Unexpected circumstances found me at the Fairmont talking to Ira Glass of This American Life.

“I really wanted to come see you talk tonight,” I told him. “I was just too cheap to buy a ticket. But my friend here” — I pointed to David — “broke up with his girlfriend last night, so he had an extra ticket.”

I also gave Ira one of my business cards, which are designed to make an impression. They’re plain brown cardboard rectangles with “” hand-written with a Sharpie. When I explained that we’d been making a show “kind of like This American Life but not as good” for twelve years, he seemed interested, and he mentioned that they were shooting a TV pilot for Showtime.

“I’m not supposed to say anything about it,” he qualified. “Actually I’m under contractual obligation to say nothing.”

Then he was whisked away for a photo.

Later, at the Orpheum, he told a whole theater full of people the same thing: “We’re making a pilot for Showtime, which is never going to work out, which is why we’re doing it.”

And again he added, “Don’t tell anybody.” So you didn’t hear it from me.

Switched Switch

9358 Thermostat

A few weeks ago our electrician friend, Mike Kaplan, spent an evening examining some of the fucked-up old wiring in our house. He’s going to be back to do some work in March, but in the meantime he advised me that the our fire hazard electric heater probably just needed a new switch.

I tracked down the part on a website called Venting Direct, and ordered it for $35 (plus $5 for shipping). I thought that was steep, but of course it’s a small price to reduce the chance of our house burning down.

At first I thought I’d have Mike do it, but today I took matters in hand and replaced the thermostat myself. It was really quite easy.

9358 Parts

The new switch feels much more solid. It clicks into place when you turn it off. And, best of all, the heater won’t be turning on all by itself anymore. I hope.

Defend New Orleans?

Elliott (a prof here at the university) asked me if I know of a group called “Defend New Orleans.” Actually he wasn’t sure if they’re a group or just a slogan. Someone handed him some stickers on Mardi Gras, because he moved some pylons onto Frenchmen to stop cars from coming through the block party. The guy with the stickers said they’re a group that likes stuff like that.

The stickers said “Defend New Orleans.”

Later, Elliott found them on the web. The page is somewhat mysterious. Just pix of people wearing t-shirts and some links to other groups.

Two icons appear on the stickers, on the shirts and on the website: a skull with a fleur de lis and a rifle.

Elliott speculates:

I assume those are meant to protest a) the Saints taking money that could go to better causes and b) crime. I’m not sure though.

I have no clue, but I’d like to learn more.


Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on an interactive Flash movie for BibleDudes. It simulates an archaeological dig, and you can explore 29 different stratagraphical layers, with artifacts and descriptions of the period.

The time-consuming part of this has been producing the 58 necessary illustrations, two for each level, each based on a photograph of an actual artifact.

But as of today, I’m finally finished with the illustrations. I saved the most intricate illustration for last, and I’m particularly happy with the way it turned out:


It’s a polychrome footed basin from Iznik (Ottoman Empire, ca. 1585 CE). Yes, that’s right, I’m posting a picture of an old ceramic pot. Is this boring enough for you, Bill?

Lest it sound like I’m complaining, I’m not. Quite the opposite. I enjoy this aspect of my job. Working on interesting multimedia projects like this is fun.

Now I just need to revamp the navigational interface.

Annoying People

  1. People who take the elevator to go up one floor when stairs are available. Using the elevator to go up two flights of stairs is almost as annoying. For some it’s a matter of physical laziness, but for many it’s more mental laziness. They just don’t think about taking the stairs. They take the elevator out of habit, even though it is wasteful of both their time and our resources. And that annoys me, especially because I have to take the elevator to get to my office. It’s on the fifth floor, and I’d walk all five flights if I could, but the geniuses who designed this building cut the stairwell off at the fourth floor.
  2. People who don’t get out of my way. Like I’m walking down the sidewalk and a pair of people is coming the other way. They’re walking two abreast. I, obviously, am not. I shouldn’t have to vacate the sidewalk to make room for them. And yet, I do, to avoid a collision. Essentially they’re running me off the road. That’s just rude.
  3. People who walk on the bike path. Pedestrians have sidewalks. Cars have the road. Why can’t we reserve the bike path (of which their are precious few in New Orleans) for bikes? But if you have to walk on it, make room for the bikes.
  4. People who block the bike path with their cars. Because of the way the Jeff Davis bike path is situated, cars coming to a stop on cross-streets often end up blocking the path. I don’t really blame people who do this; it’s confusing. It would be nice if their were markings on the street, similar to the striping for pedestrian crosswalks.
  5. People who don’t use turn signals. Not signalling your turn makes you unpredictable and therefore dangerous.
  6. Motorists who feel the need to give a warning honk when rolling up from behind. I’m on a bike, so I’m not enclosed behind glass windows. I can hear your internal combustion engine as you approach. The honk doesn’t help. It only startles.
  7. Parking honkers. Especially when they’re outside my house. They roll up and, instead of getting out of their car and knocking on the door of the person they’re picking up, they just sit their and honk. And honk. And honk. God, that’s annoying. Taxis are one thing, but regular civilians shouldn’t be so lazy and obnoxious. I’ve sometimes been known to start our car honking (via remote control) in response.
  8. People who honk for any reason except life-threatening emergencies. I don’t honk to say hi. I don’t honk when I’m mad. I don’t honk the horn of our car ever, really. Neither should anyone else, unless the situation is extremely urgent. Car horns are as annoying as hell.
  9. The guy who parks his Chevy Avalanche in front of our house every day. Is it a truck, or an SUV, or a tank? I’m not sure, but it’s almost as big as our house. Why would they name a vehicle after a natural disaster anyway?
  10. Cyclists who ride against traffic. I ride to the right so cars can pass me. It’s quite alarming to encounter a cyclist coming the other way — straight at me. One of us has to veer left (into traffic) or right (off the road) or we’ll collide. Naturally the person riding the wrong way is usually ignorant that he or she is doing anything wrong, so they think they have the right of way.
  11. People who don’t eat pork. Religious prohibitions against eating pork don’t annoy me. I have no beef with vegetarians either. I can respect that. It’s those non-Jewish, non-Muslim people who eat all kinds of meat — except pork. What the hell? It makes no sense at all.
  12. Jimmy Pardo. ‘Nuff said.


