A few words from Virginia Woolf

Posted in A few words from Lao Tzu (or someone like him) on November 30th, 2006 by bill
"Like a work of art," she repeated, looking from her canvas to the drawing-room steps and back again. She must rest for a moment. And, resting, looking from one to the other vaguely, the old question which traversed the sky of the soul perpetually, the vast, the general question which was apt to particularise itself at such moments as these, when she released faculties that had been on the strain, stood over her, paused over her, darkened over her. What is the meaning of life? That was all — a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years. The great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark. —To the Lighthouse

Poetic spam X

Posted in Spam, wonderful spam on November 29th, 2006 by bill
I thought I was done with the spam glorification...but this one was just too excellent to pass up.

pianist we decided to return there for the foodgasm worthy pesto sauce! How are you going to use it? I actually beat him at mini golf! :::daydream believer:::. :::daydream believer:::. If you see something wonderful, you confidently embrace it. Sent a few text messages. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. It also describes some of the additional features available if the software is upgraded to Data Protector Express. Check the recipes at. We waited a little longer to sit on the same patio, and this time we ate early enough to catch the sunset during dinner. They're just as good as money in your pocket. Basically the poor little guy had food poisioning! Check the recipes at. We know how to make each other laugh and just have a good time wandering about. They're just as good as money in your pocket. Maybe if I had seen the first night, they might have introduced people and expected you to remember. It also describes some of the additional features available if the software is upgraded to Data Protector Express. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. Don't waste it; it's still good food. Maybe if I had seen the first night, they might have introduced people and expected you to remember. They are partnering with Resturants. Basically the poor little guy had food poisioning! Then the plan was to head to the city for SOS. The list goes on and on and on. :::daydream believer:::. If you see something wonderful, you confidently embrace it. And it's getting close to Christmas, with even more candy on the horizon. They are partnering with Resturants. We decided to return there for the foodgasm worthy pesto sauce! It also addresses common backup and recovery scenarios to assist in disaster recovery planning. It also describes some of the additional features available if the software is upgraded to Data Protector Express. But regardless, the hype about the movie seemed to be about how it was designed to to influence people to feel pro-Republican and anti-Democrat. I was supposed to meet some friends. I was supposed to meet some friends. I decided to go to sunset, bring the puppy, and just catch the last hour or two.

Homeworld Diaries—Part 3

Posted in Moving pictures on November 27th, 2006 by bill
hw3.jpg The Englishman in this photo is not, in fact,dead, although
he certainly appears to be.

In Hollywood, I'm told, 18– to 20-hour days are routine. We weren't doing anything close to that — more like 12 hours — but still, it got to be a grind. Some of us are not used to rising at the crack of dawn to start loading and unloading equipment. This is what leads to scenes like the one pictured above. The first day or two, I was too worked up to notice how tired I was. But by Wednesday I was entering a fugue state, and by Friday I was in full-on survival mode, struggling to hold up my end while grabbing a little shuteye between takes. It took me about a week to recover completely. And yet I have returned twice to do more work on the film, and if they ask me a third time I will probably go back again. Why? Because I hate myself. No, actually because it was really a lot of fun. The action, the camaraderie (camera-derie?), the pleasing sense of something being made in an atmosphere of creativity. It would probably kill me to live like this on a regular basis, but as a hobby it beats the hell out of stamp collecting. Not that I want to pick a fight with the philatelists; they're a dangerous lot, in their way. So what will the final product be like? I have no idea, and it's not under my control, but I have faith in out beloved leader, Phil Hudson. He knows his shit. And by the way, if you ever direct a movie, try to run your set the way Phil did — moving along at a snappy pace while keeping things light and maintaining a sense of humor. The name of that movie, once again, is Homeworld. Be sure to check the Web site often for release infomation. In the meantime, for my amusement and possibly yours, here are some more photos from the set.

hw4.jpg Risking neck cramp to watch dailies.

hw5.jpg Sound guy in a rare moment of repose.

hw6.jpg Filmmaker as cyborg.

hw7.jpg There was a good reason for this, I think.

Really, it all makes perfect sense in context.

hw9.jpg No cracks about actors, please. After all, you need to know
what you're going to look like in the shot.

hw10.jpg Our heroes.

