West Coast Chops

West Coast Minded Journalism, Art and Culture

#TwitterFiction Begins

1Today is the day. It’s the #TwitterFiction festival. Strap in and get ready to experiment.

I’m proud to say I’ll be an official part of the festivities. In December I went to Everest for the BBC, an adventure that inspired my book High Altitude, which I am now editing (you can read the first few chapters on Wattpad).

The tweeting starts today, Wednesday March 12 at 3 EST, and continues through Sunday. Here’s a look at the official schedule. You’ll probably hear me posting about it online, or in person, if you haven’t already. Please excuse me if I’m overdoing it, or talk your ear off about it—I’m extremely excited. I’ll also be writing a first person piece for Fast Company about the experience (The festival is getting some good press coverage, already).

Years of Twitter chats have prepped me—I hope. High Altitude is a complex, layered story, hard to tell on blank pages, let alone in tweets. So I’m going to give slices, moments, feelings. Expect to see lots of photos, maps, videos. Nothing can do Everest justice but being there yourself. But I’m going to try. 

 

 

 

Need-To-Know

Since last I posted, I signed a contract to write for Fast Company. It’s a big move and I’m really excited to be part of such a fresh, innovative publication. I’ve already gotten a few bylines—and even created a little controversy, and folks talking, after asking some tough questions to a certain tech celeb.

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Things are once again extremely fast paced, no pun intended.

I’m still knee-deep in transcribing the Everest book project, and I’m waiting for my BBC piece to be published. More good things are coming. And some are already here. The only thing to do is keep doing. It’s Sunday and here I am working, watering the garden that is this blog. A little sprinkling to tide it over until the next time. I do what we all do to get what we want: Keep going.

Post Everest And What’s Next

imageI made it. Hundreds of hours, miles, and bumps and bruises later, I made it to Everest Base Camp and back. Right now I’m at home, in Los Angeles, licking my wounds and planning my next steps.

A few weeks post-trek, my knees still hurt, and people keep telling me I’m thinner than they remember. But the trip was a success. I made it to almost 18,000 feet up without serious injury, and managed to pulled off the world’s highest, and perhaps most dangerous, live Twitter chat. Most importantly I met and saw people and places that words can’t truly describe. I feel tremendously lucky, proud, and even bitter-sweet about the whole experience now that it’s all over.

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The hangover from this adventure hasn’t quite worn off, and I’ve been working on two main things since my return. The first is my piece for the BBC, on the human footprint, trash and conservation on the mountain, which is soon due. The second, and perhaps more important (if not more difficult), is a book. That’s right—a book.

I kept a moleskine journal during my trip, writing in it every day both to keep my senses sharp and to keep good notes for my piece. I ended up writing over 150 pages up there, scribbling in cold rooms by the heat of yak-dung fires, in bed with a black diamond headlamp and gloves, and sometimes even on the rocky trail when I just couldn’t wait.

Now back home, safe in toasty 60* fahrenheit Southern California , I’m transcribing and expanding my personal story on the sights, sounds, and people of the Himalayas.

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Everest has been written about before, many times, and I’m not attempting another Into Thin Air. That, and many others like Himalaya, and Everest: Mountain Without Mercy, are classics, in categories all their own. They can’t be duplicated and I’m not attempting to. This is my take, on the people I met, like my guide Suman, amazing men and women who have battled, survived and come out on top despite deep personal tragedy, poverty, and extreme odds. Juxtaposed against the raw natural power of the world’s highest mountains, and an American journalist hungry for adventure and self-discovery, there’s a lot to mine here, and hopefully turn into a gem. In many ways this trip taught me who I am and what I want.

I have a lot of high hopes for the piece, which I’m thinking of calling High Altitude. But it’s very early in the process, and a book takes a lot of time. A lot of time. And a lot of hard work. There’s no guarantees for success, let alone traditional publication, yet before I put the cart before the horse, I’ve promised myself this will be published one way or another, whether online or in print, and perhaps if I’m extremely lucky, both. And that is in part to live experiences like this. 