This information is about seven years old. I put it here just to experiment with the new WordPress “pages” feature. I hope to update it soon!

The (Short) Story of My Life

I was born just before the Summer of Love, the son of a pure-blooded German-American farm girl and a poor boy from the big city of Chicago. I was a quiet child, bookish, solitary.

Professionally Speaking

I’m an independent television producer with strong interests in new media. I’ve produced nearly 100 full-length television programs, including the award-winning ROX program, which became the first TV series on the Web in 1995. My credits also include a promotional video for Levi’s 501, a CD-ROM for the American Lung Association, and a multimedia website for NUVO Newsweekly.

I’m currently teaching Field Production and Digital Post-Production at Indiana University’s Department of Telecommunications. I’m working on a Master of Arts in new media.

Since 1989, my independent work has been seen in numerous cable and broadcast television markets; featured on PBS, MTV, and the Howard Stern Show; honored at national and international film festivals; reviewed in Time, Wired, and the Village Voice; and seen by thousands every week on the Internet.

And yet I’m still humble.

Important Documents


Where I’m From

I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. But I grew up in Greenwood, Indiana, a suburb on the south side of Indianapolis. I spent a year in Sweden as an exchange student. Since 1986 I’ve lived in Bloomington, Indiana.

When I was Born

I was born January 17th, 1967, just after the first SuperBowl and just before the Summer of Love. That makes me how old? You do the math. My zodiac sign is Capricorn, the goat-fish. According to the Chinese calendar, I was born in the year of the horse, I think.

My Name

My parents named me Barton, after Bart Starr, who was in the Superbowl the year I was born. But I was never much of an athlete. My middle name, Paul, commemorates my great-grandfather Paul Hollmann. My surname, Everson, has an interesting story behind it. It’s misspelt, mispronounced, and just plain phony. Ask me sometime and I’ll tell you.


I met Joe Lambert of the Center for Digital Storytelling.

Joe Lambert

Joe was here in New Orleans to advise the development of the Plessy Park Project, which aims to build a civil rights memorial park on the site where Homer Plessy got arrested in 1892. (I’m onboard as the editor for an instructional DVD that’s being made on the side.) It’s a worthy project. The end result promises to be incredible. In the meantime, it is bringing together many talented people, and I’m certainly glad to be a part of it in some small way.

But I was particularly intrigued to meet Joe, because Thom Gillespie, the director of my grad program at IU, has had so many good things to say about him over the years.


It may seem ridiculous, but I gave up alcohol for Lent. Even though I’m not Christian, I find something ever-so-slightly appealing in the idea. I like to break my habits. It’s not just for the sake of my innate perversity; breaking habits is refreshing. Plus not drinking for forty days might even be healthy.

Yesterday was day number ten. Xy and I went out for a fine dinner at Tommy’s Cuisine, a relatively new restaurant which is located right underneath our old apartment in Julia Place. The host seated us and asked if we wanted anything to drink.

“Can they make a Sazerac?” I asked.

The host winked at me. “The best in the city.”

Totally habitual. It wasn’t until the drink arrived that I remembered I was on a sobriety binge. But I was too embarrassed to send it back, and too cheap to let it go to waste. So I drank it.

What the hell, I had two. They were good.

