Ivan Rana

Ivan Rana

Ivan Rana is a true dreamer.  But he doesn’t just dream, he really hustles to get things done.

I met him him when I was a producer and editor at Zee TV, the Indian Television network that’s on satellite in the US.  I was the first non-Asian hired at the North American headquarters which happened to be in Arlington Texas.

Ivan was also a producer and editor but he was actually from India. We worked closely together for years.  We were essentially a two-man team for about two years.

We’ve both come a long way since then.  As you’ll hear, Ivan has had a lot of success with his creative endeavors, but there are still things he wants to do, and he’s still hustling.

Ivan at one of the epic ZEE parties


Handsome Ivan and the water bottles from colonel Bindra

Chris Flemmons

Chris Flemmons. Photo by Peter Salisbury

I met Chris Flemmons while I was living in the college town of Denton, Texas. He’s a talented singer and songwriter. He has a band called the Baptist Generals. He’s also a filmmaker. He was Director of Photography on a short film I made called “Kung Fu Teenage Bigfoot” the trailer…and he also did the voice over.

I’ve always liked Chris’ demeanor. During this conversation, he mentions he sometimes feels like a crotchety old man, but the thing is, he had that vibe even in his twenties…he wears it well, it suits him. Anyhow, I always get a lot from his point of view. I hope you do too.

Lisa Rawlinson

Lisa Rawlinson is making art again after a twenty-year break.  That’s one of the reasons I wanted to catch up with her.  When I met her, she was one of the many talented artists in the Good/Bad Art Collective in Denton, Texas in the 90s.  During the twenty-year break, Lisa did stuff like get married, have kids, get divorced, have a career in publishing, you know, life.

Then a few years ago I noticed that she was sharing a ton of new and interesting artwork on social media and it really struck me that she was another person out there struggling to express herself in this new reality we all share.

I’ve uploaded some of Lisa’s artworks on to this podcast’s facebook page or you can find her work at lisarawnlinsonart.com  (and I’ll paste a few below) Whichever way, I suggest you take a look at some of her paintings while you listen to this if you can, I think it will make it more enjoyable.

Note: There’s one part where Lisa and I were wondering if gravitational waves could travel faster than the speed of light.  I googled it.  It seems the answer is no, but there are other factors that can cause light to reach us slower than the gravitational waves.

Larry Rigdon

My friend Larry Rigdon and I go way back.  I’m talking “Wonder Years” back.  We went to the same elementary (primary) school and we were good friends during those formative “Stand By Me” years  from 12 to 16.  In fact, as you’ll hear in this conversation, 16 was kind of a hard cut-off point, because that was the year Larry had to move away from Plano, where we grew up.  He never got to finish high school with our class of friends.  It just so happened that I called Larry when he was feeling nostalgic and had been looking at YouTube videos and Google Maps and stuff of the places he grew up, so that really colors this conversation.

Plano is a suburb of Dallas, Texas.

According to Wikipedia: The city’s population was 269,776 at the 2010 census, making it the ninth most populous city in the state of Texas  The city is an affluent hub for many corporate headquarters such,  Dell ServicesDr Pepper Snapple GroupEricssonFrito-LayHP Enterprise ServicesHuaweiJ. C. PenneyPizza HutTech Mahindra Americas Inc and Toyota Motor North America, Inc..

In 1983 it was dubbed “The Suicide Capital of America,” as nine suicides among Plano high schoolers drew national attention to the town

There was also an epidemic of heroin abuse among young people in the 1990s.

In his book, “It’s Not About the Bike” Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who grew up in Plano, described the city this way:

“It was the quintessential American suburb, with strip malls, perfect grid streets, and faux-antebellum country clubs in between empty brown wasted fields.  It was populated by guys in golf shirts and Sansabelt pants, and women in bright fake gold jewelry, and alienated teenagers. Nothing there was old, nothing real. To me, there was something soul-deadened about the place…”  “It’s home to Plano East High School, one of the largest and most football-crazed high schools in the state…”  “In Plano, Texas, if you weren’t a football player you didn’t exist, and if you weren’t upper middle class, you might as well not exist either.”

I’m not saying Lance’s description is the only way to describe Plano, and we all know he has a rocky relationship with truth, but it gives you a taste.

But it was also just the neighborhoods where Larry and I grew up.

So that’s the background, now on to Larry Rigdon.

Jess Herbst

Jess Herbst is someone you may have heard about.  Or you may have heard about the “first openly transgender mayor in Texas as well as the first openly transgender elected official in Texas” that’s Jess, and she has been getting a lot of press, especially in her role as an “accidental activist” for LGBTQ rights.

I first met Jess as Jeff Herbst back in the late 90s.  We were professional colleagues.  I was an editor and also in charge of all the video equipment at ZEE TV, the Indian Satellite Network’s US Headquarters in Arlington Texas.  Whenever I had a technical problem I couldn’t solve on my own, I would call Herbst, the smartest, most logical video and software engineer I’ve ever met.  After we did all the troubleshooting, we would invariably end up chatting about who-knows-what for an extra hour or so and became quite friendly.  And since I had a lot of technical problems we met fairly often.

Flash forward about twenty years, and we reconnect on Facebook, and then last year I notice, Jeff has become Jess, and she’s also entered politics.

Kyle Reynolds

Kyle Reynolds is one of the nicest people you would ever want to meet.  I met him years ago when he worked at Half Price Books and Records in the Dallas area. He’s always been a musician and creative person.  You may have heard about an event he organized called the Open Carry Guitar Rally, which was a light-hearted response to Texas gun activists.  He also went off and started an online political cartoon called The End Times found at slugnuts.com and more recently launched the Slugnuts Radio Hour Podcast.