Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Army Education

I almost with I had this type of education. Serious business and more thoughful than most folks I run into at grad school.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Egyptian Blogger

He notes a hypocricy in the middle east (big surprise), Muslims are angry over American's supposedly desecrating a Koran, despite it turning out not to be true. But they don't give a shit about Hindus buring it. Or in this case, Saddam commits the ultimate insult, by writing the Koran in blood.

All This Money

We run all these numbers about people going to movies- box office and all that crap. I wonder if anyone realizes that the reason movies make so much more money now, than say, 15 years ago is because of ticket price increases that have basically served to update the technology in the theaters. If you counted the number of people who attend films, it is fewer and fewer, and if you account for the age of people who attend films and the increase in population, the people who attend are fewer still (although young folks are probably up).
Could Be Fabulous

I wonder if the USC library will carry it. It's my new secret place to rent newer books.
My Job, Part III

My Mexican table partner never returned. It now only me and the girl who starts conversations, "Let's talk about RELATIONSHIPS." It turns out she's writing a book about why men cheat. I told her to refer to Chris Rock for all the wisdom on the matter, which he can sum up in two words: New Pussy.

"So, Greg, what do you think about women who ask men out?"

My body's red light warning signals are going off. Overweight girl on the prowl. I've been dodging these kinds of incidents since middle school dances, as my friends and I would dodge L---- and A----, when they went on aggressive campaigns, intent on dancing with us. We had plans on how to evade the attacks, which involved working together to avoid capture. But when the time came, and L----- snuck around the corner of a couple dancing, with her eyes locked on you, our battle plans always broke down and it became every man for himself, like 'Nam. I'd take evasive measures, bobbing and weaving between dancing couples, trying to lead her towards the paths of my buddies, who she might grab instead.

"I don't know. Ask Sid."

She turns to Sid, behind me.

"Sid, what do you think of women who ask men out."

"It's fucking awesome!"

Sid is no help. There are no evasive measures to be taken. It's 11am and I'm stuck at this table, alone, with a girl who somewhere along the line decided in her head, that she was going to ask me out. It was to be a long day.

"So, you didn't answer my question - what do you think of a woman who asks a man out?"

"To be honest, I think I like to be the pursuer." (I lied)

"What's your favorite food?"


"What's your favorite kind of food?"

"I don't know. What kind of question is that? It depends what kind of mood I'm in."

"What are your pet peeves?"

"Huh? What's with all these questions? What's your pet peeve?"

"I don't like men who lie and cheat."

"Oh." My phone rings. Thank God.

A few minutes later....

"So what were your pet peeves?"

"When people takes themselves too seriously."

"OHHHH, that's really interesting. Wow. I haven't heard that before. I like that."

Oh man.

"So, do you think that you would know if someone liked you?"

Can a brother get some help here? I'm dying. It's noon. I pretend like I don't hear/understand the question. I am a pussy. I should have dropped the, I happen to be seeing someone bit somewhere in the conversation, it is what a normal person would do. But for some reason, I find it tacky when people do such things, so I refrain from some weird sense of integrity.

I need a way out. I look towards the group. Guys talk about sports. I jump in. Thank the lord for sports talk.

Later in day, I'm in the breakroom, finishing up my book. The lady in love with Johnnie Cochran comes down.

"They crazy up there."

"I know it."

"Ersay think he in charge."

I laugh. This lady, who I found irritating at the beginning, has become one of my favorites. Earlier in the day, she tried to get a group together to jump Ersay (the "lead" in the parking lot during a cigarette break). She decided against the plan when Ersay revealed he might be coming back next week. She begged to be on board.

"I need a job where I don't got to think. Just mindless work. I ain't trying to take work home with me."

When her table partner makes her laugh, she yelps, "He crazy. He crazy!" She may be a genius.

I dread leaving the break room and my book, but it's been 35 minutes (20 minutes too long) and I must return. She is there. She hands me a blank card, with spaces for name and address and phone number.

"Fill this out."


"So I can have your contact info."

"You want my home address?"

"No, just name and email."

I fill it out with my hotmail address, one I rarely use. I don't know why that would make any difference. It's what I give to potential spammers. She hands me the other half of card, which is her info. She is a beauty consultant for Mary Kay.

"What blog software do you use?"

I regret mentioning blogging earlier in the week. Dammit.
Star Wars

There was a moment when I saw the filmmaker in George Lucas. It was a small thing that he screws up a minute later (when Anakin decides to pledge loyalty to the Sith), a moment when Anakin looks out over a digitally created city, a cut back to Padua looking out over the same city, nearly silent. It was one of the few quiet moments of the film, and for a second, I found it almost beautiful, the digital imagery of two people longing for one another (despite the horrific dialog and lack of chemistry when they occupy the same space). I could understand what Lucas meant to communicate, through the images he created...I saw the promising young filmmaker, still in him, able to utilize images to convey feelings he must be incapable of expressing in any other way. It was a little glimmer of hope, the same hope Luke sees in Vader throughout the first series of films. Because Lucas, despite the implication that he is Luke Skywalker (Coppola is Han Solo), is clearly Darth Vader, a promising young filmmaker, easily seduced to the dark side, ie the business of it all.

I just finished The Whole Equation, a must read for all filmmakers with an interest in the history of their profession. In it, David Thomson sums up Star Wars better than I ever could:

I have nothing to say about Star Wars. To the extent that I have written about movies, it has been because I felt there was enough of art (or the attempt at it) in some films to justify the effort - to justify the excitement I had felt in the dark. But there is nothing to be said about Star Wars because there is not enough in it: the fullest response is "Wow!" or pressing the repeat button. It is, for good and ill, sensational. And I like sensations, like hot water on my back or salt on my tounge. But in recent times there are too many occasions when new films do not deserve the space or the paper it would take, let alone the effort. They defy critical response or verbal enquiry. They are beyond examination.

So much wisdom is in this writing, because to think about Star Wars critically is to miss the point. It isn't meant to be criticized, it is meant to be experienced, like a ride. The first scene is exactly that. The audience is cruising through space, on ride and the only question is whether you enjoy the ride or not, or whether you will take it again.

There are other aspects as well that could be touched upon. Star Wars in so many ways isn't even a movie to our generation. It is a part of the cultural fabric, something we have all experienced more in terms of discussion, allusions, games, toys, reference, than an actual film.

There is also the almost pathetic attempt to make a political statement with the film, "Either you are with me, or you are my enemy," Darth Vadar/Anakin says to Obi Wan as he has turned to the dark side. "Only a Sith speaks in absolutes." Ughhhhh. I could shit better writing than that. But how does Lucas reconcile the entire idea of the dark side? Isn't that an absolute? I'm confused.

