Thursday, September 30, 2004

Outsourcing Myth

Good article.

Interesting statistics on Kodak. Laying off 15,000 people. That's a lot, but it's because of digital photography. Film is dying, folks.

Glenn Reynolds writes an excellent article on the South and voting in this week's Guardian.

Democrats have it right on most issues, but he's rightly points out that we are perceived as weak on defense....I'd go further: We are weak on defense. If attacked, we should fight back, and fight back to win. Period.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A More Savage War

A good article in the LA Times about the Infitada. What it most interesting about this is that Sharon's military victories have wearing down effect on the Infitada, despite fears that more brutal measures would increase the hatred. It's odd - the less brutal you fight, the more it energizes and emboldens the enemy. I guess that's why they say, if you get in a fight, put the guy down hard and quickly - don't let him keep coming after you.

We're so concerned with civilian casualties and world opinion - these are luxuries when you're not at war. The insurgency in Iraq is growing because of our perceived weakness and unpopularity - not because it's some legitimate form of resistance.

This war on terror will not end if we're nice enough to the terrorists, if they find riches elsewhere, if we start treating them nicer. That is not how it will end. It will end when we bring the cost to the terrorists and those who support them too high to make it worth fighting. That means killing.

The famous Air Force General Curtis LeMay, that McNamera talks about in the Fog of War said about war, "You have got to kill people, and when you've killed enough people, they stop fighting."

We did not start this war on terror and to deny we are at war, to me, is both irresponsible and wrong. We cannot fight a war with kid-gloves. We will lose, because our enemy fights for keeps. These fuckers are serious. I watched a beheading the other day. I was too chicken shit to watch them before, but my producing partner watched it and started crying, so I felt I needed to watch it also. They're serious. But they're also vulnerable because their message is bullshit and their world vision is horrible. They are only appealing because of a lack of a better option and they strut around, confident and strong because no one fights them.

We need to mimic the tactics of the Mossad who made it a point to track down all of the 1972 Munich murders and get them. We should have similar policies. If Osama is being protected by villages and tribes in the mountains in Pakistan, we should light the whole place up. In Dresden we firebomb an entire city of civilians. In Tokyo we killed 100,000 Japanese civilians in a single night. Can you imagine? And in history, WWII is considered a just war. A just war? What the hell does that mean? 50 million people died.

Sharon's has raised the stakes on the Palestinians - he attacks them in Syria, he uses F-16s in Gaza, these were things unthinkable years ago. But it's having a debilitating effect. The Israeli's stopped two 15-year old bombers and 19 girl blew herself up at a checkpoint. As for kids being safe - fuggetaboutit - another luxury of peace.

I need to think about this more and outline a more coherent strategy, but I think we're losing this war because we're not fighting it right. In soccer, if the other team is playing tough, you don't complain to the ref, you start playing tougher.
Missing Movies

I haven't been to a movie in so long and there are a bunch out I want to see.

1. A Dirty Shame
2. Motorcycle Diaries
3. Burning Annie - small indie flick, I think I missed
4. Network - showing at the Cemetary
5. Sky Captain
6. Shaun of the Dead
7. Re-watch Collateral

I just don't see myself getting to the movies in the next couple of weeks. Too bad.

DUNLAP, Ind. - The father of a seventh-grader claims an assistant
principal came up with a bizarre way to keep his son's pants from
sagging in school: duct tape.

Scott Allison told the Concord School Board earlier this month that
his 12-year-old son, Spencer, was ordered by a teacher to lift his
shirt after she noticed the boy's underwear was showing above his
pants, a violation of Concord Junior High School's dress code.

She sent him to Assistant Principal Patricia Walters, who told Spencer
to pull up his pants and tuck in his shirt, Allison said.

"She then proceeded to duct tape his waist, three times around the
waist," said Allison. "Then she sent him back to class, in front of his

He said he worried his son would be mocked by his classmates at the
school in the town about 20 miles east of South Bend.

"This outrages me and shocks me," Allison said.

Allison also said that Spencer's underwear would not have been exposed
if the shirt was left down. "I don't understand what motivated her to
ask him to lift up his shirt," he said.