I’ve tried before to write a book, but I wasn’t ready. Several times I’ve failed, and I only hope I’ve learned enough from those lessons. This time I think I have a story captivating enough to grab readers’ attentions and not let ago until long after they’ve left Everest. Then again, the mountain hangover may be stronger than I realized, and maybe I’m just breathing thin air, not thinking straight…but I shake off those doubts, trying to steady the nerves of a worried artist, still pushing on despite the challenge. This trip, emotionally and physically, has been the hardest and most rewarding of my life. If I can capture even a hint of that experience, I think it’s a worthwhile read. Soon.  

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First Ever Live Twitter Chat From The Mountain – #Everest60

imageIn a social media first, I’m hosting a live Twitter chat from the Himalayas, on the trail to Mount Everest Base Camp. Because of the tech challenges, and the relatively new medium that is Twitter, something like this has never been done before. Until now. 

The chat will be from 9-10 EST, today, December 15. The hashtag to follow is #Everest60. Hope you can make it—I will be covering all things Everest, trekking, and mountain tech. Looking forward to making this happen!

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On The Mountain – #Everest60

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It’s 6:33 pm and I’m in Namche Bazaar, a hamlet perched more than 12,000 feet above sea level. Up here, the air is very thin, oxygen only about 60% of what I would have normally. My head pounds, my body aches. Normal.

It’s the end of day three of my trek. Another 10 or so to go. My body is fighting the extreme altitude, and it’s not been easy. Shortness of breadth, restless sleeping, waning energy. It’s an uphill battle, and I have another 6,000 feet to go.

Here I am below, earlier today, Mt. Everest in the background. Unreal.

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These are the Himalayas, the rooftop of the world, and basically the middle of nowhere. Tech problems (and fatigue) aside, it’s hard to complain with backdrops like these, even if it is challenging.

Along with my brilliant guide Suman, I’m trekking along with two Marines, good people based in Okinawa, Japan.

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Time, and WiFi is short, so I’ll be brief. Tomorrow morning I have to be up bright and early and begin another 15 kilometer trek. I will post when I can, and am sorry that this one is so brief, but my body is starting to break down and I need to rest.

I do plan to host a live Twitter chat from Everest Base Camp, or as close as I can get, on December 12. I have to work on timing as it may be touch and go. Meantime, follow along here on the blog, and via my media wall.

I have a mountain of content on the mountain. So much more to come. I will leave you with this, my landing into Lukla, the day before yesterday. This one really got the adrenaline running.

Soon.

Adam

The Explorer – #Everest60

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There's no sense in going further -- it's the edge of cultivation,"
  So they said, and I believed it -- broke my land and sowed my crop --
Built my barns and strung my fences in the little border station
  Tucked away below the foothills where the trails run out and stop:

Till a voice, as bad as Conscience, rang interminable changes
  On one everlasting Whisper day and night repeated -- so:
"Something hidden.  Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges --
  "Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and wating for you. Go!"

So I went, worn out of patience; never told my nearest neighbours --
  Stole away with pack and ponies -- left 'em drinking in the town;
And the faith that moveth mountains didn't seem to help my labours
  As I faced the sheer main-ranges, whipping up and leading down.

March by march I puzzled through 'em, turning flanks and dodging shoulders,
  Hurried on in hope of water, headed back for lack of grass;
Till I camped above the tree-line -- drifted snow and naked boulders --
  Felt free air astir to windward -- knew I'd stumbled on the Pass.

'Thought to name it for the finder: but that night the Norther found me --
  Froze and killed the plains-bred ponies; so I called the camp Despair
(It's the Railway Gap to-day, though). Then my Whisper waked to hound me: --
  "Something lost behind the Ranges.  Over yonder! Go you there!"

Then I knew, the while I doubted -- knew His Hand was certain o'er me.
  Still -- it might be self-delusion -- scores of better men had died --
I could reach the township living, but....He knows what terror tore me...
  But I didn't... but I didn't. I went down the other side.