I don’t take the Lenten thing to seriously, but I wish I’d remembered. Ah well. Today, I’m back on the wagon.


Our cinematic journey through the alphabet continues. There sure were a lot of H films on my list. 26 to be exact. (Compared to only three films that started with the letter G.)



  • Hard Times — I’m not into Charles Bronson or James Coburn but this movie, set in New Orleans, was surprisingly good.
  • The Heartbreak Kid — Charles Grodin does Neil Simon.
  • Heart of Glass — Bizarre. Herzog hypnotized his actors for this one. If you only watch it once, turn on subtitles and play the commentary track.
  • A High Wind in Jamaica — James Coburn again. He grates on my nerves, but this was fun.
  • House of Sand and Fog — Good and depressing.
  • Harvey — Really good; seems like it should have been great; why wasn’t it?
  • Hud — Stark and sad.
  • Hero — Epic historical martial arts fantasy. Visually dazzling.
  • Hope & Glory — The Blitz from a kid’s perspective.
  • The Hours — I’m not sure I really understood half of what was going on here.
  • Huey Long — Documentary by Ken Burns. I didn’t really know Jack about Huey. Seems he almost became an American dictator.

Mixed bag — I enjoyed these pretty much, but with some reservations:

  • Hamlet — The 1948 Olivier version.
  • Happy Accidents — Romantic comedy with a science fiction twist.
  • Heavy Traffic — Bakshi animation.
  • Hidden Agenda — Political intrigue in Northern Ireland.
  • Holes — If I was a kid, or if I had a kid, maybe I would have liked this more.
  • The Homecoming — Oddly compelling. Or was it just odd?
  • The Hospital — Great Scott!
  • Hoosiers — I wouldn’t have liked this as much if I hadn’t lived most of my life in Indiana. Hell, I would never have even watched it in the first place.

Not so good:

Downright awful:

Didn’t actually watch:

  • Hiroshima Mon Amour — Sent it back to Netflix after keeping it for a few weeks. I just couldn’t get in the mood to watch this film.

So now we’re gearing up for the letter I, which should be Interesting. The Iceman Cometh is four hours long, and I, Claudius is almost eleven hours…

Red Beans & Tags

I just discovered the Technorati Tags page, and I was tickled to see that a picture I just posted on Flickr was displayed at the top of the Food page (but not for long). It is, however, the sole content listed for the tag.

Red Beans & Rice

Oh, and in case this picture makes you hungry, here’s the recipe:

Soak the beans overnight
Bring to a boil
Brown sausage and salt pork, then add ’em to the beans
Sauté celery, bell pepper and onion, add to beans
Season with salt, pepper, bay leaf, etc.
Simmer for two hours or longer
Serve over rice



Reading the promotional text on the back of my Sunsweet Gold Label Cherry Essence Dried Plums led me to the Nutrition Density Index. Basically it’s just a big image which looks a lot like the back of the fruit package which led me there in the first place. No new information. It’s one of the lamer attempts at web design I’ve seen in a while, considering it’s a product of a big company like Sunsweet. Why, they’re the “world’s largest handler of dried tree fruits.” Their growers produce a third of the world’s prunes, for the love of God. And they can’t afford a real web page?

What’s more, my browser tells me this page hasn’t been updated since Wednesday, July 28, 2004 9:47:20 AM. Yet it still says “Site under construction, come back soon.” Surely a big company like Sunsweet can get a page up and running in a timely fashion? After all, they’re advertising it on the back of their packaging which ships all over the world.

I note the image file on display is named “tempwebfix.jpg,” but in my estimation six months (almost seven) hardly qualifies as a temporary fix. I mean if it was government or academia I could understand it, but this is Corporate America.

Well, maybe their promotional budget got pruned.

Broken Handlebar

The right handlebar of my bicycle broke off as I was riding across D’Hemecourt on the way home from work yesterday. It broke off right in my hand. I couldn’t believe it. I almost wiped out.

Broken Handlebar

I discovered that it’s damned hard to ride with one hand. Riding is so deeply intuitive it feels instinctive, though of course it’s learned, and you don’t think about it until something throws you off. The missing right handle was profoundly disturbing. So I rode — carefully — to the local bike shop.

Anyway, now I gots a new set of handlebars, extra big size, and I’m back in business.

I tried to get a helmet too, but they didn’t have one that fit my extra-large head. The guy at the bike shop recommended I look for model called the “King Head,” which they don’t carry at the shop. He blew me some noise about how they wouldn’t be available online. Looks like he was wrong about that.


Today I discovered that WordPress version 1.5 had been released upon the world, and I upgraded the b.rox blog with nary a glitch. (Well, maybe one or two. Minor things.) But, damn, so many improvements it makes my head spin. The default template looks so good I hardly felt the need to customize it at all, and it’s definitely better than my crappy homegrown attempt, which I am herewith retiring.