Board President Randall Myers said the board would not discuss
personnel issues in public. Junior high Principal Kevin Caird said
student discipline is confidential.

Surprising, but also, not. There are some assholes out there - and some of them work in the schools.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

In My Life

I think this is the first time in my life the 49ers have been shut out. Ouch.

Instapundit does not see a downside to this...but there is pretty much always a downside. The possibility that someone in the Pakistani government sees this the same way Al Queda does, and views it as a necessary moment to make available a nuclear weapon to Al Queda before the US "takes control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal."

That's a downside.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Imperial Hubris

Had some time today to read. Wow! It's only because we have a night shoot. This book is a solid account of what's going on in the fight against Al Queda. He thinks we are royally fucking up and wasting a lot of resources, and worse, lying to ourselves about it.

First, we needed to hit back Al Queda right away and really hard to effectively hurt the leadership of the organization. We were too shocked to do so. There was also a short time when brutal measures would have been acceptable to the US population. Now, everyone just whines about civilian casualties and we will not accept a brutal war. We did not adequately plan for a major Al Queda attack because of our own negligence and were unable to hit back right after 9/11. This is a major failure in military planning and governmental leadership. Our leaders failed us. And our leaders continue to either: turn a blind eye to the brutal enemy we face or naively think we are kicking ass by the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

We are in trouble in this war because 1/2 of the people in this country and the west don't think we're in a war, and the other 1/2 have no idea how to properly wage it.

I haven't gotten to the section on solutions, yet, but I don't imagine it being a good one.

I'm sad today.
Motorcycle Diaries

This movie sounds good. Will Osama one day have this status? I've started to read Imperial Hubris, written by an anonymous intelligence officer, who thinks we are fundamentally misunderstanding Bin Laden's message and methodology. We are blind to think he hates us because of who we are, but instead ought to understand he hates specific policies that he says are anti-Muslim. His war, he repeats, is a defensive one, one that mandates all Muslim's fight when Muslim's are being attacked. His most consistant position is that Muslim's are being attacked by the United States as a global hegemon, supporting Israel and corrupt Middle Eastern regimes to extract oil.

Gee, put that way, he seems almost reasonable. Is that why he's so popular?

Friday, September 24, 2004

Oddly Peaceful

Great auditions today for the role of Alan Turing. Yes, I'm doing a scene from Cryptonomicon. Great lessons whenever I work with actors, they keep me on my toes and get me thinking about interesting things. I had this debate with an actor over the tone in one line and it got me to re-think the entire scene...over "That's the spirit!"

He took it sarcastically, and I took it as genuine. I've already got four to five different ways the scene can be played, between Turing and Waterhouse, brotherly, confrontational/jealous, sexual angst, colleauges...the iterations are amazing.

I'm being followed by a Moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow. Genius.

It keeps getting weirder. Yesterday, I was nearly attacked by guard dogs. I went up to a cabin in butt-fuck nowhere and couldn't get through the long driveway because of a gate.

I yelled,"Hello" and go no response. I noticed the "Beware of Dog" sign. In the driveway is a little hot dog sitting there, practically smiling at me.

"This is the frigging dog," I think to myself.

I walk in, yelling hello, and seeing no one. I walk 200 yards, all the way back to the cabin I'm scouting and I hear the woof woof of several, larger dogs.


I hop onto a rock wall, with a 15 ft drop down, thinking - if I have to jump, I jump. The dogs stop short of attacking me and are staring at me barking loudly. I'm stuck on a frigging wall, looking around at trees I can jump onto like the monkey I am to avoid being attacked.

I'm trying to calm the dogs down, but they're not having it - one brown retriever like dog, about 70 pounds, another 60 pound mutt of some sort.

They finally get tired and leave, running away. I hop down into the woods to find a stick that I can use to fight off the dogs to get to my car, if necessary. But the dogs hear me scrambling around and come back barking again.

Finally, the owner comes and calms the dogs down. He tells me they won't hurt me, unless I attack them with a stick. The attack dog that would really hurt me was up asleep elsewhere.


