Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beacon UMC wins softball playoff semifinal 10-9 on walk-off 2-run homerun by minor

NOTE: Identities of players who are below 18 years old are being protected, per church administrative regulations.

The 2009 Beacon UMC Spiritlifters softball team won their semifinal match 10-9 against Seattle First UMC, with the final score decided by a walk-off 2-run homerun by one of Beacon's young stars. However, Beacon technically forfeited the match due to having only 1 female player. League rules state that at least 2 teammates playing the game must be ladies.

The minor's blast was one of 4 homeruns in the game by Beacon. Because of their forfeit, Beacon failed to advance to the championship match for the first time since the year 2000, ending a run of 8 consecutive years playing for the title. Beacon did win championships 3 years in a row, from 2004-2006.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Interview: Writer/director Marco Duran delivers suspense and realism with debut film "Within"

The film Within is a member of the horror and paranormal genres, but what makes it truly scary is what is not actually seen onscreen. The film produces as much suspense as it provokes character contemplation - a contemplation that jumps off the screen and lurks in the minds of the viewers - and multiple viewings will reveal even more layers and clues as to who or what is driving the main character.

Within breaks formulaic boundaries, and ends in such a resounding and unconventional fashion that viewers are suddenly urged to ask themselves some of the same questions Peter, the conflicted main character, asks himself throughout the film. The film's plot doesn't end when the credits roll; the plot becomes ours - the plot, in fact, is ours.

Within is presented by first-time writer/director Marco Duran, stars Anthony Rutowicz as Peter, and is distributed by Portrait Pictures and Sophisto Films. While Within will hit the indie film festival circuit later in 2009, you can purchase the DVD now at, where you can also listen to original music from the film, view cast/crew bios, and buy related merchandise. You can also join the film's Facebook group at

Marco recently provided with this exclusive interview about his experience making the film.

DAVID WU: You mention in your DVD commentary that the initial write-up of the storyline consisted of 114 pages - was that 114 pages of actual screenplay?

MARCO DURAN: That was the story in script version. I don't prefer to initially write that way though. I tend to write in regular prose, like a book, so the story was done in 46 pages in prose, and when Anthony (co-producer) translated it to script, it came out to 114 pages.

DAVID: What percentage of that script actually made it onto film?

MARCO: That's hard to say. The story as a whole, once I finished writing it, didn't change all that much. However, of the actual dialogue, I'd say 85 to 90 percent of it made it on screen. Probably less.

DAVID: Being that you didn't have any experience in making films prior to Within, what was it that motivated you to get into this particular project?

MARCO: I enjoy telling stories. I didn't set out to make a movie. I set out to tell a story. By the time the script was done, I'd been living with the story for three months. It was at that point, if I remember correctly, that the offer was given to me to direct when I thought I was just going to write it. So I accepted the director role as well. The whole thing sort of fell in my lap. What motivated me was that this scared me to no end.

DAVID: Would you consider this film autobiographical in any way?

MARCO: They do say to write what you know. I suppose the story is, in a way, my story. The things that I want to do, I don't do. And the things that I don't want to do, that's what I end up doing.

DAVID: The acting throughout the film was very natural, and never "over the top." How was it that, as a first time director, you were able to instill that "naturalness" in your actors?

MARCO: I'm glad that you felt that way. Thank you. I did a few things that I think contributed to that effect.

First of all, I met with all the actors individually and talked them through their character arcs. I also gave them a questionnaire with very mundane questions that they had to answer for their characters - for instance: What music do you listen to? Do you listen to it loud or soft? What is the most traumatic event in your life? What is your favorite book? Do you eat breakfast often or only occasionally?

Secondly, I gave them all free reign to improvise. I said: "You know where this scene is going, what the purpose of this line is. Say it however you would say it. Just make sure we get from point A to point B."

DAVID: Based on their questionnaire answers, did you end up changing any part of the plot or script to work with their tendencies and values?

MARCO: Yes. Some things affected the way that they treated each other, some things affected the way that they carried themselves.

Christopher Wyllie, Russ in the film, wrote about his childhood and how he was picked on, but was good at school and especially chemistry. That worked in well. And that changed the dynamic of Russ and Kilroy. Kilroy became the guy with the money, the rich boy thrill seeker - and Russ being the more level-headed and smarter of the two.

I wanted the actors/actresses to embody their characters, which meant I really had to know the story to know what was essential and what was non-essential. The essentials would not be changed by what the actors brought up. In fact some of their answers to the questionnaire encroached on the essentials and I had to steer the actors back and "correct" their answers. But any of the non-essentials were fair game and, like you said, endeared the characters to the actors.

DAVID: Which scene would you say was the toughest to film?

MARCO: The showdown between Adam and Eddie was the toughest scene to write, I wanted to make sure they felt equal. The scenes in the woods were physically the toughest scenes to shoot since they all took place at night. We shot from 6 pm to 6 am on Saturday and Sunday to get all that footage.

