Saturday, May 26, 2012

‘Junct Tour Days 6&7

Day 6 
DLS and I packed up and left Leia’s place somewhere around 10:30 for the next round of interviews.  We talked to a woman who is no longer tenure faculty, which may or may not be addressed in the final cut of ‘Junct.  What we focused on in that specific interview was life beyond contingency.  The second interview of the day covered alternatives including teaching abroad.  
While we had expected more of a round table discussion for the second segment of the day I think what we got was equally important.  It also reminded me that people are still not willing to come forward on camera for fear of losing what employment opportunities they do have and I respect that.  One woman in particular, while not wanting to be on camera, was instrumental in putting the word out about the interviews we were conducting.  Even though she was gentle and soft spoken I sort of thought of her as some secret agent working covert ops behind the scenes.  She was the one that made Cleveland happen for us.
Once we wrapped (and collected a parking ticket) we made our way to State College PA for the final interview of this leg of the tour.  After searching for a good 45 minutes I found a place to pick up something to hold the footage I had shot earlier that day.  Initially I wanted to pick up another 32GB CF card but when I saw the 4GB CF cards were selling for 84 bucks I decided against that.  The HDs I prefer were nearly 200 bucks so that was out as well.  I ended up purchasing a 32GB thumb drive for 30.  At this rate I will probably have a keychain of these little drives once all is said and done.  The hard part is going to be managing everything now that it’s spread out on multiple devices until I can afford a 3TB drive.

Day 7
Our last interview was scheduled for 11am and initially we thought we’d be there for an hour at most.  We ended up talking (mostly off camera) for well over two hours.  I was actually expecting another parking ticket by the time I got back to the truck.  Luckily that wasn’t the case.  After the interview we headed straight home.

While it was an interesting week I’m happy to be home with my husband and my dogs.
Now to go take care of that parking ticket...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

'Junct Tour Day 5

Left Maumee Bay around noonish today for Cleveland.  The two hour drive on 2 was pretty uneventful.  We passed by the Davis Besse nuclear plant again which we had been told by a local is one crack away from a complete meltdown.  That was comforting. Overall a boring drive.

When we got into Cleveland proper I made a b-line for the rock and roll hall of fame.  It was pretty damn cool and it made me want to start shooting music videos.  I think my absolute favorite item in the HoF was a hate letter the Rolling Stones received during the beginning of their career.  The girl called them 'British Pigs' and to go home to England.  Honestly, I couldn't stop laughing while reading it.  The temporary exhibit was dedicated to The Dead.  Two top floors of the HoF was Jerry-fied.  I wish I had pictures of the place but they didn't allow any sort of media to be taken in the museum.

From the museum we grabbed a quick bite to eat before meeting up with our Cleveland liaison Leia (sp?).  She's a super cool chick that reminds me so much of my mom.  Even her home reminds me of my mom's place back in Jersey.  We've spent probably the better part of the night talking about just about everything under the sun as people filtered in and out of the house.  In fact I can still hear her and D in the other room chatting away while I type this blog.

I could probably stay up all night listening but I know we have more interviews lined up in the morning.  When we wrap up around 1 tomorrow we'll be packing up and heading to our last stop of the tour, State College PA.

To take a line from the dead:

What a long strange trip it's been.

UPDATE:  What I forgot to mention was our hostess took us out to a little downtown area in Cleveland Heights that was filled with bookstores, metaphysical shops, thrift stores and tea shops.  It was nice getting the five cent tour from a local.  Plus I picked up a copy of: Easy Riders, Raging Bull.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

'Junct Tour Day 4

We ended up having a late start today but that was a good thing.  In the AM we managed to catch up on the social media promotion as well finish off reel 015.  There is nearly 2 hours of footage in the can from Pittsburgh.  If we hadn't had such a late shoot today I would have started to work on the Toledo footage.  I suspect there's a good hour and a half of footage there.

Our first interview didn't begin until 4:30 with a support staff member at (college omitted).  The man is a driver for the college shuttle and it was interesting because of the pride he took in being part of that institution.  It was visibly obvious the man cared deeply about his school and those that attended it.

How many people in this day an age can honestly say they take pride in their work?

From there we headed uptown to interview two people in their early twenties about what options they had as far as higher education vs trade school is concerned.  The girl, 23, is very enthusiastic about spoken word and hip hop and wants to incorporate that skill in a way to get the word out about the occupy movement and hot button issues. The guy was essentially tossed into the role of contingent a few years back with little to no experience teaching.  Both are interviews I will never forget.

Afterwards we ended up hitting Tony Packos for Hotdogs and Chili.  I'm already regretting it.

I know I've ben promising video blogs along the way but unfortunately I've run out of hard drive space on the laptop as well as the 500 gig external I brought with me.  So look for a super blog sometime the beginning of next week.


'Junct Tour Day 3

We ended up shooting 2 more interviews today in Pittsburgh before hitting the road for Toledo.  Our host, the fantastic Penny filmed with us in the morning and she arranged the second interview with one of her bosses.  It was actually nice scoring the interview with someone who is an administrator getting his take on the adjunct labor abuse issue.  I think his take is really going to improve the over all flow of 'Junct and I'm noticing it isn't just one class of people whose hands are tied, but multiple.  We need to keep following the chain up until we find out who specifically is responsible for this sad state of affairs.