Anyhow, enough.

UPDATE: Like I said, part of the cultural fabric. Funny stuff.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Reality TV

For those interested in possibly working in reality tv, this site is worth looking at.

Say what you will about reality tv, at least it's an opportunity to work and get paid...which is more than most of the film and tv opportunities can say. Robert Altman worked in industrials and crap tv for 15 years before making M.A.S.H. Jean Luc Goddard still does...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Zarqawi, Zawahiri, Al Queda, Saddam. I'm with Austin Bay on most of this, although just because Zarqawi came to Iraq at a certain point while Saddam was in power doesn't mean there was a connection. Shit, Mohammed Atta came to the US and used his own name publically, but it doesn't mean we supported him.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

My Job, Part II

Today the big issue is whether the project will finish early. We see the boxes dwindling down and all are worried we will finish too quickly and be let go. The lady in love with Johnnie Cochran reveals she asked the Lord last night for the project to last longer.

Meanwhile, the "lead" document reviewer, an African American man in his late 30s has taken it upon himself to organize purchasing a gift for our boss at the end of the week. He's asked everyone to contribute $2 to buy some movie passes and a card (although the math doesn't add up because $2 x 30 = $60, way more than movie passes and a card). I object to this kind of nonsense (we've already celebrated two birthdays in a week - one with cake and ice cream), and buying our boss a present is excessive. But I feel like I'm in some sort of union and begrudgingly give the $2 over to the group. I complain about it and my two table partners say I don't have to give up the money if I don't want to. I say "I know, but then everyone will think I'm cheap." The Mexican chick asks, "Are you cheap?" "Of course," I reply, "but I don't want people to think so."

I decide I will give up the money for the right to complain about giving up the money. I feel like I'm being hustled and taxed, but it's a small price to pay to be able to complain about it, which is infinately more valuable, a good investment, I'd say.

When the "lead" goes to take a break, a women at his table begins to dish the dirt on him from the day. First, he asked her earlier in the day to make a photocopy for him of her document list. She told him to photocopy for himself, to which he replied "I don't know how to work the copier." She told him to go try and if he needs help, she'll help him.

She offers him ice cream later in the day and he asks her to go get him a spoon from the kitchen. "Rrrright...." she says, "Get your own damn spoon." He asks again about the photocopy and she says no again. He says, "I'm the lead."

"Oh, no, he didn't!" Says the lady in love with Johnnie Cochran.

Apparently he doesn't know how to work the machine.

"You a paralegal, all you do is make copies."

"I normally have my secretary do it."

It appears to the group that the position of lead document reviewer has gone to his head, first collecting money from everyone, and then demanding that one of the other document reviewers act as his secretary. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

As the day winds down, finally a new batch of documents come in, filling up the back room. The lady in love with Johnnie Cochran raises her arms and whispers to herself, "the lord answers prayers." She turns to me and says, "You know what they call that up in there?"


"Job security."

Monday, May 23, 2005

My Job

The job I am working right now is a document review - a company needs a bunch of people to read contracts and write certain info for the contracts so they can pay them out or collect money on them. It's all part of a bankruptcy and similar to projects I did before film school. Picture a big conference room with boxes of documents, groups of people going through the documents and putting the in piles based on whether they have all the information, missing one piece of info, two pieces of info, etc. It's really easy, but pays awfully well because the presupposition is that you have some legal background. Most folks are former lawyers, people in transition, trying to pass the bar, out of work paralegals, or other forms of shysters - wannabe filmmakers, etc. The crowd is hilarious and I often feel as though I've stumpled upon a summer camp. All we do all day is read the documents and chit-chat about all sort of things...the summer camp reference is simply about a big group of unknown people coming together, getting to know each other pretty well in a really short period of time and then going back to their regular lives.

About half the group are church-going African American's. A group of generally overweight African American ladies lament Steve Harvey being taken off the radio, saying, "I NEEEED to laugh in the morning. I ain't even trying to listen to music." I politely suggested listening to Howard Stern. The 50 year old lady, who openly admits to being in love with Johnnie Cochran, turns to me, "Oooh baby, we living in different worlds, you know. They about four, five, different worlds up in here."

The scrawny jewish dude, the most vocal, and irritating, offers the suggestion to listening to KPFK, the communist radio station, 90.7. This guy spends most of the day whining about the WTO and George Bush and is the most widely disliked member of the group. He seems like a nice guy, but he is utterly insufferable to listen to talk. He stole some post it notes from another table and one of the African American ladies (not the one in love with Johnnie Cochran, but the one interested in having a baby, artificially inseminated, if necessary) got pissed. He replied that the supplies ought to be common and shared. She said that he should get his own post it notes from the supply center and quit stealing hers. He refused to apologize and said that he was working here first and brought the group supplies from the supply center to the group - she wouldn't have the post it notes if it weren't for him. She called him annoying.

I spoke with the scrawny guy (who not surprisingly is into documentary) a bit about documentary filmmaking, actually he asked me some questions, I gave him answers that he didn't listen to, about shooting formats, DV versus Beta, HD vs. Film, etc, but he used the opportunity to basically talk about how he know about composition. His problem: he is incapable of listening, all he does is spout off.

Today my table partner didn't show up. She comes in progressively later each day, first 8:30am, then 9:30am, then 10:30am, then 12:30pm, 2:30pm (on Sunday), and today she didn't even bother. She is this funny, boy crazy, Mexican girl who on the first day was bossing everyone around, which made her an automatic target of my jokes. We were talking about *sex* (of course, what else can people talk about) and she says something about America being obsessed with sex and look at how much we followed the Monica Lewinsky thing. I said, "What else should we be paying attention to?" She says very quickly and seriously: "The OZONE layer!" My other table partner and I started falling out of our seats laughing, just by the way she said it. Her phone message, "Hi, this is ----, I'm not here to pick up the phone, OR, I didn't want to talk to you. Leave a message."

She keeps offering me ginsing tablets and I read the bottle the other day, "Not FDA approved." "Oh, so what, it's all political, a conspiracy, they don't want you to eat ginsing, to make money, it all societal." She rambled on using parts of almost any cliche she could remember. Hilarious stuff.

One of the more interesting stories I've been listening to is this girl who looks like an undergraduate sororiety girl (she's the most attractive of the group) talk about her newborn child that her parents are taking care of. Apparently, she is a lawyer, been practicing for four years, got pregnant and the guy runs off, has the baby and is now trying to work out what she is going to do with her life. It's quite bizarre, cause this girl is small and I swear to god could easily pass for a sororeity girl at USC, just completely like a million people I grew up with - yet she is a complelely single mother and is going to raise this child. Her parents are in town taking care of the baby and she went out partying one of the weekend nights. Obviously, I respect this need to party (she probably hasn't for nearly a year), but at the same time I'm thinking - man, you have a child and you're out partying? Didn't Chris Rock warn about this? Of course, it's none of my business, but it's weird.