Till the snow ran out in flowers, and the flowers turned to aloes,
  And the aloes sprung to thickets and a brimming stream ran by;
But the thickets dwined to thorn-scrub, and the water drained to shallows,
  And I dropped again on desert -- blasted earth, and blasting sky....

I remember lighting fires; I remember sitting by 'em;
  I remember seeing faces, hearing voices, through the smoke;
I remember they were fancy -- for I threw a stone to try 'em.
  "Something lost behind the Ranges" was the only word they spoke.

I remember going crazy. I remember that I knew it
When I heard myself hallooing to the funny folk I saw.
'Very full of dreams that desert, but my two legs took me through it...
And I used to watch 'em moving with the toes all black and raw.

But at last the country altered -- White Man's country past disputing --
  Rolling grass and open timber, with a hint of hills behind --
There I found me food and water, and I lay a week recruiting.
  Got my strength and lost my nightmares.  Then I entered on my find.

Thence I ran my first rough survey -- chose my trees and blazed and ringed 'em --
  Week by week I pried and sampled -- week by week my findings grew.
Saul he went to look for donkeys, and by God he found a kingdom!
  But by God, who sent His Whisper, I had struck the worth of two!

Up along the hostile mountains, where the hair-poised snowslide shivers --
  Down and through the big fat marshes that the virgin ore-bed stains,
Till I heard the mile-wide mutterings of unimagined rivers,
  And beyond the nameless timber saw illimitable plains!

'Plotted sites of future cities, traced the easy grades between 'em;
  Watched unharnessed rapids wasting fifty thousand head an hour;
Counted leagues of water-frontage through the axe-ripe woods that screen 'em --
  Saw the plant to feed a people -- up and waiting for the power!

Well, I know who'll take the credit -- all the clever chaps that followed --
  Came, a dozen men together -- never knew my desert-fears;
Tracked me by the camps I'd quitted, used the water-holes I hollowed.
  They'll go back and do the talking. They'll be called the Pioneers!

They will find my sites of townships -- not the cities that I set there.
  They will rediscover rivers -- not my rivers heard at night.
By my own old marks and bearings they will show me how to get there,
  By the lonely cairns I builded they will guide my feet aright.

Have I named one single river? Have I claimed one single acre?
  Have I kept one single nugget -- (barring samples)? No, not I!
Because my price was paid me ten times over by my Maker.
  But you wouldn't understand it. You go up and occupy.

Ores you'll find there; wood and cattle; water-transit sure and steady
  (That should keep the railway rates down), coal and iron at your doors.
God took care to hide that country till He judged His people ready,
  Then He chose me for His Whisper, and I've found it, and it's yours!

Yes, your "Never-never country" -- yes, your "edge of cultivation"
  And "no sense in going further" -- till I crossed the range to see.
God forgive me! No, I didn't. It's God's present to our nation.
 Anybody might have found it, but -- His Whisper came to Me!

Rudyard Kipling’s “The Explorer,” 1898

First Look At Kathmandu – #Everest60

It’s been almost 24 hours in Nepal. Kathmandu, a city of extremes. Extreme poverty, extreme tourism, extreme old and new cultures merged together. All of this literally fighting for a toehold on pot-holed streets where small cars, bikes and mopeds battle in a chaos theory form of traffic that is truly magical in its power — and amazing that there aren’t more accidents.

My cyber Monday is different than your cyber Monday. Here are my initial looks at the city.

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This is Thamel, a sort of tourist-ghetto full of trinkets, eager shopkeepers and starry-eyed travelers. In the daytime it’s enough to leave me questioning where the real city is.

At night the sounds of Metallica and Rage Against The Machine kept me up deep into the morning. Normally I would like Rage, but even with my window closed I couldn’t sleep, and with jet lag and a major trek approaching, the area took on a sort of spring break vibe, exactly what I wanted to avoid. I can party at home, and I’ve done plenty of that. This trip is about finding something else. A break from the day-to-day turbulence of my own life, at the very least. An attempt to catch my breath in a foreign land.

But to do that I needed a new place to stay. I wanted something away from the main drag, something clean and comfortable. So I left Thamel.

