  Since I am leaving early tomorrow morning to return to a room I have lived in for the past few months, I have difficulty knowing which room is really my home.  I guess they are both my home in their own way; one to house memories and one to house the present.  (The really weird part is that one day they will both house memories.  Spooky.)
        At times it seems like I just left home to attend TCU, but in all reality I am preparing for my second semester at Mizzou.  As such, I find it hard to believe half a year has passed since I started my education there.  This isn't to say that I haven't enjoyed my time there, which I most certainly have, but rather commentary about how my life is always stuck in lightspeed.
        However, time has been moving slow enough for my family to adjust to having two adult offspring in college.  Perhaps the most significant sign is that my parents and I are getting better at making college road trips, because my car is already packed for tomorrow's drive.  (For reference, I remember throwing everything into my dad's car a few hours before I was supposed to check into my residence hall at TCU.)  We even have enough room to transport some items for my next door neighbor Will, who also attends Mizzou.  This was worth mentioning because I excel at packing unnecessary items, like 10 pairs of shoes or all of my writing materials.  (Okay, my parents are fine at packing a car with all of my college items; I am the one who needs some improvement.)        
        Fortunately, this is only my second year of college, so I have more time to enjoy my stay in the Midwest.  While Mizzou recognizes my academic standing as that of a "Junior," I prefer to use the Canadian term "Second Year" since I will spend four years working on my undergraduate degree.  Hypothetically this differentiation could alleviate confusion that I will graduate next spring.        
        My goal for this semester is furthering the relationships I made last semester and to join more organizations on campus, which will conceivably help with the formation of other friendships.  I also plan to submit TIM to numerous film festivals over the next few months, so I will keep everyone updated on whether it is accepted anywhere. (While I have made numerous short films, I have yet to submit my own work to a film festival.) Yes, I realize this post could seem boring in comparison to other entries of mine, but I felt like starting the year off on an honest note.
         -M
 
 
In my opinion, every day is worth celebrating. Since one year contains 365 days, I would like to wish everyone a happy new year filled with wonderful moments that lead into beautiful memories.  Even though the world we occupy is the same as it was yesterday, that doesn't mean that you have to be.

-M