Lastly, there is my other table partner, a young African American lady, only about 24 who graduated from Notre Dame, who will talk about nothing but relationships. Her favorite line to start a sentence, "Let's talk about RELATIONSHIPS and how..."

Funny stuff, but I start to zone out a lot when she speaks. Nice, smart girl, though.
Your Body's Redlight Warning Signals

You don't need to be a genius to spot ill health. I mean, if a smelly green discharge is secreting from your nipple, something is wrong with your boobs. Well, I just slept through my arclight dome star wars tickets. The lesson: I'm too damn tired. This same thing happened last year, when I was busy producing a project and working and I started forgetting things and not sleeping enough, figuring I could work through it. Well, it kept going and going, I didn't force myself to break and not only did it suck, it culminated in a car accident.

SO, I need to mutha fucking chill. I'm almost half happy I missed the movie, so I can get a good nights rest. Once the temp job is done (this fri), I will be back in action, blogging on a daily basis, able to watch star wars, and helping this damn movie get made.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Picking on Huffington Post

I admit that I like to pick on the Huffington post. This is rather embarrassing that she has a whole series of links wrong. This is what 5 million gets her? Yikes.

I was talking about Huffington at work today with some folks and just to recap her life story: she married extraordinarily wealthy, uber conservative, Michael Huffington, a one term rep in the House. Michael (with Arianna in the background) ran the most expensive Senate campaign ever against Diane Feinstein and lost. He then came out and admitted he was gay, got divorced from Arianna, which prompted her to begin flirting with libertarianism and now she has settled on being uber left-wing, the "voice" against governor Arnold and a ferverant critic of president Bush.

I guess you could say I'm not much of a fan. She's no Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The Nuclear Option

I admittedly have not been reading and blogging as much as I would like lately, but has there been any discussion of the use of the term, "Nuclear Option" in the media?

We are so concerned with political correctness, in general, I'm suprised there isn't more of an outrage over this terminology. To me, it indicates two, hugely problematic elements of our society.

1. The idea that Democrats and Republicans are perpetually at war. Each side is guilty of this, but the fact is, we aren't at war with one another. A normal Republican and normal Democrat can sit and have a chat and probably come to a normal agreement about most issues facing their lives using common sense and decency. But for some reason, politicians, pundits, lobbyists, etc. create this unnecesary divisiveness between the two parties which makes the whole business rather nasty. The nuclear option is an indication of such thinking, thinking that is completely unhelpful and worse (to me) - unuseful.

2. The news media constant need to entertain and catch viewers with catchy terms. The nuclear option makes a procedural rule in the Senate sound so much more interesting than it really is. If we start using terms like nuclear option in reference to procedural elements, does it devalue our sense of the horror of nuclear bombs or nuclear war. Is the vote in the Senate have similar consequences to North Korea testing a nuke?

Friday, May 20, 2005

Movie Math

An article that we've all heard before...theater runs are just the beginning, DVDs are the money makers, not to mention cable sales, airlines, etc. BUT, for the creatives involved with the business, the domestic box office is HUGE. If your movie is perceived as a failure at the box office OR critically, it'll be hard to make more movies. On the other hand, if you movie is perceived as a success at the box office OR critically, you are practically guaranteed another shot.

The counter example to Gone with 60 Seconds is Troy. It'll make money in the end. But David Benoiff and Wolfgang Peterson are no longer as bankable as they were prior to Troy. On the flipside look a film like Requiem for a Dream, which didn't make a ton of money, but ensured that Aronofsky will keep working. His next project is going to be huge.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


I'm in love with this woman. It's a long article, but here are some good parts.

Growing up in a Muslim school, upon hearing about Salmon Rushdie's book:

We had heard that there was this book," Hirsi Ali says, "and that the author had said something horrible about the Prophet, which was extremely blasphemous. And the first thought that came into my head was simply, 'Oh, he must be killed.'

This is so honest...

And here is a brilliant quote, regarding journalists who insist she is a trauma victim from childhood, and that explains her "radical" point of view:

Why are journalists obsessed with personal history?" she asks in her quiet, Africa-lilted English (one of six languages she speaks, including Somali, Arabic, Amharic, Swahili and Dutch). "From my background, being an individual is not something you take for granted. Here it is all you, me, I. There it is we, we, we. I come from a world where the word 'trauma' doesn't exist, because we are too poor. I didn't have an easy life compared to the average European. But compared to the average African, it wasn't all that bad. I know that to some people I am traumatised, that there is something wrong with me. But that just allows them not to hear what I say.

Everyone is so damn afraid of offending people, particularly Muslims, that we are afraid to talk about the much bigger and scarier issues going on. A left wing politician in the Netherlands thinks everyone is overreacting to the Van Gogh murder - it's just an isolated event. It's the same thing left wing Americans say about 9/11, oh it's a one time event. Or the left wingers in Spain, or 3/11 is a one time event. On Salmon Rushdie, it's a one time thing, oh, and I didn't even know this before, but "the Japanese translator of The Satanic Verses, Hitoshi Igarashi, was stabbed to death in Tokyo in 1991." And if you dare say anything, you're branded a racist. There is a pattern, a very frigging scary pattern, something we ought to acknowledge, talk about, if not outright blame. The things Ali says are bold, potentially offensive, but I think needed, especially for a politician. I think that's why I love her.
The Whole Equation

I'm loving this book. He addresses film school, briefly:

For any young person eager to make films, film school is a sensible destination not so much because of the teaching it provides but because it will offer equipment, film stock, and the support of other people who have skills you lack. The film studio is the same model, writ larger, because it offers the best professional company and the resources of basic labor and serious money you will need....a studio offered the money, and then provided something far harder to obtain than 100,000 g's: a nationwide system of distribution and marketing, so that your film might be seen by "everyone." In turn, some of the box office revenue would serve to fund your next film.

Does that sound unreasonable, or isn't it the kind of system any commune of wild artist filmmakers would have come up with, granted the individual urge to make films and the communal pleasure in seeing them?

Interesting stuff. Especially with respect to distribution. Think about film school without screenings. Utterly worthless. We're paying to get our movies seen, not made.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Read this post. Man, this last sentence is awfully harsh.

Did anyone see Mr. Reynolds on CNN with Arianna Huffington the other day? He's my favorite blogger and all, but I'd be damned if he didn't look a little bit like O'Brian from 1984 (or at least how I imagined O'Brien).