DAVID: Adam and Eddie (not to give away too much in this interview to the audience) are two of the more peculiar characters in the film - and many clues seem to be peppered throughout the film as to WHO they are. Did you do a lot of research as to which clues you would be using?

MARCO: There were some clues that were thought out before, like the car reveal, and there were some that were made up on the spot. But since I knew where we were going, I knew whether or not something would work in the scene. I'm sure there are clues I placed throughout that will never be picked up on.

DAVID: How about the "disappearing ink" bit? Was that premeditated?

MARCO: Yes. And the exact amount of frames through which the ink disappeared was thoroughly discussed. Too little and it wasn't noticeable. Too many and we were spoon feeding the audience.

DAVID: Does the year 1984 have any significance?

MARCO: The year of Anthony's birth, I believe. Where'd you pick that up?

DAVID: Saw that on Eddie's funky business card!

MARCO: Ah yes, "Serving you since 1984" - so yeah, it was how old Peter was supposed to be at that time.

For Eddie's phone number, I know the first three digits are from the Left Behind series: 6 times 6 times 6 (216). The next three are 555. The last four digits are Anthony's age and my age at the time. So Satan... Hollywood... our ages.

DAVID: This film seemed very fun to make - would you say it was fun most of the time, or just some of the time?

MARCO: On our last day of filming as soon as I said "It's a wrap," I vowed to never make another film again. Of course that's now changed. It's in hindsight that it was fun. Honestly, it was my own fault because I was so busy and wearing so many hats, I didn't have much time to reflect and go "Hey, I'm making a film. Wow, that's cool!"

DAVID: William Salsbury, who did most of the film's music, added so much to the mood of the film - did Bill write the music after seeing rough cuts of the film, or did you film after you had heard much of the music beforehand?

MARCO: Bill was a late addition to the crew, but as you said, he added a lot. He was writing to final cuts of the film, so he knew how long to make the music cues.

DAVID: Is it true that music helped fuel much of the writing of this film?

MARCO: Yes. Music in my head and in my iPod, yes. I wrote three scenes to specific songs: The party scene to Paul Oakenfold's version of The Sneaker Pimps "Six Underground." The car chase to Porno for Pyros' "Tahitian Moon." And the final battle to Radiohead's "Street Spirit."

I'm still doing that. It helps me to envision a scene since I'm a musician before I'm a writer. For a movie I'm working on, I have the beginning mapped out to N.E.R.D.s "Don't worry about it"

DAVID: What would say is most similar between songwriting or performing music, and writing a film?

MARCO: The ability to be creative. Creating things whether they be spelled out with notes or with letters or with brushstrokes or with camera moves... just bringing something out of your head and into the world is so fun and so satisfying.

DAVID: You're a worship leader at church, right?

MARCO: Not currently. Right now I'm just helping out by singing and playing guitar.

DAVID: I know your pastor allowed you and the crew to use his house for certain scenes. What did he think of the finished product?

MARCO: The last time he saw it, it was the second or third cut of the movie, which was about 20 minutes longer. I believe he enjoyed it. I know he didn't enjoy all the language being shouted in his living room during the final battle. But overall, he liked it.

It has been interesting making something like this with my convictions. It has made me question what kind of a influence the film will be to others.

What I was going for was infusing some semblance of reality into a very unrealistic story. Some would argue that reality doesn't factor into movie making - that if they wanted to see reality they could walk out their door. And that's it's none of my business spreading more of that "reality" around. Overall though, I feel the moral is clear: If you follow the wide road, you'll end up in the wrong place.

DAVID: One of the best bits of the film was the initial party scene - it was unlike any other party scene I'd ever seen on film. You all threw an actual party, right?


DAVID: Where did your crew find all those bongs?

MARCO: I'm sure it was theirs. Someone's. They didn't have to go to far to find them.

DAVID: How much of the party activity was actually happening, and not scripted?

MARCO: All happened, most non-scripted. The keg stand, the coke pass-off, and the beer chugging were the only things scripted. Everything else was the DP or Anthony or someone else on the cast making stuff up. Whoever had the idea, if we were good on time, we tried everything.

The toughest thing was getting every single person that showed up for the party to sign a release form when they thought they were just coming to a party.

DAVID: What fascinated me was the editing for that scene - especially the sped up portion where only Peter was the one "existing in real time."

MARCO: Good, that was the intention, but I don't know if we really pulled it off.

DAVID: I understand, from the DVD commentary, that the real-life party got out of hand.

MARCO: Yeah, but that was once we were done filming. They tore up some of the backyard, and destroyed a neighbor's mailbox. All in all, nothing big, but you don't like to see people destroy private property.

DAVID: One of the more profound scenes involved a character listing a plethora of drug names - what statement did you want to make about drugs in particular in this film?

