Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I brought home this ginormous picture frame from Ikea on Saturday and cannot for the life of me find the poster that is supposed to live in it. It's not with the other posters in the tube, which means I put it somewhere VERY SPECIAL so it wouldn't get wrecked. Somewhere, perhaps, where human hands will never touch it ever again. My apartment is very small! And yet this giant rolled tube of paper eludes me.

My mother is known to call me to come upstairs on Sunday afternoons in April or May to give me things that she meant to give me for Christmas but just found that second. She likes to put things in safe places too. On the other hand sometimes she puts them in non-safe places. She once gave me a silver ring in this mode, gasping upon having found it again. It had been in the drawer by the phone for almost a year and on more than one occasion I had pulled it out and tried it on during long phone conversations. It fit so well, what a surprise to find that it was meant to.

Last weekend I shot a series of scenes in my house. My apartment is small and is designed in a circle--the living room links to the kitchen, which links to my room, which links to The World's Tiniest Hall (off of which is the World's Tiniest Bathroom) which links back to the living room again. My roommate's room is the only non-linking part of the apartment. I like this design very much, but that and shooting in the living room and kitchen from various directions meant that all the gear had to be stored in my bedroom and the back corner of the kitchen (where there was an impassable forest of C-stands) because everything else was a hot set.

All the extra people had to be stashed around in a similar manner (I like the shot we got where Alejandro slates for the camera and then turns around and crouches out of sight in the corner for the rest of the two-minute scene). These people, in turn, stashed their empty drink containers so the shot wouldn't be full of dented Diet Coke cans. I'm still finding them in various corners of the apartment. Inside cupboards, tucked against the side of the couch next to the wall, under the coffee table, behind the fridge. Today I was sitting in the living room and could see the edge of a can just peeking over the top of the kitchen cupboards (invisible if you were actually in the kitchen). It's like a Easter egg hunt for can collectors. Even though some of them are mine, it's still an surprise to stumble across another one in another inventive little hiding place.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Working Man

I got a flat tire on Saturday and when the tow truck took me to this ghetto tire place on Santa Monica, there wasn't room to drop the car because this hot little silver Mercedes convertible was in the way. So we sit and wait and the tow truck driver is this no-nonsense trim little guy with a grim face and suave hair who says "Jesus Christ" constantly on the road in regards to other people's driving decisions.

Finally this man comes out to the car and he's a petite little African-American guy wearing a crisp white long-sleeved button-up shirt with a knotted cravat at the neck and pin-striped trousers that look like the bottom half of a zoot suit. He saunters up to the car, reaches inside, pulls out his badge, clips it on to his belt, pulls out his pearl-handled gun and holster, clips that onto his belt. I say to the tow truck guy, "He's a cop?" and we both start laughing.

Mr. Cop then gets in the car, remembers something, gets back out, reaches around to the front of the windshield and grabs a two-inch stump of cigar, which he clamps in his teeth before getting back in the car and driving away.

I really hope he was FBI.

Inside the ghetto tire shop they had a small glossy picture of J Lo in the infamous green and blue, belt-buckle-and-a-smile dress tacked to the wall.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pastiche Magic

Recently I figured out how to make iTunes show all the album covers of the music I've got. I missed album covers.

Someone else likes album covers too.

This is fun to watch, but it's also fun to think about how many copyrighted images are being used without permission and how great the result is. The funny thing about recorded media like sounds and pictures is that they are so specific that referencing them often requires using the thing itself. So intertextuality in these media gets legally sticky. But intertextuality is so great and artistically useful. It's a mainline to an established vein of cultural meaning and using it just makes the cultural object that much more significant by its inclusion in other works. No such thing as bad publicity? Hey, it's not like Mary Shelley's estate comes after every person who writes a poem in which Frankenstein shows up. Frankenstein, through intertextuality, has grown beyond just being a character in a book and has become a trope.

It's overly simplistic in the mode of "why can't we all just get along," but why can't we all just use what's around to make what we want? Why does everyone have to get so bloody grabby?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I Am So Popular

So here's the thing: at work, my job is to help people. This is fine and great, and I really like doing it. Hey, here's a suggestion for how to find a hospital location, here's the paperwork you need to shoot with a gun, here's how you can burn stuff to a CD. All good.

Lately, though, I've had some insane campers at work. Campers are people who sit in the Student Production Office all day and talk to me. Now some of these campers are cute and charming and boys and that is totally totally okay by me and in fact great. But some of them are skeevy boys who think because they are talking to me and I am not leaving and they know my name from my nameplate thing that we are friends. Hey, I can't leave because I'm AT WORK. That's like thinking the garbarge man has a crush on you because he keeps coming by, every week. They make me think I should burn some Ani Difranco songs onto the computer at work so I can play them on repeat until they leave. Maybe I need to try the DJ Doretta technique of clearing the floor of the Pit (University of British Columbia pub as classy as it sounds) of nineteen-year-old mackdaddys at the end of the night by playing Liz Phair's "Flower" and Tori Amos' "Me And A Gun". Under no circumstances should I play any Weezer. That just fans the flames. However "Eternal Flame" over and over again might do the trick.