Homeworld Diaries—Part 2

Posted in Moving pictures on November 24th, 2006 by bill
HW2.jpg The assistant director is having a moment.
Life on a film set is a strange mixture of frantic action and abject boredom. People had told me this before, but it wasn't till Fort Bragg that I came to appreciate it myself. You race around to get the shot set up, and then most of the time you end up waiting: waiting for the actors to be ready, waiting for the light to be right, waiting for traffic to pass, waiting for the fucking sound guy to get his act together. Thus it is that filmmaking, although often a high-speed, high-pressure activity, allows many moments for quiet contemplation. This is especially true during that one minute out of the day when the F.S.G. calls for quiet on the set so he can record the room tone, i.e. what it sounds like in this particular location without any added noise. It's only in situations like this that you begin to appreciate just how long a minute can be — long enough to have a dozen different cascading trains of thought, to experience epiphanies and regrets and fantasies and anything else the human mind is capable of. (This was captured very well in Tom DiCillo's Living in Oblivion, which is the Spinal Tap of movies about movies. Toward the end the audio engineer of the film within the film takes room tone, and DiCillo uses this period of enforced silence to cut around to the various characters and get us to think about what they've been through. Come to think of it, I haven't seen Living in Oblivion in a while; note to self.) Anyway, I found myself looking around amazed at the contrast between the image that was in front of the camera — sometimes just a single actor, or a spider web, or a rock — and everything out of the frame that made that image possible. It struck me that all those people standing around looking at the monitor, or listening to headphones, or holding reflectors and diffusers, or just patiently holding still till the shot was over, were all servants of the camera. The director is the high priest, the rest of the crew are acolytes, and the actors occupy a privileged position, because they will be Seen. In this sense, only what goes into the lens is real; everything else, though you can see it, is an illusion. Why do we do it? Why do we bow down to the magical recording machine, carry it around with gentle reverence like some aged maharishi, and run ourselves ragged to serve its needs? Simple: immortality. The recorded image has the potential to last forever, and we will fade away. These are the kinds of morbid thoughts you can have when things get too quiet. Now, I think, I will go watch something funny on the television.

Homeworld Diaries—Part 1

Posted in Moving pictures on November 22nd, 2006 by bill
HW1.jpg Watch out, these woods are infested with film crews. It was a fine August day when I arrived in Fort Bragg (Mendocino County, not North Carolina) for my first day on the set of the movie that was then called Homeworld-X (it's since lost the "X"). I had only the vaguest idea of what to expect. The others who were there had already been working together for a couple of weeks, so at first I felt lost, an outsider who doesn't get any of the jokes. Fortunately, I was given what may be the best job on a film set: second assistant camera, or to name it more accurately, slate guy. (My only interaction with the camera came during handheld sequences, when I occasionally held it between takes so the director could rest his arms.) This involves kicking off every shot by announcing the scene and take number, clapping the slate, then quickly moving to a safe place out of the frame and remaining quiet and stationary until you hear the word "cut." Then you update the slate with the new scene or take number, and do it over again. This is far from mind-taxing, though it does require a certain amount of focus to make sure you've always got your numbers right. Each scene consists of a master shot (say Scene 49) and a number of secondary or close-up shots, each of which gets its own letter (49A, 49B, etc.). It was sometimes a little tricky to figure out exactly what constituted a new shot, rather than just a different take of the same shot. But this was the extent of the challenge involved in the job, leaving me with lots of of processor time left to observe what was going on around me. Also, because the slate has to be ready the instant the shot is set up, I was generally excused from the other tasks around the set like setting up reflectors and clearing brush; instead I mostly stood around watching others do these things, always my preferred working method. I also spent a lot of time watching Pedro the sound guy, who aside from Phil the director was the only professional on a set full of enthusiastic amateurs. He had a lot of pressure on him, because he had to set up complicated microphone arrangements in very short periods of time, but never — OK, very rarely — showed any signs of stress. Pedro was so unflappable that it was the third day, I think, before he told me that my loud slate clapping was causing him pain. You see, because the sound guy needs to hear every single thing that is happening during the scene, he is listening with headphones turned way up. Therefore, any loud sound near a microphone is going to hurt him. I remember a particular scene where one of the actors screamed a line at the top of his lungs. He was asked to moderate the volume but was so In the Moment that he kept forgetting; so at the same point during every take I would look over and see Pedro wincing as his ears were blasted. But he never cried out and ruined the take, and that's what I call professionalism. In truth, for a group of volunteers, our crew mostly handled itself very professionally, with one or two exceptions. One guy did get fired during the week. It's not so easy to get fired from a job you're not being paid for, but he pulled it off. I myself struggled to make it through the week for reasons having to do with sheer exhaustion; more on that later.