MARCO: I really didn't want to make any specific statement. They are there as a plot point and not much else. The list, however - I was trying to have a little fun.

I looked up a website - I don't think it was Urban Dictionary - but I wanted to use words for drugs that are not often heard. Because I figure, someone's gotta use those words, and who better to know them then drug dealers. So I chose 26 names, one for every letter of the alphabet.

The actor came up to me and asked, "Don't you want to throw in some common names like China and Ice?" And I said, "In no way do I want to use anything that people could place." That all being said, I think he asks for cocaine three or four times.

And we lost some names. And we doubled up on some letters. But it's still long enough and people still go,"What?" And I smile.

DAVID: Which festivals are confirmed to be showing this film?

MARCO: None yet. We probably won't hear back from them until September (2009).

DAVID: How's the nervousness, if it exists, during the waiting process?

MARCO: Right now, my main focus is selling DVDs, getting the word out through people like you, finding places to screen the film (I'm offering a free copy of the film if people will invite 10 friends to their house and screen the film in their living room), and - hopefully - finding distribution. I'm too busy to be nervous.

DAVID: Have many of your friends seen the film?

MARCO: Yeah, we used them as guinea pigs - I mean, test audiences.

DAVID: How did they like it?

MARCO: We had varying degrees of admiration. Some have already bought a DVD. Some walked out of the screening. At least the film makes people FEEL something and I'm grateful for that.

DAVID: What do you think sets your marketing strategy apart from any other strategy you've seen?

MARCO: Others plan out marketing strategy, but I'm just making it up as it comes along. That's the story of this whole movie: Make it up as it comes along.

DAVID: Were you confident from the get-go that this film would blossom like it did?

MARCO: It's blossomed? I thought I was still tilling the ground. Next time will be planned out better.

DAVID: Throughout making the film and in its marketing process, how do you think you have grown as a person, and as a person of faith?

MARCO: I know I've grown as a leader in that I was not one before this all started. This film threw me in the deep end. That being said, I can now look back and see all the ways I could have done better. I mean, it's always that way. And as I look back I can improve as I go forward.

DAVID: In what ways do you see yourself improving?

MARCO: Personal relations. People have always been, for me, extremely interesting to watch, but not to interact with. I have had to break out of that.

DAVID: You seem to have had great chemistry, artistically and in production phase, with Anthony Rutowicz - do you see yourself working with him in the future?

MARCO: That's funny, because that's where most of the previous answer came from. Anthony and I work very differently. I'm so much more strict and business-like and "we do this at this time, and we need to have it done by this date, and work work work." And he's very chill, which frustrated me to no end. But I had to see things from his perspective, understand what he was going through and not be so selfish. It's been hard, but good for me. My main character couldn't see past the end of his nose. I can, hopefully, do better.

Portrait Pictures and Sophisto Films present a film directed by Marco Duran. Story by Marco Duran, Anthony Rutowicz and Rebecka Duran. This film is not yet rated.

Visit and bookmark the official
Within website at

All photos in this blog entry provided by Marco Duran.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Fringe theory: main characters are an "imperfect Trinity"

Here's my Fringe theory of the moment:

The three main characters—Dr. Walter Bishop, Peter Bishop and Olivia Dunham—are an imperfect trinity with parallels to the Holy Trinity. It's, in essence, "the same old story," told a little differently. Here's my basic analysis:

The Father: Dr. Walter Bishop
Walter himself admitted at the end of Epis. 1.02 that he was trying to play God when he tampered with Peter's history. From Epis. 1.09 and onward, Walter is seen sporadically holding a Bible in his hand or quoting scripture. Keep this in mind: Walter is a creator, though much of his creations led to misinterpretations (perhaps William Bell's ZFT "bible," which in itself has a cultic variant with the formerly missing chapter on ethics) and mis-use by scientists who had their own agenda.

The Son: Peter Bishop
Peter died in 1985. Then he was resurrected in 1985 by his father (or rather, taken from an alternate Earth). He enters into service as an FBI correspondent at age 30, the same age Jesus began his earthly ministry; although, Peter's ministry comes after his alternate's death, not before. Peter apparently has ability to read people's minds, and other powers he apparently has yet to tap into. Peter spent years in Iraq, whose territory plays a huge role in history as told in Bible.

The Spirit: Olivia Dunham
Note her childhood name, Olive, which has religious connotations to begin with. She is an interceder between the FBI and the Bishops, a liaison in every sense of the word, on multiple dimensions (and now in multiple dimensions it seems). As an FBI agent, she enforces, and paves the way for the conviction of evil-doers. If water signifies the Holy Spirit's presence in baptism, then Olivia's oneness with the water in the tank is representive of this concept.