I had a ball making new header images for the new template, which are now on display in random rotation. Some look very nice, and some, um, don’t.

I’m going to test drive the new version for a few days, and if everything seems kosher, I’ll look into upgrading the other blogs hosted on

Kudos to the open source heroes who make this happen.

Green Valentines

When I was a wee lad in elementary school, I was fascinated to read about the origin of the modern “heart” shape, which looks nothing like the anatomical human heart. It all goes back to Saint Valentine, the Xian martyr, who was locked up in prison, and sent notes of love (presumably agapeic love, not erotic) to his fellow Xians. Since he didn’t have any paper, he wrote on leaves which were shaped like what we now think of as a heart.

I thought this was so cool that I made valentines out of green construction paper that year. My classmates already thought I was weird. This merely confirmed it.

Lit Rock

One Ring Zero

We went to see a musical duo called One Ring Zero at my favorite bookstore. It seemed like everyone we knew was there, including Ben Hearst — turns out his brother Michael is one of the guys in the band.

The music was awesome. They perform quirky pop ditties with lyrics written expressly for them by famous authors, using odd instruments like a theremin and a claviola. It was a combination performance and signing for their CD/book, As Smart As We Are.

I didn’t want to wait in line to have mine signed by the actual musicians, so I got mine signed by Michael Hearst’s brother and his second cousin, who was also in attendance.


For the last few years I’ve actually kind of enjoyed going in to work on Ash Wednesday. The sudden transition back to so-called normality after the craziness of Carnival was bracing. Plus, school was not in session, so it was very quiet on campus. It was a good time just to putter around the office, catch up on things, and reflect on the madness that was Mardi Gras.

But this year, for the first time, Ash Wednesday is a staff holiday, and I’m finding this is mighty enjoyable too. I’m spending the day puttering around the house — I finally fixed a leak under the kitchen sink — reading, and reflecting on the madness that was Mardi Gras.

Forget about the big parades on Mardi Gras. The most fun you can have is by masking. Dress up in a weird costume with your friends and you are the parade.

Purple Xy Lucy, Erica, Scott

We (Xy and Scott and Erica and me) wanted to hook up with the mysterious Society of St. Ann, a foot parade that’s been going since 1969, a collection of some of the most mind-blowing costumes you’ll ever see. We got to the R-Bar around 9:30 am. There were quite a few costumed freaks hanging out, but nowhere near the crowd I’d expected. We got some drinks and drank some shots — some guy bought a round of vodka shots for the house — then noticed a small sign posted on a pillar out front, announcing that St. Ann had moved to the Friendly Bar, a few blocks away. So we made our way over there.

Later, I heard that the R-Bar had advertised that it was the place to meet for St. Ann, and that was a non-starter for the organizers of parade. It’s an underground krewe, see. It can’t be advertised or commercialized. I can respect that. And even if it’s not true, it’s a good story.

We spent a long time at the Friendly Bar, waiting for the Society with an ever-burgeoning group of revelers in strange and wonderful garb. This was probably my favorite part of the day.

As for the parade itself, it was hallucinatory. I intentionally left the camera at home, so I don’t have any pictures, and these costumes have to be seen to be believed.

I had fun with my own costume. I made a little girl cry, or at least quake in fear, but soon she came back to announced, “I’m not afraid of you!”

It was sunny and warmer than expected, and the mask was not exactly comfortable. I had tunnel vision. I could hear pretty well, but no one could hear me. So I shut up and just watched.

We stuck with the parade about halfway through the Quarter, then peeled off and got some lunch at Coop’s, and after lunch headed back to Jackson Square to see the ritual confontation between the fundamentalists and the people who make fun of them. There were guys dressed like Jesus toting giant crosses and preachers spewing hellfire and brimstone through bullhorns and people with signs mocking religion and some punk kids dancing around the beer-soaked ashes of a bible. It was quite a spectacle.

While I was watching, right in front of me actually, a guy came up, saw what was going on, apparently got all pissed of by the blasphemy he was beholding, and he hauled off and punched one of the punk kids in the face! I couldn’t believe it. I got between him and the kid, who seemed more than willing to stand his ground. I tried to keep them apart, but the “Christian” got in another punch before the crowd dragged the two of them apart. I’m sure it looked kind of funny, King Death breaking up a fight.

Shortly thereafter, the cops rolled up and took the punk kid away in cuffs, and at least one of his friends. The violent Christian was long-gone.

And then it started to rain. So we headed home. On the way we passed a line of Jesuses with giant crosses headed toward the Square.

In retrospect, if the cops had showed up earlier, I might have ended up spending the night in prison too. I wonder.

I’m already thinking about next year’s costume. And I really want to start a foot parade from Mid-City to the Quarter. I figure if I start talking about it now, maybe it’ll happen in a year or two.