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Maybe Phil is really onto to something. If mean, if President Bush supports it....kudos, Bill Mahar and the Huffington Post, I'm sure they'll take credit.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Nightmare Next Two Weeks

Blogging may be slow these next two weeks as we gear up for production and I start this temp job...just an FYI.
Ouch, Again

This hurts. Huffington massacred again, this time by LA Weekly, of all places.

I can't believe it cost her in the range of $5 million to start her blog. Public Musings, total cost = $0. I have proudly not spent a cent. Lots and lots of labor, though. Not to be solipsistic, but I like Public Musings a whole lot better.

UPDATE: I re-looked at the Huffington Blog. It is truly, truly embarrassing. The sophistication is so low, I'm sad for the writers. It's like the moment in a classroom when a student is reading aloud and he can't pronounce easy words correctly. You want to be polite, but at the same time, it's fundamentally sad. Maybe they'll have George Lucas write on cinematic art...
Where to Eat in Silverlake

Some ideas.
Civil War In Iraq

On NPR today, an former top CIA official from the Middle East said that what is happening in Iraq is a Civil War and we don't have the guts to say it or admit it.

Maybe. But a Civil War implies some goal. I don't see a goal by the insurgency. See below post. Would a gigantic mass murder spree be called a Civil War? Is a gang war more accurate?
Interesting Perspective

From Powerline. Breaking down the "mystery" of the insurgency.

The NY Times tries to analyze the insurgency in Iraq, the foreign fighters, and figure out what Zarqawi wants. Powerline thinks they are starting with the wrong assumption. They begin with the premise that Zarqawi and company are insurgents with political goals, ie land, governence, etc. They cannot see outside the Vietnam or Algeria narrative where rebels want control of land/government etc. "The Insurgency" has no such goals - their goals are to kill as many people as possible, including themselves, he likens them to Aztec priests who killed their own people as sacrifices to their God. He likens them to a mixture between spree killers and serial killers - spree killers kill as many as possible as quickly as possible with the intention of killing themselves or being killed by police. Serial killers try to elude capture, but kill over time...Powerline paints the picture of terrorist leaders acting like serial killers and the fighters themselves acting as spree killers.

Interesting and coherent POV. The terrorists are making an art of killing.

I'm all for respecting Muslims...but I seriously think they need to chill out about this Quran business. Maybe I'm not in a position to say that....

Update: Newsweek says that the report of the Quran flushing might be wrong. Now that would be a major booboo.

Imagine, for a moment, that this is true - the Koran story was a fable and that it never actually happened. I imagine many Muslims across the world and many folks in the US would not believe it - they would think that Newsweek and the military are lying. This is our world today. No trust. It sucks.

He sounds damn good in this interview. The reports of him going crazy sound to me reports of him going sane.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

My Proudest Moment Blogging

Might have just happened. All I need to say is - goto Yahoo.com. Type in:
"Ann Coulter" and anal

and look who shows up number 48 on the list. That's right, suckas.

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Whole Equation

My favorite film writer (David Thomson) takes Chinatown (my favorite movie) and jumps into a book about "America in the time of the movies."

This book was written for me. It converges my interest in things - American History was my favorite class in high school and I went into college as a History major. But it talks deeply about film, it's appeal and effect on our culture, our love and hate affair with the movies, with Los Angeles, the concept of the West versus the East, about writers and businessmen and artists and poseurs and mixtures of all of the above. He writes about Chaplin and Thalberg and Mayer and Robert Towne and Noah Cross and John Huston and Nicole Kidman and King Vidor and Quentin Tarantino and Eric Von Stroheim. There's so much good stuff in here, but one thing keeps nagging me.

The first chapter is all about Chinatown, Towne's story, perfected by Polanski (who changed the original Towne ending) - about the history of Los Angeles. It was originally conceived as a triology...the Two Jakes was later made, but was a production disaster,

The picture turned out to be a dog. Nicholson has never directed again. And Towne's contribution to the rewriting was impeded by his commitment to Days of Thunder, the film on which he met the actor who would become his new patron, when the friendships with Nicholson and Warren Beatty were sundered - Tom Cruise.

And that's how someone who was once among the best writers in Hollywood, and who might have written a fine novel about the life and times of Jake Gittes and Los Angeles, became the man who made a small fortune writing two Mission Impossibles pictures.

The gap between Chinatown and umpteen possible future Mission Impossibles is the lament of this book.

That just gets me wet between the legs. But the thing that irks me is this:
"Towne's parents were well off, but he attended Pepperdine College, up on the way to Malibu."

NO! Wrong! Towne attended POMONA COLLEGE, my alma mater, on the way to San Bernerdino, the school where Kris Kristopherson, Frank Zappa, John Cage, Jim Taylor (co writer, Sideways), Nora Ephram, and Bill Keller (editor of NY Times, I admittedly don't care all that much about his celebrity, but he was a bigshot at alumni weekend) attended.

All Pomona folks have heard it a hundred times - Cal Poly Pomona? No, you dope, Pomona College, one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country! Liberal arts? So, it's like an art school? But Pepperdine - what the fuck, you just remembered it was a small school in LA that began with a P, huh. Come on, this is a history book, get that one thing right.

I'm writing Mr. Thomson, who incidentally lives in my other home - San Francisco, and who I'm willing to bet attended Cambridge, merely because I spent a semester there...there are too many connections to be otherwise.
To Read

Snow Crash
The Conversations with Walter Murch
The Whole Equation
The Underminer
The Thin Red Line
The Last Tycoon

more later....
Summer of...

Last spring, it was Howard Hawks. Last summer, no one in particular. This winter, Robert Altman. This spring, Michael Mann. Over a couple month period, I tried to watch films by these directors and do a little reading about their careers. Who will it be this summer?

Possibilities: Luis Bunuel, Brian De Palma, Alain Resnais, Hal Ashby, Zhang Yimou, Sam Fuller, Yasujiro Ozu, Nick Ray, Agnes Varta, W.C. Fields
10-12 Bucks

I'll bet anyone the cost of admission to the new Star Wars that we will agree that the film sucks. If we both enjoy the film, I'll pay the admission. If we disagree, it'll be a wash. But if we both agree it sucks, I win. That is my proposal. I wish Delgado were in town.
Cultural Differences

Clearly, this is an issue of cultural differences that must be respected.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Don't Diss

Scarlett and Woody. I can see it.
Student Movie Reviews

Per an anonymous comment, I was unable to attend the 508 screening and unfortunately cannot provide any reviews. I feel as though I missed a story or something...had I known someone anticipated some reviews, I would have a made a point of going. Actually, that's not completely true, I opted to see Lawrence of Arabia instead, a film I hadn't seen. That being said, I did see 546 Docs and Narratives, and here are the reviews:

Frank, ----, Benji, and Me - A documentary about fatherhood and generations. Frank was a "great" man, but a shitty father. Josh explores his father's anger towards his grandfather and how difficult it is for him as a young father to Benji. I was tired when I went to see this film and fell asleep, not because it was bad, but because docs are generally slow and it was a long day after a long night. But from what I saw a couple things struck me. I never got a sense of why Frank was a "great" man. There was a picture of him with Martin Luther King and some archive footage of him at McCarthy-like hearing. But I think it is some sort of weird liberal assumption that if you were persecuted during McCarthy times you are some type of hero. The truth is, he was probably doing some shady-Communist shit, creating an environment of tolerance of Stalinist Russia.