In closing: this imperfect Fringe "trinity" works in concert with each other to save the world. And is there a "Judas" in their midst?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Behind the Fringemunks

So what exactly do I make of The Fringemunks project?

It's definitely helped broaden my audience, which is something I've wanted to do - hence, the creation of my website, and the various methods of tracking who visits. As with any start-up site, it's a matter of attracting visitors and motivating them to visit and re-visit.

For most of my life, my music has had some appeal, whether it be to extended family, or a church, or an ethnic community. But there was always a glass ceiling, and any peak above the ceiling always yielded a sense of frustration and disappointment: it was like pulling teeth sometimes to encourage people to listen to my music.

So how does one transition from struggling to attract the masses, to struggling to keep up with the masses who want to hear more from you?

Enter the Fringemunks, a serialized 2-song joke that is turning into a 20-song hit for a portion of Fringe fans around the globe. Despite the tongue-in-cheek nature of the songs and its accompanying irreverent humor, it is still my music underneath the sped-up voices and, I feel, there is redemptive quality to the lyrics that I write for the parodies. It allows the audience to experience a Fringe episode in a different light, and also allows one to hear a song in a slightly different light as well. For me, it's also one experiment after another, creating music and presenting them to an audience in mind--it's simply great practice.

The appeal for the listener is exemplified in a series of anticipations for each new song. Once an episode airs, I want the Fringemunks fan to automatically wonder how the 'munks will recap that episode. If a listener memorizes the song, it can be a great tool to remember a particular episode's plot and details when the episodes and seasons start piling up.

Not only that, I try to infuse an emotional quality into each and every song - it's not all fun and games. It's a funny kind of serious, a detour from the usual humor. Not exactly Weird Al, not nearly Chipmunks (I don't speed it up as fast as they did).

Something is working. Glancing at the results of the visitor tracker, there are lots of visitors in the Seattle area, a plethora in New York... and a whole bunch in Europe... especially Hungary. That's right, there's a website in Hungary that is marketing the Fringemunks. How flattering is that! Makes me want to brag a little, but not too much.

Plus, the name "Fringemunks" is catchy, I think.

Fringe: My Prediction about Peter's Medical History

Warning: potential spoilers below, for those who haven't read the Fringe comics.

Time for me to share with you which Kool-Aid I'm drinking in regards to Peter Bishop's ambiguous medical history on Fringe:

I believe that Peter may actually be Walter's father. There are clues that point to this.

Dr. Nicholas Boone, in Epis. 1.18 "Midnight" asks Walter, "How far would you go for someone you love?" Walter pauses on this, and reflects. And we reflect as well, as there is somehow an interesting bond between Walter and his "son" Peter - Walter would rather go back to the mental institution than to be without Peter, for one thing. And we know that a teleportation device can not only drag people from any point on Earth, but from any time.

Then there's what's in the Fringe comics. In the final "Bell & Bishop" scene in the 4th of 6 comics, we find out that Walter's father was either a Nazi or worked for the Nazis... or somehow had a connection to the Nazis. What if somehow Walter whisked his father away from that lifestyle and path, causing an anomaly in time and family history.

The fugitive John Mosley from Epis. 1.04 "The Arrival" said to this to Peter about his "relative" under the tombstone: "shame you never met him." Perhaps there are different layers to this statement, but think of the logic that would stand if Peter WAS the relative supposedly buried.

(OK, we'll see how far off I am in the final two episodes of the season.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Announcing the tracklisting for "20/20: The Best of David Wu 1988-2008"

20/20: The Best of David Wu 1988-2008, which will be released Sunday, Mar. 15, 2009, is a compilation of 20 songs I produced, composed, and/or performed from ages 10-30. Here's the tracklisting:

1. Many Phases - AC feat. Lyrical Image [2005]
2. More Than Just Friends - Rose Marie [2008]
3. Word of Honor - MadPoet [1995]
4. Kahapon - Tiiktak [2002]
5. Chopin: Valse - David Wu [1991]
6. Wanna Be - EJ Galeon [2006]
7. Santeria (Live at Koffee Pot) - Fake Mondays [2004]
8. Schubert: Impromptu - David Wu [1993]
9. Chopin: Etude (Live at Tibbetts UMC) - David Wu [1992]
10. 11:59 - Tiiktak feat. Spaz-O-Matic & emersonIC [2002]
11. Lord, Tell Me I'm Dreamin' - MadPoet [1996]
12. Mozart: Sonata I (Live at Tibbetts UMC) - David Wu [1989]
13. Mozart: Concerto in F (Live at Tibbetts UMC) - David Wu [1988]
14. Until U R Mine (Extended Version) - Tiiktak feat. emersonIC [2001]
15. Can You Stand the Rain (By Request) - David Wu [2004]
16. Epis. 1.04: The Arrival (Parody of Gold Digger) - The Fringemunks [2008]
17. Grieg: Concerto (Live at Tibbetts UMC) - David Wu [1993]
18. A New Creation (Live in Silverdale) - Papuri!NW Band feat. Dione Ricardo Corsilles [2004]
19. If I Can Move the Mountains - James Fernando [2005]
20. Dynastiik - Tiiktak & Tina Cornejo feat. The Text Messengers [2003]

Monday, January 19, 2009

A new era begins

On January 20, 2009, Barack Hussein Obama II becomes the 44th President of the United States. It is a truly historic moment - regardless of whatever background and political leanings you may have. This is a time to celebrate our new leader, and to celebrate America.