Thursday, September 23, 2004


Unfortunately, they stopped showing the niners in LA and I'm too busy to watch football, but this guy Lloyd is pretty amazing in the few times I've seen him. Let's hope he gets the ball.
Silverlake Film Festival

Found out about this while blogging, which is weird, because I live in Silverlake.

Want to see Burning Annie at 3:30pm on Sunday...might just have time to do it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

While We're At It...

Let's deport Joni Mitchell as well.

I actually agree with nearly everything Bush says in this speech. The question is whether I believe Bush is telling the truth and/or can pull it off. I do think the goal of the 21st century should be to advance liberty to as many people in the world as possible. It's safer and better for all.

Does anyone disagree?
Not The Same Woman

Is this the same woman from The Last Picture Show and Taxi Driver. Man. Celebrity sucks.
Voting Documentary

I watched the voting Documentary my college roommate produced. It screened on MTV and was called Choose or Lose and it followed Drew Barrymore around while she tried to figure out why no young people vote.

I'll start with what I liked: They got an all-star cast of people to speak: Hillary Clinton, James Carville, Jon Stewart, Michael Moore, Bill Mahar, Harry Waxman, Wesley Clark, Chris Rock, and there were certainly others...very impressive.

I thought Michael Moore was actually the most interesting speaker, talking about how he ran for the school board and that's what got him politically involved. I guess he knows what is good for documentary.

I thought Drew had some fairly honest moments and was clearly interested in the subject matter. They hit a lot of places, got quite a bit of access. It was overall watchable and at times entertaining.

What I didn't like: A lot of things, actually. First, for all the interesting people she got to interview, I don't think she got a single one of them to say a single thing interesting. No one offered anything but cliches on why kids don't vote. Drew herself, in one of the better moments, calls them out on it....but then she stops and doesn't go anywhere with it. She just rattles off her own cliched voice over at the end. Second, there was zero discussions of the issues around the election. Huh? People don't vote just to vote. Ostensibly, they vote because they are interested in how the candidates will handle different issues that will affect their lives. Frankly, 18-21 year olds don't vote because they still live off their parents and who is President does not affect them all that much. Third, the production value of the film was awfully low. I know they had some problems with a DP and needed to get a new one, but there were some booms in shots, and the look and content made it feel like a home video - which perhaps was part of the intention. And lastly, the narrative itself didn't flow that well. We started at the primaries, then moved towards a frustrated Drew, who gets re-energized after speaking to Russell Simmons (not sure why), then she goes to a school election, and then we go into a discussion of the civil rights movement. It all has to do with voting - but I'm not sure what she was trying to say. I think in the end it amounted to what many people in the movie voiced: Young people should vote. Gee.

In the end, Drew doesn't know much about politics or voting and it showed. I'm not sure she was the right person to make a film about voting...

And also, who said documentaries need to be all interviews, anyway? Enough talking heads already.

But maybe I'm just bitter because they never paid me for some of the reseach I did.

Ha, just kidding. All I have to say, is my friend and roommate is DOING it - he just produced a documentary that showed on MTV, and for whatever flaws and whatever didn't work for me (it's unfair, because I'm a political nut and not the average MTV viewer), he made it happen and it got screened. And I know how hard that is.
The Math Tutor

My mom showed my 508 film to this group who does screening at the Tiburon library at my home town and they want to screen in January. They do a short and then a feature. Sounds good to me!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Intellectual Trends

One of my really smart friends I used to work with up in San Fran told me the indentification of a growing intellectual xenophobia. Best embodied by the neoconservative brain's behind the Bush administration, this movement has little interest in cooperating with the rest of the world. This article indentifies the described.

At the time, she told me about a trend in the judicial system whereby America is increasingly unsympathetic to the judicial decisions and precendents decided in other countries. Our attitude: who cares? They're corrupt and wrong anyway. All we need is the Constitution and we'll be fine. This attitude permeates into business and certainly into international affairs, the finest example being the Iraq War. Many intellectual bloggers share a hint of this attitude, including my favorite, Glenn Reynolds.