UPDATE: Per Kevin's comment, I am removing the reference to commie bastard - I can see how this may be offensive, particularly to Josh, although I mean in the ironic tone, referring to the use of the term in excess with respect to communists during the cold war - but I imagine that gets lost when sensitive people read the blog. But my point remains the same, what is never addressed in the film was WHY Frank was being called in front of the Senate. I recognize that the Senate was acting out of line during the McCarthy era - I'm the first one to react against straight bullying. But to liken it to today, what if there were groups of Islamic Fascists organizing in Mosques, espousing anti-western, anti-american ideology, essentially what is happening in Saudi Arabia. Sure, they are not actively ordering young men to blow up airplanes, but they are creating an environment where that behavior is tolerable and maybe even admirable. Am I the only one who finds something wrong with that, besides Joe McCarthy? It doesn't make one a hero to stand up and say, "Yes, I'm allowed to say whatever I want because this is America - especially if what you're saying creates harm to other people." This is why we outlaw hate speech.

Elia Kazan was shunned in Hollywood because he named names. They said he caved to pressure by the government bullies. But I wonder if Kazan actually came around and thought to himself - actually, what my old communist buddies and I were doing was wrong. We were creating an environment of tolerance for Stalin and his gulags, forced labor and execution camps, by supporting communist ideology in the states. But he's not considered a hero - he's considered a traitor.

That being said, the issue of fatherhood always gets to me, because it's such an odd relationship, fathers and sons. There is a tremendous amount of love and vulerability in the relationship, yet generally it so unspoken and cold. The film touches some elements of it and I particularly appreciated the last scene, when Josh was watching Benji go off to school with a voice over....but then at the lost moment I realized - Josh is ACTING right now.

Event Horizon - A movie about 20 something cancer survivors. This one didn't do much for me - there wasn't a story. It felt like a home video of a girl and her boyfriend dealing with her cancer. I liked that she experimented with some imagery, some Super 8 (I think) and film archive footage. But those images made the Sony Betacam shit look terrible and boring. I wish she had done the entire movie in Super 8, half out of focus, or gone all the way with the artisan aspect. The characters I liked, but didn't love, so it's really hard to pull of a journey like that without either a story or people you love. It's why home videos are generally so boring.

- This was the hit of the night. A film about the sport of geocaching, following three characters, TruRocker, The Ventura Kids, and this fat depressed guy about what geocaching means to them. A good conflict develops between TruRocker and The Ventura Kids - Rocker does the geocaching for love of the outdoors and family whereas the Venture Kids do it for the competitive aspect of finding caches. The depressed guy finds community and happiness in caching. It's a solid, quirky, fun movie.

What was interesting to me was to hear afterwords that TruRocker (who is really lionized during the film) had some really weird relationship with his sister, which got totally cut out of the movie. It didn't surprise me to hear that, because he struck me as a weirdo - this ex-rocker guy whose really self righteous about nature and gets really, really angry at people like the Ventura kids who compete. He reminds me of the ideology of Classic Rock radio stations, the DJs who bellow over the airwaves "Classic Rock is the best music EVER!" As if saying it really loud and with passion makes it true, undisputeably true. I felt like that was the TruRocker approach to geocaching - like, this is the BEST WAY, we're saving the environment from fucked up humans (rappers, pop stars, and the Ventura Kids).

The crowd was really into the film, and then at the end, Nora had all the geocachers stand up and they took up half the room. All of a sudden I realized, the crowd was stacked...and then I realized something else - these 546 screenings in Norris, as big as they used to seem to me, are really just the crew + friends, plus subjects, plus faculty + faculty friends...which makes it bigger than 508 ONLY because the crews are bigger. Something to think about.....

546 Narratives - Last Night (David Thomson laments that films these days often don't warrant being written about. Beware USC filmmakers)

Secret Agent - Beautifully shot. Majestic, really. Move over Storaro. The film itself....aspired to be funny, and it is, in a real easy, sit-com meets Alias way. The thing that actually ruined the experience for me was the first shot of one of the sisters holding a gun. It was obvious that we were in a kids game, this girl looked like a kid playing with a fake gun, not a badass secret agent. I guess it was meant as a sort of real life inspector gagdet type of film, for younger teenage people whose fantasies of being secret agents are rife with such secret agentisms as "You got the 642." My response as a 10 year old - "Holy shit! The 642! She's got the 642! (what's the 642?)"

Lucky - This film had potential. I think the filmmakers needed to watch Cutter's way, but didn't do their homework on amputee movies. I'm totally serious with this. The whole handicapped thing could've been done very well and it was done pretty well. My favorite part was the line, "Do you guys think you were sexually abused as a child." Looks: Huh? "Because, if you repressed it, you wouldn't know." A moment of genius.

In the Grave - So, the dad was a sexual molester and the brother was in love with the sister, right? That's what I got from the scary Halloween imagery/flashbacks and the "knowing" glances and tension with the sisters boyfriend between siblings. But what do I know?

Meeting In Cars - The best thing about this movie was that it went for something different - a parallel story structure, which was actually two stories that barely intersected. I liked to see a different narrative structure. The movie was the most fun to watch because they went out on the streets of LA and got a lot of production value - like Godard says, "my set is the real world." That being said, I didn't care too much for the story or the characters, but whatever, like my friend said at the Pantry last night - These ain't not 533s!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Looks Good

A film production blog from Australia. When I read articles or other crap online, I always get excited when I find out the author has a blog...almost more excited than finding out he/she is an author of some import. That's weird, I think.
Iraq Madness

A hardcore account of the fighting happening in Western Iraq. I heard on NPR today that there are an average of 70 attacks a day by insurgents, double from last month. I've noticed the blogosphere is rather quiet in respect to this development (perhaps because the MSM is covering it in abundance, but also perhaps because it doesn't line up with the general pro-Iraq, pro-Admin position that the blogosphere tends to take versus the MSM, which tended to favor a less pro-war stance)

I've always maintained that the main trouble makers in Iraq are the foreign fighters, Al Queda vs. Baathists from Syria and the old regime. The above article seems to concur with the sentiment - the title "They Come Here to Die." These guys were fighting are hardcore - the article talks about ambushing Marines, using armor piecing weaponry (expensive) and holing up in clever hiding positions, and fighting to die, while taking as many American (and innocent Iraqis) as possible with them. Dangerous muthas. Marines characterized the house, after they finally destroyed it with tank back up, as pure evil. It's odd for us to think about things like that, but I don't think the Marine who described it that way is some moralizing southern preacher pointing to evil everywhere in the world. And that makes this discovery even more scary.