Time Flies, and So Do I

Posted in Whatever Else on November 21st, 2006 by bill
Has it really been almost a week since I posted anything? Shocking. I apologize to my legions of readers, but I can give a few reasons why this has happened: • I love that picture of Tony Danza so much that I wanted to keep it at the top of the page as long as possible. • I spent yesterday in transit between Oakland and Kansas City, a jaunt which included a long stretch inside a 777 sitting on the ground while a maintenance crew replaced the plane's starter. This led to a tight connection in Denver, which led to delayed luggage, which led to a basically very long day all around. • The weekend was occupied with a) a preview of the upcoming hit multimedia property Mankind's Last Hope and b) many hours on the set of a feature film called Homeworld. Among the things I've learned from this experience: The filmmaking, it is very tiring. One wakes up very early, moves around a lot, and spends extended periods of time straining to remain focused while nothing much is happening. Tomorrow I plan to write a bit about my movie adventure; but first, I think, another nap.

Hold Me Closer, (Your Name Here)

Posted in Dancing about architecture on November 15th, 2006 by bill
Tony_Danza.gif You know the Elton John song "Tiny Dancer"? It goes like this:
Hold me closer, tiny dancer
Well tonight, a certain young person told me that she'd always thought Elton was saying
Hold me closer, Tony Danza
And now I'll never hear the song the same way again. I'm happy about that.

Where’s Walton?

Posted in Picture du jour on November 14th, 2006 by bill

That's an easy one — in this picture of the groundbreaking for the Martin Luther King memorial, that's him at top left, towering over everyone and smirking as Jesse Jackson embraces Andrew Young. The question is, why is he there? Does The Most Annoying Man in Sportscasting History have some connection to the civil rights movement of which I am ignorant? Maybe so; in all fairness, Walton seems like a decent enough sort, aside from his superhuman annoyingness. Maybe he was there at King's side back in the day, saying things like, "The whole concept of separate but equal is horrrible, Mart." But still, it seems strange. And while we're at it, who's that on his right, looking aghast? The caption on SF Gate, from which I shamelessly stole this picture, describes her as "an unidentified woman." Maybe fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, looking spiffy but disoriented in the red tie, knows her. Wait, Tommy Hilfiger? Why and wherefore? Oh, never mind.

Anvil Club

Posted in Whatever Else on November 13th, 2006 by bill
anvil.jpg We're all familiar with media depictions of someone — often an anthropomorphized animal, such as a coyote — having an anvil dropped on him. Yet how many of us have any real experience of having an anvil dropped on us, or contrariwise of being the one to drop an anvil on a fellow mammal? Isn't this really the problem with our modern world, that we are so detached from the reality of concrete things such as anvils? This is why I think Anvil Club is such a great idea. I'm picturing a dingy basement room somewhere filled with anvils of all shapes and sizes. Once a week, we will gather there and take turns dropping anvils on each other. During the rest of the week, we will not speak of it, but you will be able to spot another Anvil Clubber from the way he walks — striding confidently, head held high, or at least as high as the inevitable back injuries will allow. We will be suffused with the inner glow that comes from having a heavy metallic object dropped on you, or from dropping such an object on another, and people will respond to this without knowing why. We will become more popular and successful than ever before. You know I'm right, don't you? Now who's with me?

A few words from Steven Wright

Posted in A few words from Lao Tzu (or someone like him) on November 10th, 2006 by bill
"You never know what you have until it's gone, and I wanted to know what I had, so I got rid of everything."