On the other side, is the intellectuaul trend to despise everything America does and equate everything with Vietnam. Here's an article that calls them out. An descriptive section:

Now you would think that this bunch of cutthroats, whose favorite tactics are kidnapping or threatening unarmed civilians, would be widely reviled. Nope. They are the underdogs, and have been labeled in the media as "insurgents." Since many countries, and their media, opposed the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, the "insurgents" get favorable press. Very favorable press.

It's the movement to hold up American policy and America action to the fire and be completely, blindly sympathetic to everyone else, even murderous thugs.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Interesting Feature

I just discovered a rather interesting feature on blogger. I don't know if it's new or I've just never noticed it before...there is a scroll button at the top, that you can simply scroll through blogs. I have no idea if they are in any sort of order or what, but it's neat to look through a little bit and see if anything catches your eye.

Things that I noticed turned me on: discussion of books, movies, politics.

Things that turned me off: bitching about boys or girls, poems.

Weird Day

Shot all night from 9:30pm to 8am and then dropped off the film, came house, unloaded the car, went to sleep from 10-1pm, went to work an hour late, but as far as I can tell, no one noticed....did 17 emails in one hour to start (normal is 6-7; 10 is a lot and somehow, I did 17). I kicked major ass, stayed til 7pm, got some Zankou, ate and watched poker, Mon night football, nearly fell asleep, decided I needed to post for my directing project, even though the script isn't written....

Who says this isn't a journal?

Well, the movie is falling behind schedule. What is the point of the schedule anyway? We hardly adhere to it.

My bedsheets have been crumpled up and scrunched and weird for like two weeks and I've been too lazy and tired to fix them and/or wash them.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Sounding Cool

This girl sounds pretty cool. She's from Marin. "Everyone's parents were so fucked up." She says. Marin people tend to dramatize that stuff.

I've been saying this for awhile.

A couple months ago we were having a discussion about the best film in the past 5 years - something innovative, lasting, ahead of times, influential, all those things. In the past 10-15 years, I'd say Pulp Fiction would be the film. In 25 years, Star Wars. In the past 35 years, Godfather I and II. In the past 60 years, Citizen Kane. This type of thing. We couldn't think of anything. I suggested the Soprano's. Why not?

Is a sympton, not the problem, according to this article. Partisan news as a marketplace reaction to the failure of regular media in the post-9/11 years.

I've seen this firsthand. I couldn't read newspapers after 9/11 because they gave no new information. Newspapers and TV news have been getting away with laziness and crap for years, because nothing vital to our lives occurred. People watched the news to stay informed, but not because we HAD to. 9/11 changed that. We needed to know what was happening. And I for one, needed to have a better explanation as to what was happening the world than the SF Chronicle or LA Times or CNN could provide. I turned to blogs - which are sort of what FoxNews and the NY Times have turned into.

Blogs have personality and are unabashedly partisan. They don't claim to be objective and don't want to be objective. News media is coming around, which I'm not sure is a good thing.
1st Day of Production

Went quite well from what I can tell. My job was lining everything up and let people do their jobs. The dailies will tell. It's always amazing the set of circumstances that bring a day of shooting together. Ususally it feels like it's about to fall apart each minute and some type of miracle happens, and it comes together. How this always happens, I don't know.

I watched part of the Long Goodbye last night, an Altman version of the Chandler novel. Unfortunately, we missed the first 40 minutes because of production. The film seemed awesome. It featured one of the greatest scenes in I've seen in a long time - a bunch of thugs trying to intimidate Marlow (played by Eliot Gould) undressing themselves. There's an extra special cameo. I wish I had seen the whole thing - it was screening at the Hollywood Cemetary.

We then ventured to an EIN party which was predictably horrific. I left and bought a FHM with Alyssa Milano on the cover.