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Where was I going? No, not the Hyatt, although I thought about it.

Away from the tourists, tucked away, past a dusty road, next to a string of foreign embassies is an old palace transformed into a hotel. The Shanker. With prices very affordable for what is considered 5-star accommodations, I instantly fell for it:

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This was where I wanted to be. More removed, but more traditional and old world. A good place to rest before my trek to Everest Base Camp begins. In less than four days I’ll be far from hotels, sipping yak butter in tea houses with no heating, and perhaps no bed. I’ll enjoy the mattress until then—without guilt, or bad dreams.

Here We Go #Everest60

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#Everest60

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In two short days I will be traveling to Nepal for the BBC. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Everest Base Camp, and I’ll spend the next few weeks looking at the human footprint and surprising levels of trash on the mountain.

An estimated 8 metric tons of waste have been dumped on Mount Everest since Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first summited the 29,029 foot peak back in 1953. Discarded oxygen cylinders, ropes, tents, batteries, medicine, plastic, papers, even beer bottles (more than 56,000 have been collected at the foot of the mountain) pock mark the landscape.

In 2011 the sherpa organization Everest Summiters Association, along with the Nepalese government and other nonprofits, collected 1.5 tons of trash, hauling it down to Kathmandu where some of it was reconfigured and turned into artwork by locals. But theres still an estimated 10 plus tons of trash in the “death zone,” and more at the base of the mountain. And it’s not just a cosmetic problem. The trash buildup has caused routes to become more dangerous, and snow and ice to melt, exposing deep crevasses and risking an increase in the death toll. Out of 5,000 attempts, only 3,000 have succeeded, with more than 200 dying in the process. That’s a rate of about 1 in 10 who don’t ever make it off the mountain Nepalis call Sagarmāthā. Despite the risks, and the hefty price, they don’t stop coming. Climbers spend upwards of $80,000 to pay for travel, gear, porters and sherpas, making it the lifeblood of the mountain’s economy and at the same time a future risk for ecological peril. And that’s what this trip is all about—it’s as much a departure from the norm for me as it is a counter intuitive look at the roof of the world.

I will be traveling with a local outfit called Ace the Himalaya. This trip is an 18 day trek beginning in Kathmandu, climbing higher and higher each day to allow the body to be acclimated properly. The piece will be a look at both the ecological and economic problems here, with a first hand account of just how hard it is to clean up the mountain miles away and up from civilization.Image

After several years in the daily trenches of tech and journalism, I’m looking forward to the chance to get away from my reality. I need a break. Badly.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t be off-the-grid completely. I have some top notch gear and tools to share my trip. That includes a Panasonic HC-V720 which has WiFi and live-stream capabilities (meaning wherever I have Internet I can record and stream footage), and a Goal Zero Nomad 13 Solar Panel and recharger which will allow me to charge my devices while I’m trekking during the day (as long as there is sun, which there will be for most of the journey). There is guaranteed wireless in several of the stops on the way up the mountain, and I plan to hold a live web video Q&A and Twitter chat along with other guides and explorers, focused on the conservation and ecology of the mountain. Also hope to blog and put together a dedicated YouTube page to share videos and thoughts, as this will be a wealth of content worth sharing.

Please follow along in real time on Twitter via the #Everest60 hashtag. When I don’t have Internet, I plan to tweet by sending text messages (even if it is expensive).

I’m about 50 hours out from heading to LAX and into a new adventure. 50 hours away…

It Could Be Worse

That about sums it up. I don’t really post here anymore. Real life kicking my ass all over the place. I could take this time to say I’ve done this and that since last I posted. But that’s silly. No one cares. Everyone is too into their own lives to pay attention. And rightly so. I’m just as absorbed in my own bubble as everyone else—probably more so as a member of the media. My message and m.o. for this post: It could be worse. Whatever you’re facing, whatever you’re dealing with, keep that in mind. Count the things you’ve got, not what you don’t. You do that and you keep the balance. For me there’s been uncertainty and there’s been bad times not too long ago. And that only makes the sugar that much sweeter right now. Good things coming. Watch. On the way. 