Here, we will reflect on this moment. Not only that, I have some friends and a sister who will be reporting from the scene in Washington, D.C. Continue to check here for the latest updates!

The audience reading this is going to be full of some die-hard liberals, and also some very devoted Republicans, and many who are in between. Many are friends of mine. Many are in my extended family. I'm personally an independent voter, with no true allegiance to either of the two political parties; and as such, I will aim to make this as non-partisan as possible.


"The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly," said John McCain during his concession on the night of November 4.

Yet how much of America truly spoke? Despite the all-important electoral process, the popular vote was divided more down the middle. McCain's remark was part of a very gracious speech - perhaps the greatest speech of his life - and he received applause from everyone, regardless of how they voted. (Nevermind those boos by some of those McCain faithful - even McCain himself was urked by that.)

This was some time after the countdown to the West Coast election forecasts that effectively put Barack Obama over the top. Where was I? I was sitting where I am now - at home - chatting with a friend of mine from Athens, Georgia. While pockets of people around town were counting down as if it were New Year's Eve, while University of Washington students gathered in Red Square were about to erupt in a spontaneous and passionate rendition of our national anthem - I was here just appreciating the moment, in quiet reflection.

But I decided to get out of the house to celebrate anyway. And there was much to celebrate. Yes, the candidate I voted for won, but even above that the process worked. As it did when George W. Bush won 8 years earlier (although the Florida debacle turned more than a few heads). As it did every time a president was elected. Maybe some presidents didn't turn out the way we would have liked, but the American people participated in the process and determined the outcome. That we can live in a democracy such as the one we live in, is a gift. Sometimes we take it for granted.

I arrived in Downtown Seattle, where cars were honking and places were still bustling with activity. I ended up shaking hands and hugging strangers - not just Obama supporters, but also McCain supporters who showed up to celebrate with everyone. That is something I will always take with me for the rest of my life - it is the America that I know lurks underneath some of the murkyness of foggy politics. At its best, the heart of America is still a beacon in that very fog.

I showed up at Ohana (a popular pan-Asian restaurant), where a hip-hop DJ was playing some beats, with Obama's speeches overlaid on top. I sat with a group of strangers who were, like me, enjoying the moment. Maybe I don't agree with every single detail that Obama brought forth in those speeches, but I agreed with the heart of it all.

Fast-forward to Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, a day before the Inauguration, and... it just happens to be Martin Luther King Day. Tomorrow, Jan. 20, part of King's "dream" will come true. For the mere fact that Obama is African-American is of less significance than his stature as a real American, true in his intentions, bold in his convictions, and anointed by our Creator to do some good in this world.

And so a new era begins. God bless America, and may He bless us despite ourselves.


As mentioned, I have some friends who are in DC at this moment, braving the cold and crowds. I intend to update this section with their updates, and I will also "interview" them throughout the process. Here's a list of the people I know who are there, and who will be reporting to me:
  • Theon - he actually lives there - he'll be reporting to me via text, likely
  • Sophie - a friend of mine from church - she'll be reporting to me via text, and she'll also be tweeting (#sophiakristina) and updating her blog (link below)
  • Rachel - my sister - reporting likely via text
  • Joe - another friend from church, reporting via text
Note: all times are EST (Eastern Standard Time or DC time), so subtract 3 hours if you want PDT (Pacific Daylight Time or Seattle time).