I got a ride home and slept forever. We need to shoot again this evening.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Neocon Nuttiness

Hmmmm. It sure is trendy these days to dismiss the "neocon" position. This article reframes it as an argument for democracy. I was going to start this sentance "I guess what it comes down to..." but then I realized it doesn't really come down to any one thing. There are so many layers of viewing the geo-political world. One argument is what America's role ought to be: isolationist or expansionist. Should we promote our values, our economics, our political systems, or should we keep them to ourselves. Both views are rooted in our own self interest - is it too messy to promote and enforce our standards abroad? Too costly? Or, on the flip side, is it too costly to sit on the sideline, while countries head down the wrong path towards poverty and/or war and then genocide and famine?

And then there's another layer, that asks: well, how do we conduct ourselves. If we are isolationsists, and someone attacks our friend or us, what is our response? Do we go to the UN? Do we invade the other country? Do we fight a savage war? Or a do we fight a humanitarian war? Do we fight back at all?

Same on the other side: how do we promote democracy and freedom. Do we give money to countries? Do we depose autocratic rulers? Do we occupy other lands? When other countries do not come around to our way of life, do we cut off money? Do we impose sanctions?

Layers and layers, like an onion.
What a Jerk-Off

This guy sucks.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


According to my TA the problem with 546 is that we are trying to make a movie and the faculty think of it as a class. They think they can put the two together, but when the demands of the movie run up against the demands of the class...

Well, we'll find out in a few minutes if we're allowed to shoot this weekend.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


So I f**ked up. We mistakenly thought our budget was $12,000, but it was only $10,600. Ooops. So we're not shooting reversal and not renting a cargo van and losing some P-design and I feel like a retard, but I'm also oddly peaceful about the whole thing.

Oh yeah, we're also probably getting in trouble with our teachers for test shooting on a weekend when we weren't supposed to test shoot.

We're doing something sketchy with the location.

I can only hope I get kicked out of school.
No Tip - Go To Jail

Heard about this on Stern and it's up on some blogs.

This guy is a martyr, a modern day Socrates...or simply a jack-ass. Bottom line: the obligation to tip is a big issue. I hate the obligation. In my world, there's no obligation to tip and people give big tips. The obligation to tip is the WORST. This is's the part in Office Space when the restaurant manager requires her to wear "flair": it's wrong, it's obnoxious, it's horrific, it's extortion.

A small tipper is a cheapscape. Big deal. Nothing's wrong with it, it's a personality flaw. I think it's funny. Quentin dealt with the issue completely in Resivoir Dogs...the Buscemi scene in the beginning. People argue about working their ass off - bullshit. People work their ass off in all sorts of jobs and professions and don't get paid shit. Who said life was fair? It's best to get the idea of "fairness" out of your head with respect to personal things (ie employment, love, etc) because it ain't useful. In the political spectrum it's different, but not entirely (different topic, different time).

"Deserving" the big tip is our generation...the generation that feels entitled to rule. Our President is reflective of that. I'm glad these Al Queda guys are dumb for the most part, otherwise, we'd have quite a fight on our hands.

Monday, September 13, 2004


So I treated myself to a Grove double feature late this afternoon and evening. They didn't have much, so I watched Resident Evil - Apocolypse and Cellular. Man, those weren't very good movies, although Cellular had a little something going for it. What struck me is Kim Basinger's little thing for young men. The last two movies, 8 Mile and now this, that I have seen, have this odd sexual tension between Kim and her leading, younger male. Hey Oedipus.

There really isn't much to analyze in either movie.

UPDATE: Big thanks for the comment. I love random, unsoliticed comments. Do people who make comments have blogs that I can link to or see? How do I find this info? Anyone, anyone, Bueller....

Sunday, September 12, 2004


I have to break down a scene for my directing class and I'm doing a scene from Chinatown...I've watched this movie probably 12 times in my life. The first 3 or so, I was just trying to piece together the mystery and picked up on the perverse sexuality issues going on. The next 3 times I viewed it through the lens of a historical fiction, a fictional re-telling of the Catillac Desert, the story of how Los Angeles was born. The next 3 times I paid attention to the way the movie was filmed, with this arid dry look and great period costumes and Jack Nicholson's cut nose. These last 3 times I've watched the movie as a slapstick comedy. Every scene practically has an awkward, funny joke....that you never laugh at the first couple times watching the film because the subject matter is so dark and the music and tone of the entire film goes against being obvious for comedy. But it's freaking hilarious...the scene I'm doing is when Jack is caught looking at the farmer's oranges and he gets knocked out by the farmers...