—AP

Overdue

I haven’t written on this blog in a long time. Neglected? Maybe. Overdue? Surely.

The fact is, real life has taken precedent. Paid posts versus pleasure. Billed hours versus personal time. Still, I come back. Here’s a slice of life. A creation that could have easily never made the page. A time suspended. A moment caught between others. A thought explored.

As I continue to change I will say this: The growth continues, morphing. To what end, I do not know. But I do know this: Each piece is a link in the chain, growing, connecting, moving, developing. Where will I be in time…where will we be? The unknown is both exciting and scary, no way to find out but to travel there. We’re all on a journey, constantly changing.

Enjoy the process, the elders say, hindsight being 20-20. Try, try, try. Do, do, do. Every day a step towards the future. Walk, then run. Run, then fly. Fly with me, high above. Look down. What do you see? Mistakes and victories, hopes and dreams. Friends, allies, enemies. Journeys and stories. All pieces in a greater puzzle.

As I prepare for my 28th year, I write as night becomes day, dark turns to light. Travel with me. Where are we going? What’s next? Ask yourself what you want and what you’re willing to do for it. That’s what’s next. The next step. The price you’re willing to pay is the fee for admission. Whatever you’re willing to do to get there. Is it worth it? Are you willing to sacrifice to get what you want? And if so, how much?

To get it, crossroads are traveled daily. Some easy, some hard. Keep moving, moving, moving. To where and what end? Destiny? Fate? Expectations? When is life ever what we expect? Almost never. When is it easy? When we least expect. Hard? Almost always. Victory sweeter than defeat, I write in a stream of consciousness, discovering thoughts as I go. To the next step, the next place. Come with me. Indulgent? Maybe a bit. Honest? Surely. Tired? To the bones. But keep moving. Keep pushing. One day it makes sense even if it isn’t what you expected. One day we get what we want. What we deserve. One day. Live for today but know another day is coming. Whatever’s next, it’s coming. Nothing to do but be ready. Sharpen up. Whatever’s inside, let it out and breathe a deep sigh of relief. Just let it out. Let it out. Let it out.

#muckedup: The New Tools of Journalism at 5 pm PST / 8 pm EST

Join me today at 5 pm PST / 8 pm PST as we talk about the intersection of tech and journalism in this week’s Muck Rack Twitter chat: #muckedup.

Last week I hosted for the first time, and we talked quote approval. The chat featured journos from Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, and a slew of others—we made so much noise that #muckedup became the top trending topic on Muck Rack.

Join this week as we talk the tools of the trade: what can you not leave home without, what tech makes you a better/worse journo, and anything and everything journo-tech. See you there!

—Adam Popescu

#SBFest


Pumped to be part of the media panel from 2-4 pm on Friday at the Hotel Erwin: http://siliconbeachfest.com/panels.html

#Journchat Recap: The @Storify Version

Check out the Storify of yesterday’s #journchat, graciously made by Gina Goodman aka @cisionNavigator

Topic: The Future of Newspapers!

——Adam Popescu

Guess Who’s Hosting #Journchat?

A few years ago I stumbled onto Twitter unsure and suspicious of its use.

Today I’m such a die-hard, vehement supporter that for a while I pitched its virtues to anyone and everyone who would listen. Some were interested, some scoffed at my glee, some took note. Most pretty much didn’t know what I was talking about. “Why would I use Twitter,” nonbelievers questioned. I’ve since scaled back what some call near-hucksterish acclaim, but if you buy me a drink, or feign enough interest, I’ll glow and share why I think it’s one of the most powerful tools for journalists, and professionals across almost any industry. Bottom line, if you’re in the media, and you want to get take the pulse of realtime news, it’s far past time to get on board. The train’s already moving high-speed, and if you don’t have a ticket yet, it’s time to jump on and play stowaway.