Monday, January 19, 2009
  • Sophie (9:08am/Twitter) - At baggage claim at IAD. Let the celebration begin!
  • Theon (12:05pm/Facebook msg) - As of now, I believe that I will be on the parade route tomorrow.
  • Sophie (2:11pm/Twitter) - Heading to Capitol Hill to drop off bags. Looks like we r camping out tonite!
  • Sophie (2:27pm/Twitter) - News out of DC says tomorrow's inauguration is being treated as the largest event in the nation's history.
  • Sophie (2:44pm/Twitter) - Circling Capitol. Will drop off sleeping bags, overnite bags and ballgowns to a church office where we will be spending the nite.
  • Sophie (2:48pm/Twitter) - Hungry. In the past 18 hours, ive had cereal. Ready for a meal.
  • Sophie (3:16pm/Twitter) - Just finished dropping off bags at the lutheran church of the reformation. Off to Georgetown to meet with Theon, Joe and Grace at Dumbar ...
  • Sophie (3:22pm/Twitter) - Driving by Potomac River to Georgetown. Its frozen over.
  • Sophie (4:48pm/Twitter) - Off to find food. Perhaps Cracker Barrel? MmmM!
  • Sophie (5:44pm/Twitter) - Sitting in traffic
  • Sophie (8:55pm/Twitter) - At Cracker Barrell in Manassas. Waiting for my chicken fried chicken, fried okra, sweet baby carrots and corn...mMMmm good
  • Sophie (8:48pm/Twitter) - Sleepy Heading to Capitol Hill now
  • Sophie (9:08pm/Twitter) - Heading to Capitol Hill via Metro
  • Me (9:32pm/Text) - [To Rachel] How's everything there? Do you think it will snow while Obama is sworn in?
  • Joe (10:01pm/Text) - [In response to my earlier question about spending MLK Day in DC]: Though it may sound cliche, I listened to people's stories and was reminded of how I share commonalities with people one may think are so different.
  • Me (10:04pm/Text) - [To Joe] Has it hit you yet that you're in the midst of the world's focus? I'm excited for you - and excited for our country.
  • Sophie (10:07pm/Twitter) - Night cap at firehook bakery & coffee house on Capitol Hill.
  • Rachel (10:07pm/Facebook Wall) - [To me] Probably not.. too cold n clear I think. We had light flurries earlier on monday but not much. It was more like dippin dots hail. Things r good though, we're near the capitol bldg.
  • Rachel (10:09pm/Facebook Status) - chillin (literally!) near the Capitol Building.
  • Joe (10:09pm/Text) - It has not fully hit. I'd been to DC enough for work. This time is wholly different. A sense of a challenge is before us--but now so is the sense of true hope.
  • Me (10:14pm/Text) - [To Joe] In what ways do you think you will be empowered when you return to Seattle?
  • Joe (10:19pm/Text) - Honestly, as a SW I was jaded until the Feb primaries. I went to the Key to hear Obama speak. I heard what he said and knew my career needed to change. It did!
  • Joe (10:24pm/Text) - Hope I don't sound cheesy.
  • Me (10:39pm/Text) - [To Joe] Nope - you sound encouraged and enlightened.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
  • Rachel (12:26am/Facebook Status) - Rachel is catchin some quick zzz's at a nearby UMC bldg.. the inaugural action starts soon!
  • Rachel (5:52am/Facebook Status) - Rachel is up for the inauguration.. it so cold!!
  • Sophie (6:42am/Twitter) - Getting ready to walk to east side of Capitol
  • Sophie (7:15am/Twitter) - En route to east side of capitol.
  • Sophie (7:34am/Twitter) - Feeling like Moses wandering through the wilderness.
  • Sophie (8:09am/Twitter) - At smithsonian. Ready to witness history.
  • Rachel (8:13am/Facebook Status) - Rachel is here at the inauguration with a million catrillion bazillion other ppl. COLD but excited!
  • Sophie (9:19am/Twitter) - Waiting for Sabrina and Brandon near Smithsonian Metro. I see flurries
  • Sophie (9:58am/Twitter) - Toes feel like they will fall off. 3 socks on. Obama just walked up steps.
  • Sophie (10:28am/Twitter) - Sunny but still freezing.
  • Sophie (10:53am/Twitter) - Arg with people with signs blocking my view trying to get on TV. Move!
  • Sophie (10:57am/Twitter) - Obama's motorcade coming up.
  • Sophie (11:02am/Twitter) - Members of Senate being seated.
  • Sophie (11:41am/Twitter) - 20 more minutes and a new chapter in our nation's history begins.
  • Sophie (11:52am/Twitter) - Here on the National Mall. Future generations will mark this morning.
  • Rachel (1:30pm/Text) - Now the crowds can't get out!
  • Sophie (1:34pm/Twitter) - Gridlock at National Mall. Too much pedestrian traffic. People getting stuck and not able to exit.

  • - my friend Sophie's blog about her experience watching the inauguration
  • Do you have a blog or website about the inauguration that you want to list here? Let me know!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Interview: Australia's Adele discusses her podcasting experience

An intuitive sense of audience, a sharp wit, tremendous timing, determination to capitalize, and vision of craft - Adele of Australia has all these, and more.

In just over 15 months, Adele has made her mark in the podcasting and blogging world. She co-hosts the hit geeky-girl podcast Three Chicks and a Mic (, as well as the Fringe Dwellers Podcast ( about the FOX TV series Fringe. She is the creator and host of The Sarah Dessen Diarist (, a podcast/blog about the best-selling young adult author. She also has a literary blog, Persnickety Snark (

Adele and I will be teaming up on a few things that we will remain silent about for now. In the meantime, what follows here is her very first media interview about her experiences and vision within the podcasting world.