The dialog:

I was hired by Evelyn Mulray.

Mulray. That's the sum-bitch who dun it to us.

Mulray's dead. You don't know what you're talking about, you dumb Okie.

The farmers jump Jack, but he kicks one in the balls, who squeals around hopping like a pig, while the other clubs him with his crutch.

Other hilarious scenes: At the old folks home an old man is rubbing the butt of the nurse. When Jack gets his nose cut, he asks Muldaville where he met the migdet. When trying to reveal to Jack the who the girl she is hiding is, Faye is crying with deep tears and lowers her head, honking the horn. The movie is a freaking comedy.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Good News For People Who Love Bad News

First there's this. And then there's this.

It's pretty much a given that a nuke will be unleashed on someone within the next ten years, methinks.
Ahhh, yes.

American exports!

The other day I was driving to work at 4:30am and drove past two coyote's as I was getting on the 101 S off of Temple Street. It reminded me of Collateral. I want to see that movie again in the theatre.
A Fellow Craftsman


Skip bleach, cross process, shoot reversal, push, pull, all these, it's fun to learn all these things, but it can get overwhelming and distract from what I think is important in film: script, actors, locations. I wish we had all the time in the world for this stuff.
A Freaking Coffee Maker

How hard is to find a coffee percolator...they have them at Kmart, but I've been waiting on the phone with them for like 30 minutes while some retard tries to find them in their store. Have they heard of computers?

I know I can get one for cheap, so I find this all quite ridiculous. I got one for $1 at a thrift store at home, so the prospect of renting one for $10 a day or buying one for $60 + seems crazy to me.

It's so obvious, but it bears repeating. When I grew up, my parents used to tell me about world events they remembered. The biggest deal, by far, to both of them, was the Kennedy assassination. I never felt like anything historical had happened while I was alive - even the Berlin Wall coming down, it was a big deal, but at the same time, not that big a deal to my life. My dad had a somewhat similar sentitment towards the Cuban Missle Crisis. Despite how close we came, at the time, he didn't feel the way he maybe should have.

9/11 is that day for our entire generation.

Worth reading.


Friday, September 10, 2004

Zen and the Art of Producing


Poker tonight. Followed by liz-adies.

This article talks about Ichiro being overrated...I agree with most of this analysis.
Light Blogging

Chuck comments that the blogging has been light, which is true...and which also means, I'm going to blog up a storm this weekend.

Funny things:

Some white trash hick was shooting unwanted puppies this week. One of the puppies realized what was going on and scrambled around, somehow triggering his gun and shooting the honky in the wrist. Go Dog! Compliments of Howard Stern.

Also on Stern, he's going to attempt to tone down the bulletin board, which apparently has been taken over by 50 losers who call everyone a faggot and harrass users off. Sounds appropriate. I'm glad he's going to try to police it...of course, one of the losers calls in and accuses Howard of censorship. Howard (oddly articulately) goes on about how he's trying to create a "unique space" for fans to interact, not some sort of lame-ass loser board for unemployed pussies hiding in through their computers. Go Howard!

Had an interesting documentary idea yesterday about masculinity. I read something somewhere or heard something somewhere where a guy was talking about how he had a great relationship with his father, but that for some reason, the subject always chokes him up. There's a lot of weird male identity issues out there...the most obvious are the ones that manifest themselves in violence. See Arab males attitudes toward violence...I mean all this suicide bombing shit has roots in emasculation and other psycho-sexual things. Also, see the african american male population committing crimes and in prison. We don't see similar stats with african american women. What's up with that? There's certainly structural things going on with both of these issues, terror and incarceration, but one can't entirely look past the gender issues.

Most violent crime is men committing crime against men. There are interesting male issues going on in talk radio - see Stern, Tom Likes (sp?)...Likes even goes so far as to call himself daddy to some of his callers. This is weird stuff.

What else? The movie. Does anyone really care?

