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October 2008

Flip Video: First Video

Got a Flip Mino from my dear mother for my birthday (which is Tuesday, whoo!), and this is a test video to see how well it shoots. Took this video at a house in Potrero Hill which is where a newly married couple, friends of Ian's, are living while their Mission District apartment is rid of mold. The home I shot with the Flip camera is chock-full of art, mostly the distorted female form kind.


Johnny & Sheri's Sublet from brittney gilbert on Vimeo.


Because the Yelp Review Alone Did Not Satiate My Thirst for Revenge

Dear Reader: NEVER, EVER call Yellow Cab City of Albany. If you see one of their vehicles, do not flag it down. Instead, flip it off.

This morning I had an appointment at 8 a.m. The appointment is 2 or so miles away from my home. At 7:29 a.m. I phoned this cab company who picked up the phone and yelled, "HELLO!" I told them where I was, and where I needed to go.

"ONE-SIX-TWO-TWO 9th STREET...", he said. He hadn't been listening. I know this, because he cut me off as I initially told him my address. Again, I told the man on the phone where I lived. "15 minutes," he told me, and hung up.

Eighteen minutes later I called back to ask if the cab was still coming. He said he would call me right back. 30 seconds later he did, to tell me the cab was 2 minutes away. 5 minutes later I rang this crappy company again.

"Oh no," the man said when I informed him the taxi still hadn't arrived. At this time it was less than 10 til 8. I began complaining that I would be late to my appointment because the cab was missing, and that's when this fine, upstanding business man HUNG UP ON ME. Naturally, I called right back.

This is when he began screaming at me, telling me something about the driver, but I could not understand him. I tried to speak, but was once again hung up on.

In the end I had to cancel my appointment, and because I did not give 48 hours notice it may cost me $60.

Never, ever call this company, ever. I don't care if you accidentally cut your arm off and all the ambulances in the Bay Area are MIA. You'll die in a pool of your own blood waiting for these losers to do their job. Avoid at all costs. 100% unprofessional and absolutely unreliable.

[cross-posted at Yelp]


Know Before You Go TJing

Hey, Nashville, I hear you are getting a Trader Joe's. Lucky you. In addition to enjoying dried chile mango, super cheap fresh flowers and delicious frozen foods, may I suggest the Shiraz version of Two Buck Chuck? A TJ's stocker himself told me that the shiraz is the best $2 wine they carry, and that the Two Buck Chuck in cabernet is really uneven. There. So, now you know.

Oh. Wait, nevermind.


I Am Not a Journalist

It has been asked, by local media mavens and anonymous assholes alike, what the hell I'm doing at CBS 5. A comment I made in response to someone who asked me why I wasn't doing any "newsgathering" at the station perhaps can clear that up:

[M]y role here is to read, promote, highlight and otherwise cover the local blogosphere. We have a bevy of talented and tenacious reporters and producers on staff who do a fantastic job at newsgathering. By having someone reading hyperlocal blogs in house, CBS 5 can be aware of myriad local issues that no news team can thoroughly cover 100% of the time. Thanks to blogs like Claycord.com, and CBS 5's willingness to listen to area bloggers and have a relationship with them, newgathering can be a symbiotic process--not to mention a new and exciting one. I like the notion that a news team is listening to local citizens who might just know better than they do what is going on in their neighborhoods. It shows respect for the viewer and a real concern for the community.

You want to know something? I'm a shitty newsgatherer. Hard news is not my bag. My degree is in magazine journalism, a certificate I got in hopes of writing long-form profile pieces, or maybe film criticism. This blogging in a newsroom thing fell into my lap, but never once have I ever stated that I am a reporter. I am not. I don't even consider myself a journalist.

Because I publish for a news station, people want to box me in to what *they* think newsroom employees should be. I'm the first to admit that an opinionated blogger in the newsroom is a jolt to an age-old system, but I'm just doing the job I've been asked to do. Which is to cover the local blogosphere the best way I know how--by blogging about it.

Here's the thing, though: I don't have to do any original reporting for the station to benefit. The Bay Area is crawling with people passionate about their communities. They have their feelers out, covering the legislature, watching their streets and otherwise covering the San Francisco-area like a blanket. In fact, there are so many awesome local bloggers out there breaking and reporting news that you need a human to point you to the best and most important stuff. This, my friends, is my job.

Sure, I could provide more and better original content. I could do longer, more thoroughly researched pieces. I have vast room for improvement. I am too often lured by the pressure to post more and more often, and my work suffers for it from time to time. I can be lazy; it's true. But I don't feel like the way I need to improve is by doing shoeleather reporting. There are better folks at that than me, and I've got other things to offer. I'm not the best writer in the world, nor am I all that funny. I'll agree with you there. But I won't agree that I need to be out "doing real reporting," because my title is blogger. Not reporter. Let's leave real reporting to the experts--the working journalists and the citizen ones who live and work and play in the communities they cover.

UPDATE #1: Here's how my job as a non-journalist blogger pays off:

I never liked channel 5.I was always a ktvu kind of guy. But ever since I started reading claycord I've noticed they cover our area better than anybody else,and now I watch them every night and read their website everyday.

KTVU is #1 in this market. Sure, this is just one person's account, but this is a new way of winning viewers in the digital age--proving your trust as a news providers in innovative ways.