I see three options for Iraq (and how the world deals with Iraq)

1. Let Saddam rule with a gangster regime. Upside: Stability. Downside: Beyond the horror of living with a totalitarian state, where people are subject to arbitrary justice, torture, and mass murder - the psychological impact across generations of people living in fear, without freedom, without agency, creating scarred humans, incapable of realizing their human potential.

2. Chaos. Upside: Costs us no money, we aren't in the position of supporting a terror regime. Downside: Chaos, terror, torture, horror, hell on earth

3. US Supported Government. Upside: Best hope for decent future. Downside: Costs us a lot of money, lives, causes resentment, imperialist designs, US perceived as creator of problems.

What other options are there? If I were an Iraqi and didn't trust the US - felt like we were really only after the oil and to steal from the country, I STILL think I would support a US supported democratic Iraqi government in favor of the alternatives.
A Game/Test

Read this question, come up with an answer and then click on the comments for the result. This is not a trick question.

It is as it reads. No one I know has gotten it right-including me.

A woman, while at the funeral of her own mother, met this guy whom she did not know. She thought this guy was amazing, so much her dream guy, she believed him to be just that! She fell in love with him right there, but never asked for his number and could not find him. A few days later she killed her sister.

Question: What is her motive in killing her sister? (Give this some thought before you answer).

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I Love Blogging

I don't know if I'm being made fun of, but I don't even care if I am. This is a funny idea for a blog and as I predicted, I've been linked to.
Compensation for a Documentary

Is this common?
The Booty Party

The idea has been stolen and someone is doing it. Vanasco will be bummed.
Movie List From The Chronicle I Want To Throw Away, But Want to Have As a Reference For Movie Ideas

1910s: The Chaplin Mutuals, Intolerance, Hearts of the World, The Cheat, Blind Husbands.

1920s: Potemkin, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Sunrise, The Crowd, The Cameraman, The Son of the Sheik, Diary of a Lost Girl, The Unknown, The Gold Rush, Metropolis, The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg, A Woman of Affairs, The Wedding March, Erotikon

1930s: Prix de Beaute, Under the Roofs of Paris, The Divorcee, Duck Soup, City Lights, Hell's Angels, Trouble in Paradise, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Love Me Tonight, Queen Christina, The Gold Diggers of 1933, She Done Him Wrong, Ecstasy, Employees Entrance, The Eagle and the Hawk, Shanghai Express, The Thin Man, Lucrezia Borgia, Beethoven, Camille, Dodsworth, Nothing Sacred, Three Comrades, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Intermezzo, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

1940s: The Shop Around the Corner, The Great Dictator, Citizen Kane, Sullivan's Travels, To Be or Not To Be, Casablanca, Ivan the Terrible, Part I, I know Where I'm Going, Roma, Citta Aperta, Red River, The Bicycle Thief, The Big Sleep, Out of the Past, Key Largo, White Heat

1950s: Winchester '73, All About Eve, In a Lonely Place, A Streetcar Named Desire, Umberto D, Shane, Night of the Hunter, Kiss Me Deadly, Diabolique, The Wages of Fear, The Searchers, Le Amiche, Sweet Smell of Success, Wild Strawberries, Vertigo, Some LIke it Hot, North By Northwest

1960s: The Apartment, Elmer Gantry, Psycho, Through a Glass Darkly, L'Avventura, 8.5, The Silence, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Dr. Strangelove, A Hard Day's Night, It Happened Here, Naked Kiss, The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, A Patch of Blue, War and Peace, Blowup, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet

1970s: The Conformist, Two English Girls, Klute, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Godfather, Serpico, Chinatown, Cries and Whispers, Going Places, Day for Night, Taxi Driver, The Godfather Part II, Saturday Night Fever, Annie Hall, Autumn Sonata, Manhattan

1980s: Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession, Raging Bull, My Dinner with Andre, The Last Metro, La Traviata, Scarface, An Officer and a Gentleman, Amadeus, Hannah and Her Sisters, Midnight Run, Eight Men Out, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Sex Lies and Videotape, Do the Right Thing

1990s: Goodfellas, The Godfather Part III (WHAT?), JFK, All the Vermeers in New York, The Player, Bad Lieutenant, True Romance, Schindlers List, Naked Killer, Much Ado ABout Nothing, The Wife, Savage Nights, Before Sunrise, Freeway, Beaumarchais, Ridicule, Waco: The Rules of Engagement, Henry Foot

2000s: You Can Count on Me, The Piano Teacher, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship, Bridgit Jones Diary (Huh?), Cherish, Lantana, 25th Hour, The Pianist

I can tell that I don't have the same taste as this guy, but I figure the list is worth keeping for reference.
Broadway Danny Rose

Woody's movies are so funny - the explore and rehash the same exact issues over and over again: sexual angst, relationships, ineptitude, new york.

This is Woody as one of his most sympathetic characters, Danny Rose, a broadway talent agent, loyal and good to his clients who continually leave him once they get famous.

My favorite character - the Mafia family brother who is in love with Mia Farrow, writes poetry, and tries to kill himself.
Holy Shit!

Check out publicmusings in Spanish. This is WAAAAY too badass.
More Sex

I guess I should say, "more on sex," but this title is a little catchier. Nate muses on the economics of sex...
Sensing Agrees

I predicted a little while ago that movies would swing right because of the economics of ideology (yes, I just made that up). Here Donald Sensing suggests the same, but reminds us: the ideology doesn't matter so much as the STORY, first and foremost.

But as Marsha Kinder would say: story(narrative) IS ideology.

Arianna Huffington starts a blog and the fire arts are swarming. Let's see if she can hang.

UPDATE: I'm not going to waste much time or thought on this Huffington blog, but from what I've read so far - IT SUCKS, royally. She feels like such a poseur to me, with her MASSIVE blog roll. What did she do? Go to Truthlaidbare and pick the top 100 blogs and put them in alphabetical order? What a douche bag.

Then she has all this really cool people write these pretentious little bits. Quincy Jones laments Michael Jackson. Jesus. Say something funny or interesting - don't waste my time with a eulogy.