One of the beauties of Twitter is the industry chats. One of the best is Journchat, which I’m excited to say I’m hosting Monday May 28, Memorial Day, from 5-6 PST (special thanks to the media maven behind the chat, Sarah Evans for having me). I know, it’s a holiday, and you’re probably busy barbecuing. But I’m sure you have a smartphone or a tablet, and a few minutes between flipping burgers and hot dogs. So logon.

For those of you who don’t know, #journchat is a weekly discussion of the best and worst in journalism. It’s a forum for journalists, pr and media professionals to gather and share tips, concerns or field questions. Why use it? Because it’s a platform to connect with the industry, speak your mind and get answers. Here’s a preview of the chat: State of newspapers 2012.

1. Is Patch a failure? Reports say the AOL local coverage site is losing $150 million a year. What does this say about the local online community news experiment? (Background)

2. Did Warren Buffett just save the newspaper industry with his planned purchase of 63 local papers for $142 million? Is the man who calls free online news “unsustainable” the next Rupert Murdoch? What happens to journalism (or at least the public perception of unbiased journalism) when one person controls so much? (Background and More)

3. Is Rupert Murdoch getting off the hook too easily for the News Corp. scandal? What about Piers Morgan who allegedly taught employees how to hack? Should CNN punish him? (Background)

4. The New Orleans Times Picayune is moving from a daily to a three time a week print strategy. They promise to keep online coverage 24/7 but will this kill the paper? (Background and More)

5. Gawker plans to monetize comments on its site: good or bad for the industry? Is this the future of paywalls, and can you see your pub doing this? (Background)

– Adam Popescu

My New Best Friend: @therealstanlee

Proud to say the Walt Disney of comic books, Stan “the man” Lee has one of my collages on display at his office in Beverly Hills. In the words of the man behind the Amazing Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk and the Uncanny X-Men: ’nuff said!

—Adam Popescu

Long Overdue #SocialChat Wrap


I don’t think anyone can experience the true in-you-face real-time power of social media (unless you’re live-tweeting a political protest, or) until you host a twitter chat.

If you ever get the opportunity, take it. Great to improve the reach and draw of whatever expertise you hold through social media.

The only drawback is, when it’s over, regular old Twitter will suddenly seem so…slow. Number don’t lie: http://beta.hashtracking.com/ht-pro-rpt/alanknecht-socialchat-2012-01-09/. Neither will I: hosting #SocialChat was exhilarating, nerve racking, and challenging. I really wanted to answer all of my questions and give honest feedback to participants. Not easy when questions and mentions are flying at you 100 mph.

In the chat’s hour I got 105 mentions, 14 retweets and more than 59,000 screen impressions (serious nerd numeros). My firefox pinwheel kept moving, but I made it. You will too if you get the chance. Follow something you’re really into and contribute. Keep at it and someone will notice and come knocking…And if they’re not knocking, go knock on a door yourself if you’re really interested in hosting. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Thanks again to Alan Knecht and his wife Michelle for bringing me into the fold.

—Adam Popescu

#STOPSOPA #BLACKOUT

Jan. 18, 2012 #STOPSOPA

Below is a list of sites uniting for today’s online blackout in protest of SOPA and the Protect IP Act.

http://www.cdt.org/report/list-organizations-and-individuals-opposing-sopa

Make your voice heard and sign the blackout petition:

http://sopastrike.com/

So I’m Hosting #SocialChat Monday

Super excited and many thanks to Alan K’necht for giving me the opportunity to host. If you’re a fan of #wjchat, #journchat or social media chats in general, this will be a fun, hopefully thought-provoking live discussion on tweeting for media companies, focusing on the ethics, do’s and don’ts, and proven tactics to run a successful media campaign via Twitter.

Background on me, I have tweeted professionally for LA Magazine (@losangelesmag), the Beverly Hills Courier (@bhcourier), Marketplace Radio (@Mktplaceradio), California Apparel News (@apparelnews) and worked as a consultant for Night Tap (@NightTap) and author Petru Popescu (@petrupopescu).

I tweet at @adampopescu and via @westcoaschops.

For some background on Twitter chats, check out this post I wrote for ReadWriteWeb, How to Get Started With Twitter Chats.

