November 24, 2009

Foxen Winery

{Pretty cows on the CA country side}

What is the perfect way to kick off Thanksgiving week? For me it was discovering the most awesome sustainable winery in Southern CA wine country. Foxen winery is my new favorite, possibly ever.

{Barrels of sweet, sweet nectar}

When Hillary told me that the first interview they were doing for the documentary (up on the website as a teaser in a few weeks) was at a solar powered winery about 3 hours north of LA, it never even crossed my mind not to go. Wine. Enough said.

{The Gang at The Shack}

While Hillary and the boys got their shots, the lovely staff at "The Shack" (one of two tasting rooms at Foxen) and I bonded over some of their fantastic wine. I can't even say how much I enjoyed chatting with all of them. They know their wine, that's for sure, but are not at all snooty and I felt no pressure to swirl or aspirate. I just drank and loved it and that was cool with them.

Foxen is a sustainable winery, that became solar powered in August. I would call them minimalists, their entire facility is beautiful, but sparse. Excess and waste is not on their agenda and it shows in the best way. I am a red fan and love Cabernet's, but they have a Sauvignon Blanc that will knock your socks off. I loved everyone so much I had a hard time deciding what was coming home with us. But not that hard.
November 17, 2009

New Destructo Box

What do zombies mean to me? More than you might think. I'm actually married to my husband because in our dating infancy our love for zombie movies (and our distaste for Woody Allen films - don't even try, I've heard all the arguments, you won't convince me) brought us closer. "They're coming to get you Barbara" and "BRAAAAAIIINS" became little inside jokes in our conversations. Our tastes vary a bit when it comes to our favorites, he's more of a classicist voting Night of the Living Dead, while I prefer the neo-zombieism that comes with super strength and speed, ala 28 Days Later.

No matter which camp your tastes fall in the latest cartoon from Destructo Box (the brain child of Phil McLaughlin and Joey Reinisch) is zombie-rrific. These two churn out hilarious cartoons a couple times a month that are sure to strike your oddly funny bone. Enjoy!
November 16, 2009

Hillary Rust: An Interview - Part 2

{Hillary and his Trek}

Finally - Part 2 of my interview with Hillary Rust (yes, he's my husband) about the awesome enviro-cycling documentary he's making.

PM: You mention pace as the main reason for taking this trip on your bike. Are there other reasons?

HR: Yeah. If you did this trip by car it's too easy. It would take you 3 days and you might roll the windows down, but driving your car isn't really all that inspiring to people. Anyone can drive their car from here {Los Angles} to Austin. If you can grip the wheel and move your ankle a few inches up and down you're golden.

The schedule is slightly different but I'm essentially riding what they ride in the Tour de France and adding in interviews and content. I'll be going slower than them, of course, but it's going to be a challenge. 100 miles a day will kick your butt. Add in a few interviews both planned and unplanned and you've got yourself a good little mountain to climb.

Then there's the environmental aspect. We're gonna have a "chase" vehicle but hopefully it will be a hybrid and we'll do a comparison between me on the bike and the car. Obviously the car wins in some ways, but it also costs more to build and maintain and you lose out on "earning" it. If that makes sense.

What type of physical or mental training are you doing to prepare yourself for such a long ride?

HR: I drink beer and stay drunk as much as possible so I don't have to think about it.

I ride everyday. I don't always ride that far but I know if I put in enough time on the bike I'll be okay. I should probably eat better and really focus on my diet but that's not really my style.

I've done tons of 80+ mile rides back to back, meaning like two or three or four days in a row. My muscles get sore or whatever but it's definitely doable.

One thing I'd really like to do soon is get with a cycling trainer and just do a quick interview on camera and find out what they think I should be doing. I think that would add a little to the doc.

{A waterless damn here in So-Cal}

What has the process of breathing life into this project been like for you? Is there any part of creating and finding people who want to participate or sponsor the documentary that you didn't expect?

HR: I didn't expect so many people to be into it. I thought I was gonna have to do a lot of like, talking people into it. It hasn't been easy but everyone I talk to wants to see it happen.

I get up like 2 hours before I have to be at work and do research and send emails and just try to get as many eyes on the site as possible and think of every option for interviews and sponsors and the best way to approach each.

Then I go to work and try to focus on everything else that needs to get done and ideas come to me and then I get home and I find myself writing more emails in between loads of laundry and bites of dinner.

As far as the team all i can say is HOLY COW! I know I'm crazy and idealistic or whatever but these guys are awesome. Zack can make cooking dinner look fun and look good, Brent has been all over and shot in some crazy situations and is just a pro, and Emerson...I've worked with that fool enough to know he can get it done. We are all on the same page as far as how we want it to look and what it should be about and the best ways to accomplish all of that and it just makes me really happy to have them.