DAVID WU: Adele, what drew you into podcasting in the first place?

ADELE: Buying an iPod. Sounds lame but before August 2007 I had a very rudimentary knowledge of iTunes and didn't even know what a podcast was.

I am a huge television and movie fan so I started seeking out info on them, came across podcasts and started checking them out. My first was Starkville's House of El (a Smallville-based podcast) that has amazing production values and entertaining hosts. I became friends with some of the people on their forum boards and got invited to guest host on someone else's podcast because they thought some international flavor with a bent sense of humor would benefit their podcast. I loved it.

Soon after, I started Three Chicks and a Mic (3CM) with two other girls. Soon after that I was guesting on lots of other podcasts. Then Fringe started getting buzz and Jen and I teamed up.

I love the buzz of recording and the feedback. I hate the sound of my laugh and complain way too much about editing but the truth is I love it.

DAVID: When did 3CM start?

ADELE: Around August last year I read a book called Twilight. The dialogue was corny as all heck, but the story was very involving and I became a tad obsessive. I recommended it to my friend, Jen from Philadelphia, and she read it and got obsessed. I was in one of the SHoE chat rooms when Jen, Crystal and I started talking about Twilight and decided we would start a podcast. Within a hour, we had a podcasting account, a blogsite and an email address.

We loved having an avenue to talk about geeky things. Many podcasts are hosted by geeky guys and we wanted to put out own spin on it. We talk about whatever we want, post irregularly but weirdly, the listener base is the most enthusiastic of all my podcasts.

DAVID: How long did it take to set up?

ADELE: I think the first episode was up within two weeks. Both of the other hosts are American which makes it difficult with the time zones so we have to record on weekends.

DAVID: That makes sense. How long do you see 3CM lasting? Any long-term goals?

ADELE: 3CM is a podcast that is always in flux. It's released infrequently with different combinations of the three chicks and/or our mates. I see my involvement ongoing. It's the podcast where I get to be myself the most - a little sarcastic, a little cynical and I call a spade a spade. It's the runt of my podcast children, I might kick it around a bit but I love it anyway. (I don't actually kick animals or podcasts - no hate mail please!)

DAVID: Regarding the Fringe Dwellers Podcast (FDP), I remember, you started this podcast long before the pilot even aired. What was it that drew you into the series in the first place, and what compelled you to follow through with a podcast?

ADELE: Jen and I were recording Greek Speak (a now defunct podcast regarding the ABC Family show) and heard about Fringe. He asked if I would want to do it with him as we had got chemistry. I said, Josh Jackson's on it? Sure!

No, I am a long time JJ Abrams fan. I still love Felicity with a fiery passion; I watch my series DVD set all the time. I trust in JJ implicitly in the material he chooses, and the premise of the show really intrigued me. Jen and I recorded in June (I think) an intro to Fringe Dwellers about what we had heard and what we wanted to achieve with the podcast. We got heaps of downloads straight away so we knew that the show would definitely have an audience and we might have a listenership of our own.

My faith was paid off in the pilot and every episode since then. I have championed the show and feel that my loyalty is really seeing results.

DAVID: What was the most profound moment of the FDP so far - would you say, the Chance Kelly (who plays Agent Loeb) interview?

ADELE: I probably wouldn't call it profound but it has definitely been the high point along with the Round Table podcast. We were both so excited to have an interview, but understandably I was a little disappointed as I couldn't be involved in it. The Round Table was fantastic, talking to people doing the same thing as me, and comparing our theories and opinions was so much fun. I hope the listeners enjoyed it as much as I did.

DAVID: Besides that interview, what do you think are the FDP's biggest accomplishments?

ADELE: I would say that I am a pretty collaborative person and our podcast has been able to involve other people besides Jen and myself. Whether partnering up with you to have the Fringemunks tracks as our spoiler divide music, listening to John Ellsworth's voicemails, or having John Bailey's superb intro - we have a little FD family.

Fringe fans are a motley crew. They are incredibly intelligent, observant and generous. I feel confident that the fan base of Fringe will grow and perhaps Fringe Dwellers might gain a few listeners who like some laughs, some discussion and an Aussie co-host.

I have been lucky to form relationships with Wayne from Wayne's Take on Fringe, Dennis from and yourself. That's all because of podcasting - I say this podcast biz is a big win-win!

DAVID: Podcasts are a relatively new medium and phenomenon. How do you see this medium evolving in the future?

ADELE: I try not to think about it too much! Seriously, I am still trying to improve my editing and presenting. I think podcasts will eventually be recognized to a greater degree. Most people I speak to here in Australia don't even know what they are.

I told my mom about what I was doing, explaining it as an online radio show. She pointed at her sound system and asked, "What's the frequency?" So I think a greater awareness of podcasting is inevitable. I think there is a place for audio and video podcasts but I see the latter going somewhere that I can't imagine in terms of creativity.