Tune in Monday, Jan. 9 at 6pm PST/ 9pm EST to get involved with #SocialChat.

—Adam Popescu

 

Eric Gordon, We Hardly Knew You

Farewell Eric, We Hardly Knew You

So, it finally happened. The nba capos nodded their heads in approval and the big boss pulled the trigger…the first mega trade of the shortened season, played like the icy talks themselves: controlled, careful and conniving.

Today, Chris Paul was traded, and the Clippers did the unthinkable. They gave up Eric Gordon. That’s right, LA got Chris Paul, which catapults them into postseason talk, and is huge. That’s macro. But micro, they gave up their blue chip and Olympian, Eric Gordon. Arguably one of the best young two-guards in the game, last year Gordon averaged 22 points, 4 boards and 4 assists a game. I know this is probably for the best for the city, and am looking forward to the pick-and-roll game to come with Paul and Blake Griffin, I’m sorry to see Gordon go. Especially given that his career was really set to blossom this year. I wish him luck with the Hornets, and am sorry to report that Gordon found out about the trade aboard a bus, surrounded by fans. What do you say to that? What do you say to fans?

From ESPN: According to NBA.com, Gordon was on a bus with Clippers season ticket holders, making fan stops when he got word of the trade. Gordon told ESPNLosAngeles.com the deal was “disappointing.”

“People in the organization were telling me I was going to probably stay here, stick around,” he said. “But you don’t know who to trust or follow, give you a lead on anything. I’m just going to take it for how it is. It is kind of tough to swallow, but I’m just a basketball player. I’m not going to have any hard feelings about it.”

Good-bye Eric Gordon. Hello Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups. Oh yeah. You know it’s a saturated market when an Olympic gold winner, nba finals winner and nba finals mvp signs with a team and nobody really gives a damn. That’s the power of basketball and the power of immediacy. What’s hot is hot—now. Right now Paul and the Clippers are hot. Let’s hope they keep it. The acquisition of Paul, Billups, and last week Caron Butler at the small forward truly propels the Clippers into the conversation in LA basketball. But as Jalen Rose said on ESPN tonight, the Lakers still have Kobe, Pau and Andrew Bynum. As long as they have that triumvirate of core players, most still give them the nod between the two teams. But with internal strife over the Lamar trade, and further trade clouds very possible, things remain to be seen at Staples Center.

welcome to staples

Starting lineup for the LA Clippers (projected):

PG Chris Paul

SG Randy Foye

SF Caron Butler

PF Blake Griffin

C DeAndre Jordan

Playoffs? Yes, please.

—Adam Popescu

Thanks for the memories Lamar

Lakers sources are reporting that Lamar Odom was so upset about his trade bait status in the Chris Paul fiasco that he asked to be traded. Whether or not that’s true is hard to say, but secondary to that is the fact that the Lakers pulled the trigger, sending him to one of their biggest rivals, the Dallas Mavericks. So what did the Lakers get in return? Money off the cap and a draft pick. “Seemingly nothing,” Kobe Bryant said Sunday.

From media day via the LA Times:

When the best player on (supposedly) the best basketball team in the world says “he doesn’t like it,” clearly there’s a problem here. For the Lakers, whose season starts in a mere few weeks, there are questions aplenty, and a definite shaky identity going into the shortened season.

Meanwhile, rumor mills have Chris Paul now interested in hooping with Blake Griffin and the Clippers if he can’t get on the Knicks or Lakers…Plus Clippers big man of the future DeAndre Jordan just signed an offer sheet with the Warriors, hich means the Clips have three days to match the offer. “Earlier Sunday, a league source told ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher that the team planned to match the Warriors offer.” So Jordan will probably resign on a team that is turning into a dynamic young squad. Could Chris Paul really go to the Clippers? Could it happen? Wait and see…it’s getting weird here…

—Adam Popescu

State of the nba in LA

The league’s decision to nix yesterday’s Chris Paul-Lakers trade shows just how bad the state of basketball really is right now. The danger of having the nba (still in lower case)  have a stake in one of it’s teams, the Hornets,  means all 29 owners have a piece of the club, and a say on trades. And Grand Capo David Stern commissions over all of them.