{Queen Mary in Long Beach}

Finally, what is your best case scenario for the final outcome of the doc?

Best case is we get like 500 hours of footage and we can edit it down into either an hour and a half feature documentary or we can make it into like 4 parts that are half an hour each and that we can get enough interest behind to make like 10 more about the rest of the country and that we can all make a living doing it until it doesn't make sense to do it anymore.

I'd love to see it as a series on the travel channel or something.

None of us are greedy and we really just want to get to do something that we believe in and make it really really good and interesting but also helpful to lots of other people and maybe not go broke doing it.

Is that bad?

Seems fair to me! Check out the documentary website here and let Hillary know what you think. He feeds off of comments, so bring it.
November 9, 2009

Hillary Rust: An Interview - Part 1

As many of you may know from my various social network announcements, my husband is making a documentary wherein he'll be riding his bicycle from Los Angeles, CA to Austin, TX. Along the way he plans to investigate and speak with people who are doing cool things to make this world a more sustainable, beautiful and generally healthier place for us all to live. You can read his entire proposal and watch some of Zack McTee's pretty camera work, of which I am a huge fan, here.

To get you excited about what H and his amazing team have come up with, I decided to ask him some questions. And boy did he answer, so much so, I split the interview into two parts. Here's what he has to say about his project...

Decker Canyon in LA - A photo from one of Hillary's many rides.

PM: Where did the idea for this documentary come from?

HR: Without going all the way back to my childhood memories, the doc as it is conceived today came up about a year ago. Zack Mctee and I went on a few bike rides and like everything else we do we ended up talking about shooting some video of it. Then we shot some video.

I've always wanted to ride cross country but it's a pretty selfish endeavor. So to actually get to do it I had to come up with a way to make it about more than just me and what I want to do, yet somehow make it stay within my ideals.

Hence, a documentary about me riding my bike talking to people about sustainability and reusing...okay let's be serious, it's mostly about me talking. I love to talk.

PM: You say in your proposal that you "want to meet America." What types of places do you plan on finding people to interview? Are you looking for a specific type of person?

HR: Well, we've got a map up on the website that gives a general idea of where we'll be but there's a guy named Greg Peterson ( or in Phoenix that has had an urban garden for like 15 years now that I want to talk to. Then there's the people at based out of New Mexico. There's Marfa, Texas which is just nutty and everyone should see it.

But really I want to meet regular people and talk to them about anything and everything. I want to know why someone chooses to live in desert of southern California for their whole life. Maybe they don't see it as a choice. Maybe it's all they know and they never thought about moving or living a different way. How do they get by? How do they get water?

Also, who makes composting toilets? Can I learn how to make soap out of avocados? Who's making music in El Paso? What is Bosque De Apache National Wildlife Refuge? You know? I want to see everything and meet everyone and know everything.

Some people are never going to get to go do this type of thing and I want them to be able to see it all too. I guess I want to inspire people to try to do something bigger and better and to think about the impact they have on the planet and the people around them. This country is so big it's easy to forget that we're all Americans even if we live in different states and have different needs, etc.

What do you got next?

Hillary is a fan of industrial objects.

What cities are you most excited to stop in?

HR: Well, right now I'm day dreaming about the open road and just pedaling for hours on end. 70+ miles with no cities at all! That may sound weird but being trapped in Los Angeles makes riding a challenge. Don't get me wrong, I love getting to ride everyday but the traffic and the stoplights are just as annoying on a bike as they are in a car. You get a little more asked about cities.

Phoenix seems overwhelming and I don't think we could ever do it justice with the time frame we have to work with but I'm still pumped on it since it seems like a city that size shouldn't exist, being that it's in a desert.

Tuscon is a complete mystery to me and I would love to see it. Santa Fe has gotten hyped to me in a big way and I've been there a few times and always had fun.

I'm interested in the El Paso music scene even though I literally just decided that El Paso would be our "music" stop. But after looking into it there is all sorts of amazing sonic stuff coming out of the EPT.

It helps that I have friends and family along the way in most of the cities that I want to see. Of course Austin will be cool especially if we can keep our schedule and end up there for SXSW.

Do you have any planned interviews or tours at this point that we can look forward to discovering with you?

HR: Uhm, we're trying to set up an interview with Foxen Winery in Santa Maria, CA for later this month. They are apparently solar powered and organic which is basically what the doc is all about. So we're gonna film me riding up there and try to get them to talk to us about how they got into the whole thing...and maybe taste some wine.

We have the teaser video up on the site obviously, but we really want to have something to show to people so they can get an idea of the actual content we plan on having.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2. In the mean time check out Hillary's blog, Bike LAne or look at the photos he takes riding around LA.