Two super-clingy women have been camping out on my shift in the last few weeks. One of them is, you know, unstable, and wears a pert little white suit with a pert little white hat to match and makes desperate-sounding phone calls to get jobs and gets mad at people on the other end of the line and lectures them and then tries to catch my eye and tells me how sad she is while her eyes roll all around the room and won't let me exit the conversation and then she cries. This is for the entirety of my five-hour shift. I feel guilty for not wanting to help her and then feel annoyed at her and then feel guilty again for being annoyed. The other clingy woman needs help finding the keyboard. I'm close to not kidding. She needs explicit and repeated instructions for filling out forms, faxing, printing, and scanning which she then ignores so that you have to pay undivided attention to her while she does it again. She also narrates her attempts to do things which might need your attention, "oh no, this pen doesn't work... and this pen doesn't work either!" Yesterday she asked me which bin was garbage and which was recycling. That would be the blue bin with the arrows pointing in a triangle that says "Recycling" on the side.

The hardest work I do at work is stay calm and patient with these people. My socialist upbringing helps.

Final Hot Shirt

I saw a girl at the bar on Saturday wearing a shirt that said, "Wear More Purple." Right on.

This shirt does look a little as if it was gnawed at by hamsters. Or perhaps the rats. Maybe the rats that live in the film building. The same rats that have caused a decree to be handed down that we can no longer eat in class. A decree handed down, clearly, by someone who doesn't have back-to-back four hour classes.

But I digress. Like the shirt?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Test Pattern

Here you see what I did today.

Yep, for the first time in film school, I actually got to handle a film print. Wooo! I'm taking an editing class (hi Norm) and had to conform the edits we made in the computer system to the actual film print. It was the perfect day for doing this: I was feeling hungover and slightly misanthropic and generally overwhelmed with decision-making in work and life lately. To have all my decisions in front of me on a piece of paper was great. To work with my hands was a relief. To not have to talk to anyone and to listen to music on headphones while doing this made my day complete. It took two albums to cut out the shots and splice the dailies back together and two-thirds of an album to splice the whole cut together.

Completely analog tasks like this are something I miss lately. It's like jogging or driving a commute: there's work to be done, yes, but you really only have to have 30% or so of your brain engaged in the task of getting your body to go through the required motions. The higher functioning part of your brain can wander into more difficult and interesting territory. I miss this in modern life. It's not that I want to do my laundry by hand on a washboard, but having to remember phone numbers and then waiting for the rotary phone wheel to make its revolution, or raking leaves, or washing dishes by hand, these things are important for the soul. Or for my soul. Or just for my brain to make its revolution and come up with seasoned, complex answers to difficult problems. I've had some of my best ideas in the shower and stuck in traffic. Endless choice and complete ease of access mean the only work left for me to do is make the decision.

That said, let's hope my conformed print screens without any cuts backwards or upside down. I'm hoping that having sewn shorts together backwards in the past would teach me to be meticulous despite my absent mind.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hot Shirt #2

Here's the next shirt I upgraded:

And I'd like to send a special hello out to all my rabid Christian fans. Mazeltov to you my friend!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Movie School Homework

So at the school I go to, one of the required classes is Visual Expression. You know, pictures and what's in them: lines, shapes, colours, tone, one-, two-, and three-point perspective, etc. The big ol' assignment for this class is a notebook in which you have demonstrate all of these concepts in still photographs. Affinity within the shot, contrast within the shot, affinitiy from shot to shot, the list goes on. It adds up to about ninety photographs that are simultaneously open-ended and very specific. Oh, and you've got to have a "subject" in each picture. So, it's challenging, and fun, yes, but also leads to acts of desperation, like this photo here.

This poor woman walked past me, I saw the bobble on her hat and I shouted, "A sphere!" to Rajeev and took this photo. I didn't end up using it.

I did, however, end up using this photo.

Affinity of Saturation Within the Shot. Rajeev is such a champ dresser, I didn't even have to make it black and white.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mythical Beasts

The other day I was in traffic, late and pissed off, and lo, what pulls up beside me? A piece of shit brown K-car with the Louis Vuitton logo spray-painted in impressive gold stencil all over it. As Jeremy put it, truly the unicorn of LA traffic, inspiring awe and wonder where ever it goes. I want to make a calendar featuring this car in spring meadows, all soft-focus and backlit.

Nothing eats my brain like writing and in the last few months it's been like digging bullets out of my own flesh with my fingers to sit down and write. Not to actually write, mind you, just to force myself to write. Is this the point at which you start seeing a shrink? W. Allen, please advise. But I had to write this scene, a little stand-alone thing, for directing class and today I got the fun of sitting down with actors and blocking out a scene that I had written less than 12 hours before. This was so fun. So as soon as I finish writing this, I'm going to go work on some writing. Really.

In other news, I bought three of the same shirt today in different colours, because Carrie Bradshaw is RIGHT: if it's wonderful, buy two. If it's cheap too, buy three. Then I brought them home and drew on one with bleach and sewed some stuff on the other and cut little holes in the third (and some little holes in my fingers while I was at it). So they are the SAME but DIFFERENT and also recognizably mine.

Sometimes I wish I could make a living out of having ideas for fun little projects and sitting cross-legged on the floor of my bedroom and doing those projects using random stuff from around the house. This is the best kind of creativity for me. Film is scary because there are so many people involved and you have to keep explaining what the plan is. Once the plan is outside of my head (via my mouth) it never seems as exciting as when it was still bottled up inside. I like plans for making stuff that go directly from brain to hands, and things I make using these plans are always things I like better than, stuff I've made at school in which I have to keep justifying why my idea will work when I'm still in the middle of having it.

I guess the idea is to have full and complete ideas and think it all the way through before even beginning to talk to other people about what I want to do. And to keep the sitting-on-the-bedroom-floor projects going, and not for a living either.