My 1 minute directing project went OK. I actually liked it a lot when I made it, but my class was real luke-warm about it. I think it was too obvious or something. The film school crowd is weird, though, everyone has seen everything before and all anyone is looking for is something different (me too). That's not to try to say my movie was cool and they missed it...actually, yeah it is. Whatever, this is the business we have chosen. Unwisely.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Russians are Clumsy

Maybe I've been too busy, but this Russian school seige, it seems to me, didn't get quite as much press or analysis as I would have imagined.

Something bizarre has happened with the world and the narratives we use to shape our perceptions of the world. During the cold war anything the Russians did militarily was bad - it was aggressive and threatening. This applies to the first Chechyn war even after Communism fell and Yeltsin was president. I think the world empathized with the Chechyn's. The same goes for Osama and his crew against the Russian's in Afghanistan. Look at the friendly portrayal of an Afghan Arab in the Living Daylights, an underrated Bond film. He's a cool, stud, pretty much our picture of Osama bin Laden in those days.

This willingness to root for the underdog has emboldened those who can manipulate the "underdog" idea. Unless the underdog is quickly able to transition into a gracious winner, after defeating a foe, he becomes something else, someone not worth rooting for anymore.

That's why I don't think the Red Sox or Cubs should or deserve to win a World Series. They wouldn't know what to do with themselves. They'd lose their loveable identity.

Look at Yasser Arafat. He won a Nobel Peace prize, a guy more responsible for the repression of his own people, both by not negotiating peace and by imposing rough justice and allowing deep corruption to stunt growth, than anyone else in the world.

For so long we've been accustomed to rooting for underdogs, that we've stretched ourselves to the point where we sometimes forgive what shouldn't be forgiven.

This post is all over the freaking place....that's my head right now.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


Apparently, there is a negative correlation between education and amount of sexual activity. From my experience, I would concur.

Man, I've been going at this life thing all wrong...

It's all the rage at film school. Everyone is playing, every filmy party seems to involve a poker game these days...NL hold em. Yes!

Monday, September 06, 2004

Lives of Quiet Desperation

For the first time since moving to LA, I actually miss SF. My friend called tonight, he just moved to the Marina and seemed happy as a clam. September in SF is the best.

September in LA is insane. It's hot, it's busy, it's hectic. I am not really the type of person who says, "I need a vacation," but I need a vacation.
Combat Obesity

The other day I had an idea I think might work for combating obesity, although it is a bit Communistic. We ought to tax food that is bad for you - fast food, etc, and then subsidize food that is good for you - chicken, broccoli, etc.

I sure whether I would like this policy, because I like a lot of food that is "bad" for you and these nutritional trends are fickle. But in general, I think we know certain foods are good and certain foods, especially fast food, are bad. I wouldn't eat McDonalds if it costs $15, that's for sure.
Never Been Kissed

Last night I had dinner at a friend's. We lazily watched part of Never Been Kissed (there wasn't much on TV). It was atrocious. I was paying attention to the production value of the film and it looked so cheap. Drew Barrymore, David Arquette, some teenage stars were in the film. Do people just go to film to see certain personalities...and not very compelling personalities at that. The film was about a dorky Drew Barrymore, a young investigative reporter given an assignment to go back to high school and do a piece on cool kids. So she goes back and well, I didn't see much more, I fell asleep.

Sometimes, when I'm dead tired, I get into lame-cheesy movies, whatever-is-on-TV type of stuff. Zoolander made me laugh a lot a couple months ago...despite being tired of the whole frat pack, ben stiller thang. Never Been Kissed was not one of these movies.

UPDATE: This is a funny and unexpected comment, being that I think most of my readers are film students...or is this a film student playing a joke?

Well, perhaps I'm heartless, or maybe I've seen way too many sentimental films to have formulaic plots and subpar acting and sloppy production design get my juices flowing...I don't think having a heart means being a sap. And I honestly can't believe I'm even talking about Never Been Kissed this much.