DAVID: Do you plan on integrating podcasts into your teaching career?

ADELE: Yes, especially into my teaching of English. Using technology to improve my student's literacy, IT skills, speaking and listening skills. The possibilities for podcasting and blogging as an application for learning is limitless.

DAVID: Really - so your students can take your lessons home with them, and this can increase their flexibility and tap into their potential. That's brilliant!

ADELE: Why thank you! In terms of the TV industry I think they will continue to realize the importance of fan labor and hopefully become more supportive of it. Some show and networks really support the endeavors of their fans to spread the word of their shows. Some don't. I think I would like networks and show creators to further capitalize on viewer's curiosity in this field.

DAVID: What's the story behind The Sarah Dessen Diarist?

ADELE: I was incredibly lucky as I joined Twitter as myself and as the Sarah Dessen Diarist. I asked to follow her Twitter. Within two days of blogging, my responses to the first two chapters of Lock and Key, she had mentioned me as a Twitter status and a day after that wrote about me on her blog complete with a link. Needless to say I got lots of hits!

The blog is me reading a chapter of one of her books and discussing it and how it reminds me of things in my own life. I started the blog immediately as I recognised that there really wasn't anything out there like this (unless it was Twilight or Harry Potter based). I read my responses, talk about the latest news on the author or something on her blog as well as what I am geeking out about at the moment. Doing it solo is a little confronting at times.

I get great emails, mainly from teen readers. Downloads range from 350 - 1100 downloads per episode which is fantastic. The best thing has been corresponding with Sarah a little, getting to interview her and the day that a package arrived from the USA filled with signed SD novels.

I know that she listens to the podcast while she does her errands. She has gone above and beyond in supporting me and I can't say how exciting that is. It's something I want to share with my students so I working on something new at the moment that we can do together.

DAVID: How is the buzz for Along for the Ride (Dessen's forthcoming ninth novel) so far?

ADELE: Amazing. I get the majority of hits on my blog due to my posting about it. The story sounds intriguing, it will undoubtedly be a great read and I am just plain excited.

DAVID: Are you going to buy it at midnight when it is released in your country?

ADELE: Well I have done that before - I am a little book mad! The SDD started as an attempt to break up my crack-like addiction to the screen and contribute something with regards to literature. I am crossing my fingers that Penguin will send me an ARC (advanced readers copy) but we'll see.

DAVID: What's your favorite book by Sarah Dessen, and why?

ADELE: Just Listen. The protagonist and her sisters are not people I can relate to. The story isn't something that has necessarily impacted my life but teen bullying is universal and there was a time where I felt terrible alone and isolated like Annabel. But i like that Sarah shows that friendship can come in the most unlikely of places as well as showing the healing nature of music (in this case very left of center music). I have to admit to crushing on Owen a little too, one of the main characters.

I love that she is so open with her readers, she blogs regularly and has done for years. She is involved with online communities like readergirlz and is establishing her own online community with her publishers at the moment for the release of Along for the Ride later this year. She responds to emails, geeks out over Friday Night Lights and loves Ben Lee's music - what isn't there to love?

DAVID: Seems like she loves the contact with her readers, and enjoys the community.

ADELE: Yeah, she's an inspiration in that regard. I love responding to email and chatting with listeners. Of course the big hope is to eventually get published myself and meet her.

DAVID: That's a noble goal. Have you started?

ADELE: Nope. Establishing this new project is a little time consuming. I will though. I am closer than I have ever been.

Feel free to edit out what isn't necessary. It's pretty long.

DAVID: It's like a Sarah Dessen novel!

ADELE: See, once I start my book, I won't stop.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Let's start off the year with a blog entry, shall we not

I've had this blog up for a while, but I haven't been utilizing it. It has been collecting dust. Having said that, I have a lot to write about, and a few things already planned - so, expect some sort of resurgence of this. But who is the audience?

It's a challenge, being that this blog is a subsection of the overall website, and no one seems to be visiting this blog too much. That's OK - a challenge is good.

What's the point of this blog? To rant and rave about music. And hopefully be of some worth to people, enough for people to visit - even on an infrequent basis. One day this blog WILL be an integral part of both the website and my musical endeavors. Oh, if you have the heart, please follow me (see "Followers" on the right, and also see video at the bottom of this post). Let the Spirit move you.

A concerted effort filled with "Pardon me sir/ma'am ... I have a blog and I link to yours" seems almost pathetic and laughable by age 30. But also, knowing myself, and knowing how great I can be when it comes to self-promotion (as supposed to how it used to be: overly passive in regards to asserting myself), I'll do it. Value can overcome desperation, and I know it.

OK, so here's the game plan: 1) somehow get people to click into here, and 2) provide substance. And 3) know that an audience is out there, waiting to be.