My vision for the film is for it to hit hard with parents of college students.  I want them to see this film and realize that the 50-60 grand they are paying per year is not going to their child's college education and that the money is simply being pissed away.  I believe not all kids when they get out of highschool are destined for college.  Mind you I am not taking some elitist stance where only the rich or privileged should attend college.  What I'm saying is not everyone is suited for college.  If you are mechanically savvy you don't necessarily have to pursue a degree in higher education.  There is no shame in going to a trade school to become an electrician or a mechanic.  We need people with these trade skills.  We are always going to need these people.

I also want to drive the point home that these part time contingent educators in many cases are only repeating this vicious cycle semester after semester because they love their job.  They love sharing the knowledge  they have attained over the years and it's honestly a crime with how they are repayed for the knowledge.  I know for those of you that have been following this issue over the past few years I'm pretty much beating a dead horse but 'm doing this for those not in the know.  How could these educators, who work at several different campuses per semester be able to give ample attention to their students?  Especially when they have no means or time to meet them?

People beyond the walls of academia need to know this.  They need to have this information so they can make an informed decision about their future and/or their children's future.

So that leaves the question:  Where do we go from here?

Tirade aside, we drove to Toledo late this afternoon for the next round of interviews.  The downtown area is so desolate I had to wonder if maybe we came across the set for season three of walking dead.  The place was empty on a Monday at 5.  The last time I saw anything of this magnitude was Atlantic City in the late 80s.  It was unreal!

Immediately the decision was made to look elsewhere for lodging for the night.  We popped across the river and began to head northeast on 2 skirting Lake Erie.  After driving for a good 45 minutes I realized where we were when I saw the cooling tower of the nuke plant.  I had been there a couple years earlier on a road rally to Detroit (A rather long story better told in person because I like flailing my arms around when I speak about it).  Knowing there was nothing for a good 35 miles east I turned around and headed back towards Toledo.  We pulled over at a place called Maumee (sp?) State Park and rented a cabin for the night (the pictures can be found on the 'Junct Tour event page).  This place is amazing!  I'm not saying that because of the free wifi either!

Holy crap!  It's already 1.  Night folks...more adventures tomorrow.

Tomorrow I plan to explore the park before heading back into Toledo proper for more interviews.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

'Junct Tour Day 2

Shoot went well today. We met up with a few people at the United Steel Workers HQ a little after noon today. Two of them were union reps and the third was an adjunct from one of the local universities here in Pittsburgh. It was a very interesting interview as far as how this 'odd couple' like partnership emerged between the steel workers and educators. My impression of the USWs stance on the matter is a zero tolerance policy and that it's complete bullshit.

DISCLAIMER: These are simply my observations and not necessarily USWs stance.

After we wrapped with the USW people we interviewed 2 former students that are with the occupy Pittsburgh movement. One was seriously in debt and had no degree to show for it. The other had contemplated an advanced degree but realized it wasn't feasible giving his current financial situation and lifestyle.

After we wrapped another Occupier joined in the conversation. The guy, whose name escapes me right now, is a world traveler and has this amazing knack for recalling historical events. His specialty is dealing with the Lewis and Clark expedition (mainly it's origins). He's currently trying to turn Bruno (sp?) Island into a recreational park/ historical site. We talked for nearly 3 hours about the local history of Pittsburgh as well as climbing Fuji and Machu Pichu.

Nearly midnight here and I'm now rendering out over 27 gigs of footage that I shot today. We are staying on in Pittsburgh until late afternoon in the hopes of getting two more interviews and then it's off to Toledo.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

'Junct Tour Day 1

First off apologies for not having a VLOg set up for tonight. I haven't had a chance to transfer what little footage I shot today to my laptop for editing.

At some point during the trip I will upload that footage.

Overall, today was pretty uneventful. I left jersey a little after 11 and got to DLS's place in Philly about 12:30. The drive to Penny's place was more or less a straight shot from Philly. We made pretty good time, arriving a little after 6.

The first order of business, after being properly greeted by Prince (a Saint Bernard whose snout is bigger than my two dogs combined), was dinner. Our host took us to a place down the street called Café Sam (link to be provided later when I'm not blogging on my cell). The food was quite good and just the right size as far as portions are concerned. On the menu for me was lobster bisque and angel hair pasta with snails. Honestly, I was torn between the snails and the calamari up until the time the exceptionally perky waitress asked for my order.

After dinner we came back to the house for dessert. My awesome husband had picked up fresh strawberries for me to take on the trip. We had them along with Penny's favorite chocolate from England and something that's like Baileys Irish Cream (but better). I have to get the name of it again.

Tomorrow we'll be interviewing Penny in the morning and then we'll be heading out to interview a union rep from the steel workers at their headquarters. I'm hoping for a cool looking factory with big pieces of equipment that take up a couple stories. We'll be wrapping up the day talking to occupy organizers here in town.

Bring on day two.

Friday, May 18, 2012

'Twas the night before 'Junct

Tomorrow we'll be Pittsburgh bound.  This leg of the tour will include: Detroit, Pittsburgh, Akron and Cleveland but not in that order.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Duct tape will solve everything

Started to gather up the things I’ll be needing for the first leg of the ‘Junct Tour tonight.  Below is a quick 2 min. clip of what I have pulled so far.  If I get the chance during the week I may throw up another video or two to show the progress I made in preparing for the trip.

As far as I know the cities, dates and times are still being hammered out.  Expect us in Pittsburgh by this weekend.  As soon as I know the specifics I will be sure to let everyone know.

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