And a bitter idiot. Now that's just mean. I wonder why it has to get so personal? Can't people have different tastes? Or more accurately, can't someone have taste and not get insulted by those who don't?
Doing Work and Watching Seinfeld

Been working half-hazardly and watching Seinfeld all afternoon on TBS. Seinfeld and the Soprano's - I could watch these shows all day. I can't wait for the new season of Soprano's to come out on DVD, I'll devote a weekend to it. Right now, I'm so looking forward to Thanksgiving in a way I've never looked forward to it before. I've been in LA for a long time straight now and this movie production is an overwhelming amount of busy work.

It sucks that I'm in grad school and I hardly do any reading. I should be reading. It's mostly blogs.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

12 Hours to Shoot 100 Ft.

I'm tired.

Who will be President?

Saturday, September 04, 2004


In the middle of watching an Ozu movie, Floating Weeds and loving how this guy makes movies. His characters, despite being in Japan in 1959, seem more real to me than many characters in contemporary American films. How that happens, I don't know, but it certainly lends itself to the universal truth theory. Other than Ozu and Jean Renoir, not many foreign filmmakers make me feel that way.
A little Crazy

This idea just sounds a little too crazy for me.

I read a review of Cornel West's new book called Democracy Matters. In it, he apparently talks about the gansterization of America and the world - whereby we basically thug around and make money and the strongest survive. I'd like to read the book and see where he goes with it.

On a similar note, I watched The Fog of War the other night and thoroughly enjoyed it. McNamera is a fascinating and intelligent man. The description of World War II was nearly unfathomable to me - he talked about this Air Force colonel McKay who was this brutal, but courageous, wartime leader. Upon discovering 20% of US fighter pilots were finding ways to cancel mission because the odds of them dying were so high, McKay offered to fly the lead plane on every mission and if anyone bailed out, that they would be court martialed.

He later led the firebombing of Tokyo which killed 100,000 people in a single night. Can you imagine? It is unfathomable to me. I think he may have eventually been on the Hiroshima bomb flight.

McNamera said that we killed 5 of 9 Japanese citizens living in urban areas throughout the war. Today we would call that genocide.
A Good Night of Poker

5 hours of poker last night, I lost for the first 3.5, I had to buy in three times, losing a total of $8. However, we raised the stakes at the end and I took the pot, $15, so an overall win for the night.

Friday, September 03, 2004

I've Been Remiss

But it's all the fault of the movie-making gods - there are none by the way, none benevolent, that is. They are evil-devils those puppeteers.

Speaking of puppeteers, had an interesting conversation with our production designer over lunchtime. She's South Korean and has fairly clear and strong opinions about America and our role in Korea. She, like many South Koreans, do not like the US Military in South Korea. The troops are rude and according to her, commit crimes. I've heard of rape, but she mentioned murder. I find it hard to believe a troop murdered someone and did not get severely punished, but she seems to think it happened.

Anyhow, she likes some thing about the United States, but in the end, thinks we're bullies. She doesn't like the hardline stance we take against North Korea. It scares her. She doesn't think our motivations for being in Korea are sound - she thinks we force the South Koreans to purchase crappy, old military equipment, in essence, paying us off for protection. I don't find this hard to believe.

In the end, she, like many in the world, feel emasculated by the power of the United States. This is not an issue brought up in political discussion, but seems to me the root of the deep-seeded anger the rest of the world feels towards us. They may guise it in Bush-bashing, and say they feel good about Clinton and other politicians who can make us feel safe and loved...but the "root cause" is the exercise of power (economic and social and military) we do all around the world. The practical difference in foreign policy between Bush and Clinton are not, I think, tremendous. What is different in the manner in which we conduct ourselves and the perception countries have of us.

In the middle east, emasculation has turned to humiliation and has spawned Islamic Terrorism. In addition to addressing autocratic governments, terrorist groups, terrorist ideology, and terrorist money, we must address this issue of humiliation, which for my money has been the root psychological cause of much of the violence in the 20th and 21st century.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Producing is a Nightmare

But you're also in the thick of things. I've got a pretty strong love hate with it right now.

I'm missing the Republican convention these days, but think this democrat who spoke last night sounds interesting. They're really pulling out all the moderate stops for this thing, huh?