Bill Maher talks about biodeisel. No offense, Phil, but SNOOZE...(note, I look forward to seeing how you engage the audience with the documentary, as we talked about in class, you don't want it to be a Public Service Announcement)

The only funny person is Larry David, who should really have a blog of his own.

This is like a gang blog saying, "look how many cool, important people we have on our side." It's the blog equivalent of Ocean's 12. I'd rather read one interesting person with a complicated point of view, a some wit, and a sense of humor (about themselves, most importantly).
Star Wars
Hear the bad news:

It opens next week. I saw it, and here's the thing: It's unbelievably bad. O I'm telling you this because movie critics won't. So far all the early reviews -- all of them, from Variety to the Hollywood Reporter to Time magazine -- have been favorable. Why? Because while the movie critics of my long-ago youth were middlebrow snobs suspicious of populist entertainment, today's critics have turned into toadies. They are afraid of being on an audience's bad side, afraid that a movie they will pan might really strike a chord. Since it's a foregone conclusion that the final Star Wars is going to make a jillion dollars, the safe thing for critics to do is say nice things about it. The only nice thing I can think to say about it is that it's not quite as mindspinningly wretched as its predecessor, Attack of the Clones, but it's plenty awful anyway. Even Yoda gives a rotten performance. Go see it if you must when it opens next week, but at least you got one fair warning here.

I agree with him with respect to critics and I strongly suspect I will agree with him regarding the film. It's gonna suck, folks.

This points to a broad problem with entertainment these days - a lot of the people judging have no taste whatsoever. It's not just critics that are toadies, it's the academy as well. My understanding of the voting for Million Dollar Baby was that people at the last minute voted based upon who they thought was going to win...to be on the "winning" side.

I liked the movie, so I don't necessarily have a problem with the result, but the process - winning by a bunch of dumbshit choads voting between Marty and Clint because they want to be on the right side of a popularity contest, reeks to me. And they wonder why films suck - because the people behind them suck. Plain and simple.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Rocket Science

They sort of get it. Make a good movie and it will do well. Make a bad movie and it won't. There are some exceptions, but this is the basic rule. Don't blame competition or all that other crap.

I know it's easier said than done, but why do people act surprised when a crappy movie doesn't do well?
Bizarre Sex Habits

What the hell is going on? First Ann Coulter and now this.

During college, my group of friends used to give the "Elaine" of our group shit for dating a frat guy who was rumored to have had sex with a sheep during a fraternity initiation. We called him by his last name with an elongated first syllable, like a sheep baaaaing....

We never knew whether the rumor was true or not, but insisted on giving her shit because EVEN if the rumor weren't true, the mere fact that the rumor existed pointed to the oddness of his (perceived) sexual proclivities.

Come on, sex with animals, that's just too funny to ignore.
Make Me Stop

I'm a completely compulsive blogger when I'm not overwhelmed with school work. As you can see. I'm supposed to be reading these papers and giving insightful notes to my classmates in Crit Studies. It's a bit odd because I'm the only production student and I feel a bit inferior because they spend all their time reading and watching movies, while I spend all my time writing and making movies.

We wrote these final papers and are meeting tomorrow to go over them. Some are quite good. I wrote about - you guessed it - blogging. I'm slightly diappointed with the paper, mostly because I didn't read enough to write something really good...but who has the time to read the 14 books or something that were assigned during the semester?
Father's Office

Found a great little spot to eat on Montana and 11th in Santa Monica, called Father's Office. It's a high-end beer joint with a small tapas menu and a specialty hamburger. It reminds me of a smaller version of The Thirsty Bear in San Fran. The burger comes prepared a special way with carmelized onions, blue cheese, and hickory bbq sauce. Mmmmm good.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I May Be Slightly Homophobic, But

When I read about this shit, it makes me want to trounce the thugs who have the audacity to violently threaten someone for their sexual proclivities...
College Reunion For Another Perspective

Here's the Pomona's profs blog I read earlier. I love this post - I measure it's strength by my ability to relate, despite not being in a remotely similar position. It's about the damn alumni weekend I went to last week.

She remarks on a class of 2000 member who "heard" she has a cool blog. I'd say it's 50/50 odds that I was the one that member "heard" it from. (note: i just reread the post and the person said "the most amazing blog," which lowers the odds of it being me saying that - because I would never say something in those terms, although the other person may have taken upon him/herself to elaborate what I may have said) Initially she laments people reading or having a high expectations...but that's why its a blog and not a journal.

I feel similar about making movies. If you make a decent one, all of sudden people want to see it, and then you get this weird feeling where you want to apologize and be like, "it's not thaaat good" because you know if folks have that high expectation that after they see it, they'll be like, eh, no big deal. Or even worse, "Yeeeaaah...I liked it." Puke.
Lawrence of Arabia

I heard Kingdom of Heaven wasn't any good, so I opted to check out a real epic this weekend screening at the Aero...man, what a huge film. They don't make things like this anymore. 70mm print, intermission, I felt like I was at the symphony, which I guess was what some movies were going for at the time to compete with television.

There isn't much I can write about this film, it's such a huge movie, both in ideas and in production, and it's all probably been said from people way smarter than me. My favorite part was Omar Sharif's entrance from the super long lens.

I just realized that there were no women in the film. And this fact made me remember a moment when my gaydar went off during the movie, when Lawrence is being tortured by the Turks and the Turk leader goes off into his room, leaving his door a tad open for Lawrence to peek into. The turk watched and listened to the torture from what seemed to me was his bedroom - there was something really gay about the whole scene. Then there's the part when Anthony Quinn asks Omar, "Do you love him?" in reference to Lawrence as he weeps. And also the part when Lawrence prances around in his new Arab clothes.

A big gay epic.

2 Updates: Of the many interesting credits, the most interesting, to me, was Nick Roeg as one of the 2nd unit camera people. Earlier this year I watched Walkabout, an amazing film about a young brother and sister who get stranded in the Australian outback. Many of the images were similar to those in Lawrence...interesting little connection. For lovers of weird/semi obscure films, Nick Roeg is one to check out, Walkabout and the Man Who Fell to Earth.

Sightings. I saw a couple of USC affliated people at the screening. We're everyone in LA, I swear. You can't go to a movie event in LA without seeing USC people....the head of the editing track was there, the head sound SA. I think I saw one of the desparate housewives, too - the one with red hair.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Hope For Islamic Law?

Man, who fricking knew? Islamic law sanctions "pleasure marriages" that last from 1 hr to 10 years. Hot damn! Post Saddam, this practice is flourishing in Iraq.

I'm am deadly serious when I say all this terrorism business has to do with a lack of sex for the young men involved. If these dudes were allowed to mack on chicks, believe me, they would not be spending their time trying to figure out how to blow us up - they'd be spending their time trying to figure out how to blow a load.
Ann Coulter and Anal Sex

Comes (pun) up again. I wonder what this is all about...