“It’s dangerous for a league to actually have ownership in a team to begin with because of these type of circumstances…” —Derek Fisher, Lakers point guard, president of the players union, and teammate to trade-bait Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol.

With all this swirling around Laker-land, the more psychologically stable ball club going into the season is the purple and gold’s cross-locker room rivals, the Clippers. At 50 to 1 odds, Blake Griffin and company sure have a mountain to climb, but once they get to the top…

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This just in, the Lakers-Hornets-Rockets trade has been resubmitted to the league! Just broke by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.

The new deal: “In the details available to Yahoo! Sports, Paul goes to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets, and Houston still sends Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, and a 2012 first-round pick to the Hornets. The main changes in the deal, originally nixed by the NBA, will come between New Orleans and the Lakers, sources say.”

Back to the waiting game…

—Adam Popescu

The Photo Everyone’s Talking About

#N17 : Occupy Portland Protester Elizabeth Nichols

Photo by Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian

#SOPA : RIP Internet As We Know It

Within the online community, there’s widespread disdain for SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act. Mainly, that new restrictions would hobble the tech sector, one of America’s few economic bright spots. It seems SOPA’s latest threat, according to CNET is IP-blocking, which means that Internet providers would then monitor and block user access to sites suspected of copyright infringement.

“What a sad display: ignorance of technology ignorance of economics ignorance of the Constitution. #SOPA ” – Journalist Rob Pegoraro tweeted this week.

Below is the Center for Democracy and Technology‘s take. Read it and decide for yourself:

—Adam Popescu

State of the Nation

The Occupy Wall Street movement has grown from local to global. From dozens to hundreds to thousands. After initial success, it’s now at a turning point in the movement — the second phase. It can either devolve into its anarchistic tendencies, or unify to create a more powerful voice. The crux right now is local governments joining forces and evicting protesters in New York and other encampments. This will force the movement underground, or in direct confrontation with the powers that be, and this change could force some real direction and movement, sluggish at best with group sentiment leading decision making, rather than centralized leadership. It’s very possible that now this fracturing, or attempt at fracturing the group, will eliminate the fringe members, and galvanize the die-hards.

Occupy Wall Street is calling tomorrow, November 17, or #N17, a day of action, two months to the day that the occupation began in Zuccotti Park.

To stay on point with all of the varied Occupy news, check out Greg Mitchell at The Nation. He just released released an ebook based on his very popular Occupy Blog: 40 Days That Shook the World: from Occupy Wall Street to Occupy Everywhere. Pick it up—which I guess means downloading now.

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One of the biggest stories regarding Occupy you don’t hear enough of is the media blackout going on—whether suspicious social media control, restricted airspace to not allow helicopter camera views, reporters barred from covering events, even reporters getting detained and arrested for doing their job, amid the protest.

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One of the best stories I’ve kept up with Occupy, is the flack Jay-Z and Rocawear have gotten for releasing an Occupy All Streets t-shirt. It was reported in the WSJ that Rocawear removed the pages from their website.  Yesterday, I visited the site, was able to find the image of the shirt, and purchase. It’s on back order til the middle of December, but if you want, Jigga man gon give it t’ya.

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And from one occupation to another…After failing to work out a deal, arguing over nickel and diming each other, the nba players union disbanded, the season was canceled, and the players are now filing an antitrust suit against the owners. Ech. Disgusting. When people can’t get enough work to feed their families, living check to check, these guys can’t agree on how many millions they get to pocket off basketball.

The nba is now written in lowercase. We have entered into what commissioner david stern calls the “nuclear winter of the nba.” Not only will this be a stunning loss to revenue and the basketball culture, but overall goodwill among men is severly chopblocked on this one—Andrew Bynum- Jose Barea style. Dirty.

Here lies the game. It was once great. Now it is gone. RIP nba.

—Adam Popescu

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