Thursday, November 18, 2010

Brazil- Arrival

Travel by bus is also difficult

Finally, I am safe in Brazil 6 airports and 40 hours later.  Fighting travels sickness off, (nothing to do with hygienic conditions in developing areas)  and everything to do with  municipal/airport authority institutional capitalism (thank you Panda Express at George Bush International Airport).   I had forgotten what it’s like to fly on non-U.S. airlines:  lots of fresh air in the cabin, food service, multiple beverage services on short flights….. Meanwhile, at George Bush I saw my first “self-service” boarding gate, for an international flight no less.  Apparently our future in the U.S. is even more jobless (and chaotic—no one to control people at the boarding gate??) than I’ve even imagined.  And on the San Francisco-Houston leg of my trip I felt like a fish in an oxygen starved aquarium 

I am now in Santarem, Para State, Brazil.  I will be staying for the next night or two in a hotel best described as 1970’s military dictatorship Internationalist architecture relic.  Think Internationalist more as in 1970’s coup-conspiring ITT, not Le Corbusier.  But, as in all things Brazilian, it is the wonderful people that make it a living place.  And there are definitely worse places to land at 1 a.m after all your plans have been disrupted.

I recommend highly the book,  Amazon Journal: Dispatches from a Vanishing Frontier  by Geoffrey O'Connor  if you have any interest at all in the reality of the not-that-distant Amazonian past and how it ended up portrayed in the media.  One thing I have realized in my preparation for this trip, and already from the very short time I have spent traveling across Brazil, is just how much more complicated the situation is here in the Amazon than I had taken the time before to understand.  As opposed to (what O'Connor refers to as) the eco-kitsch, Indian-kitsch, and political-kitsch, etc. that we have all been fed.   No matter how much we realize that this information is not reality, it is so pervasive that it does end up shaping our perceptions. 

Ceci n'est pas un indien

This is opposed to the good kitsch of which there seems to a fair share here in Brazil and which I hope to share with you as well, like a huge fake Christmas tree constructed out of burlap standing mutely in the 93 degree heat with the tropical birds squawking up a riot.  More later on how similar the internal “dream life” image the media creates in Brazil is to the U.S. version.

Not Christmas in Connecticut

My producing partner arrives hopefully tomorrow, after an unscheduled delay in Lima and being separated from his equipment.  Then, it will be time to get hard at work.  More on that later.  Roughly we will be working in this region till next week, when we head out on the Arapiuns River (Amazon tributary) and later the Tapajos (also an Amazon tributary) River.  My posts will be fragmentary and sporadic, but I hope to share some of the interesting moments I find with you.

Interesting fact that I learned while preparing for this trip:  the Amazon area was a large lake and the river flowed from the lake to the Pacific, not Atlantic.  The geological events that created the Andes mountains reversed the river’s flow.


Monday, November 15, 2010


I have to make this short, as I leave for a month of filming in Brazil tomorrow.  This is definitely a step in the direction to which I see media consumption moving.  Forget watching movies or shows in segregated time blocks, we will be experiencing bits of media constantly and not just from "professional" media producers.  Nightmare or dream?

For sure, the future of media consumption will be imperfect.  Funny that they coded this crazy product but couldn't get all of the video to load at the correct aspect ratio on Vimeo.  They may need to add a couple of teenagers to their marketing team.

Qwiki at TechCrunch Disrupt from Qwiki on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I am now tweeting, mostly about technology and the future of media consumption: @cmieritz.

Also, here is an interesting article that clearly explains how Facebook and Google have become direct competitors (include Apple on the list as well).  Essentially, it is a battle to see which company will become your everything.  I am guessing that Facebook has replaced the Trilateral Commission in the paranoids' minds-eye by now.

O.K., back to my Amazon trip preparations.