Remember this if you actually clicked over.

Friday, May 06, 2005

To Read

I want to read this.
Leave Lindsey Lohan Alone

I think I'll become the official supporter of Paula Abdul and Lindsey Lohan. Why is everyone so mean to these pop idols, meant to be worshipped like queens of yesteryear?
You Gotta Admit, It's Kinda Badass

...and also a little scary to have a company with a legislative agenda. But that's Microsoft for you, an advocate for gay rights.
Pim Fortym

As long as we're on good world leaders. Here's to one who was assassinated, who I never really followed or knew at all. It sure sounds like I would have liked him, though.

I guess he barely survives. It doesn't look great for him, he may need to step down as PM. As much as I like Blair, he's been around for what, 10 years now. I wouldn't cry if he and Britian moved on...although I still think he's the most decent world leader.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


I love Chappelle, even if he's gone crazy. I hope Hollywood will be as good to him as they've been to Robert Downey Jr.
Management Problems

It looks like Zarqawi is having some management problems. Finally, the difficulty in managing others is actually helpful
Good Question

USS Neverdock asks when is Bush going to get tough with the Saudis? Nice blog format, too.
Beaten to the Punch

Someone is doing a blog documentary. I never thought it was that original of an idea, but it would have been a good excuse to meet some cool bloggers.
Lightweight 16mm Camera

Peter is excited about this 16mm lightweight aaton camera with a video display mount.
Ad Revenue

It looks like a project is in the works for making blogs into a big source of ad revenue. Amazing fact: Google and Yahoo will rival major TV networks, ABC, CBS, NBC in advertising revenue this upcoming year...
Unbelievable Screening

Tonight was amazing. For the first time during film school, I was literally blown away by the talent of my classmates. We had a 533 screening for our final projects. People went frigging nuts and made tremendous movies...the AVERAGE film tonight was completely watchable - which says a lot for film school, where most films are utterly unwatchable except if you're a fellow student or crew member. There were several great little (and not so little) movies. I felt lucky to be in a room with such talent. Half of the things were better than what's on TV most of the time. No joke. In the words of a classmate who attended, "I feel like I stumbled upon an underground film movement at USC, where all the good films are actually being made."

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

She's Got My Vote

J Lo for president. How is she only 35? It seems like she's been around forever...
At First It Was The Employees Who Were Worried...

...now it's the employers; re: blogging. Alice will be happy to see this. I don't think a little anarchy ever hurt anyone.
Upsides and Downsides to Becoming a Successful Filmmaker

People will pay attention to what you say and do. This is tougher than it sounds.

This is being pretty brutal to Mr. Lucas, but all true...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Everyone knows the legal reasons for going to Iraq were shaky. Part of the reason for this is that international law wasn't designed to handle political terrorism and sweeping conditions that make terrorism a viable option for many. This isn't news. The question is whether ousting Saddam will, in the long term, make the world a safer, better, richer place. I love how Blair's conservative opponent is saying he lied to the British people...this is what the Dems need to do in this country - hijack the good positions (the moral and political high ground).
Too Funny

A short story published as a blog.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Introduction

I first read about blogs in Newsweek of all places. After 9/11, I devoured the enormous amounts of news coverage devoted to the terrorist attacks, the causes, the response, the stories of the victims, the hijackers, all the major players. After awhile, however, the regular news coverage wasn’t satisfying, I started exploring other avenues for more in-depth stories, or new perspectives, or something different from what I began to see as repetitive information constantly being reported in newspapers and magazines. I was looking for different narratives.

I found Instapundit.com , a blog run by Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at University of Tennessee. His blog is composed of short entries, with hyperlinks to articles or other blog posts, normally with a few specific comments or a joke. Nearly overnight, it felt like I had found a massive new database of information. More importantly, I found that I could search based on different criteria. With traditional print newspapers, I could read a couple of sections – the front page, the international news, the sports, the arts/entertainment sections. In cyberspace, I could search out articles published around the world on Islamic terrorism, or any subject I wanted to read about. Reynolds and many other bloggers, it turned out, were also interested in 9/11 and America’s relationship with the Muslim world. Bloggers would link up stories from Australian papers, British papers, Israeli papers, Al Jazeera, AND, most interestingly, from people living in Iraq, serving in Afghanistan, or foreign policy experts blogging about foreign affairs.

For awhile I read blogs without commenting, navigating through a much wider range of information than a local newspaper, and experiencing a higher level of immersion. The immersion factor was due to the personalities behind the blogs themselves. There was no shame about promoting a particular ideology and no claim for objective reporting. It is commonly acknowledged that a blog reflects a personality of a lone blogger or group of bloggers. This acknowledgement made the experience more honest and realistic than reading or listening to “objective” news reports. The blogosphere is a discurtive community. Ideas are thrown around loosely and sometimes recklessly. People respond immediately by adding a new thought or to point out elements of an argument they found wrong or faulty. When I first became immersed in blogs, I felt like I had entered a heated college dorm room discussion with students, professors, and professionals, from all over the world. I wanted to join in, so I started a blog.

My blog has become a part of two parallel communities in cyberspace. The first community is the larger blogosphere of “blogger rock stars” the Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan, Virginia Postrel, etc., blogs that get hundreds of thousands of visitors a day. I read most of their posts, often linking to their stories, much like one would read a columnist or a publication. Our relationship is not reciprocal, however, they do not read my blog posts, nor respond to my comments.

The other community is a local community of bloggers, friends and colleagues who blog about more local issues, film students, film professors, friends from home, etc. This can be a rich discussion because there is a back and forth, many comments and interlinking between each others blogs. We become readers and writers, often responding to each others posts and challenging each others beliefs and sharing information and expertise in our own area of future employment: entertainment.

Blogging has become a hip phenomemnon in the past couple of years and I enjoy spending my free time blogging. No one blogs for money, even all of the large bloggers have “day jobs” as writers, editors, professors, or professionals. Part of the fun of the blogging is that it started as and remains, a hobby.

This paper will explore the appeal of blogging, how the pleasures measure up to other activities with narrative consequences, like reading novels, newspapers, or watching television and movies. We will look at blogging both as a medium and as a genre. As a medium, blogging is defined by the technology and format of common blogging software. As a genre, we will examine the different types of blogs: Punditry, Personal journal, and the associated subgenres, the Warblog, Research Archive, Photojournal, etc. We will use blogging as an example of narrative mixing with new media and computer “rules.” Lastly, we will explore the consequences, what is at stake when we talk about narrative and new media and how blogs shape the way we understand narratives about the world around us.