11.28.2005

ITABALIO

....Thanksgiving was pretty pleasant. I worked every day of the long weekend and drank a lot of wine, not simultaneously. Surprisingly, there was big action on the table, which kept things lively. I was expecting it to be dead. I've been working on making Gloegg, a hot Scandinavian wine punch that evokes for me certain high school holiday parties. I got the recipe from the Norwegian cinematographer who shot TA91. It was nice to communicate with him for once about something that didn't involve frame rates or color correction. One of my co-workers got married on Saturday, so we had to work an extra-long shift to cover his absence. After the shift, we spent a good few hours drinking, gossiping and watching "Tampopo" on my laptop. Still one of the finest films in history. All in all, a satisfying weekend. I spent just enough time writing and doing my LA Aspiring Whatever Hustle to feel that I was doing it, and yet not be consumed with the angst of it all. The rest of the time was just working, eating, drinking, gabbing with friends, talking shit about crazy gamblers, being buzzed, all the little thanks-worthy things that make up real life.

11.22.2005

see the stars are shining bright, everything's all right tonight

Like, I just went to the Depeche Mode concert. Ohmigod. It was RAD. A few thoughts:

....those songs sound much better now than I remember them. Of course there is a huge added element of nostalgia. But there is also added musical appreciation for the little hooks and melodic things which have outlasted, rightfully, a lot of other 80's pop music.

....there were a lot of very young Latino people there, There were also a lot of huge guys with goatees who looked like they could kill me with a shoulder twitch. I guess the band really is reaching a new wider audience. Either that, or all the skinny Europhile-geeks who liked DM when I was in high school grew up into huge guys who could kill me with a shoulder twitch.

...."Enjoy The Silence" is a great rock song live. So is "Policy of Truth" and "Everything Counts." "Just Can't Get Enough" was just kind of yknow, "Just Can't Get Enough." It could not escape its own essential synth-poppiness. But those other songs were elevated via guitar to full arena-size epiphanal grandeur, whilst avoiding the cliches of normal guitar anthems, because of the juxtaposition of all those tinkly little electric piano noises.

..."Everything Counts" is kind of a deep song. I never really got it before, I just thought it was one of those lyrical This-Rhyme-Is-So-Silly-You-Won't-Be-Able-To-Forget-The-Chorus kind of things. But tonight I really glommed all the verses about "contracts" and "careers" and decided that the chorus is an ironic reference to the bean-counting, labeling and parcelization that consumes our society, AS WELL AS being a pretty plea for salvation through the quantum interconnectivity of "Everything." I used to think it was only about that second thing.

....I was either a lot dumber when I was in high school, or a lot smarter.

....Dave Gahan does not seem to play an instrument except his voice and the occasional handclap, but tonight he really impressed me as a musician. It's not like he did anything really complicated or wacky, I can't quite explain it. It's like he's got this voice, this peculiar deep drone, and he knows exactly what to do with it. He's locked in to the dynamics and groove of the song (which, to be fair, are probably already pretty locked with computer assistance). He's not like, say, Adam Duritz, who may know a few guitar chords but comes off as a guy that they just threw up there to wiggle and make arrythmic rooster noises.

...on the other hand, maybe Gahan comes off well because he knows that at some point in the set, he doesn't have to do anything. They start playing one of those old songs and he just has to gesture to us (the audience) and we sing the whole fricking song for him. A testament to the power of simple words that rhyme, and Reason #1000003 why being a rock star is the Best Job Ever.

...my freshman year roommate in college was kind of a typical Asian O.C. homophobe. He suspected me of queerness because of my poster of Prince, but he looooooved Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, all that. This is my rampup to saying that Depeche Mode live has gotta be one of the most powerful queer-positive experiences ever, even though I don't know if they're gay or what. They don't seem gay or straight. Gahan (groan oh him again, look, step off, he's my new boyfriend) fuses the masculine and feminine energy into something...else. I mean, not that David Bowie and every other rocker with eyeshadow doesn't do that to some degree, but there's something kind of affecting about the way DM's frontman does it, maybe because he seems like such an average slight little Joe, not flamboyantly femme like the guys in Erasure, definitely not too manly or distinctively pretty like the guys in Bon Jovi or Whathaveyou. I would say something elementally queer about that one.

...it is possible that I just like anything which shares my initials.

...I was gonna sum up with some kind of theory about the relationship of music and time and sense-memory, how music travels through the years and becomes better or worse as nostalgia happens and historical perspective happens and critical standards change....but Who Really Cares. DM is sooooooo coooooooool! DM forever! Thank you Los Angeles and good night.

11.21.2005

dude

I did my first shot involving greenscreen today, in the guestroom.
Aaaaaand I'm finally figuring out the intricacies of the Chroma Key tool in Final Cut.
Pretty Cool.

11.17.2005

that's so un-PC

So the guy on VH1's "I Love The 80's" just said, re: Long Duk Dong in "16 Candles", "...you couldn't get away with that now. it would be too politically incorrect."
....it's really fascinating that nowadays you can call something "politically incorrect" instead of "RACIST." Somewhere along the way the whole idea of "PC" got to be so annoying that the backlash against it ended up enabling and validating a whole generation of moronic bigots. Now being "Un-PC" is considered pretty cool. As is, I guess, being white and privileged and in control of everything whilst maintaining some cute exotic Asian acquaintences. When in fact, it is all pretty f-kin' retarded.

11.16.2005

reel season

It's the time of the year in LA when everyone in the entertainment biz is updating their reels. All the actors, cinematographers, composers, et al., are revising their video demos to feature their most recent work.....and indie director/editor types like me are needed both to provide and compile the source material. I like working on my friends' reels, a process which usually means blasting away every consideration of plot and sense from the original work and just finding that part where the subject looks good, or says something, in the interest of best showing off their ability to act/emote/speak English/etc. However, it's another facet of the LA-Life that makes you have to consider art in purely pragmatic, transactional terms, a video resume which basically reduces the value of the original movie to its relevance with your next potential job: I can do this, I can act like that, I can create this feeling, I'm the one that you want.
....It's a personal thing because at this point my movie, which is not yet officially available for public viewing, has been fodder for a good number of reels. Like a lot of independent movies, it is still waiting to be seen by a wide audience, but bits of it are already floating out there in the DVD players of agents and producers who are preparing for pilot season and looking for whatever they look for.

11.09.2005

eek!

I was tickled to find a piece of copy I wrote for my old job at the shady manga dotcom/publisher company was reprinted as someone's profile blurb at MySpace. It was originally the back-cover blurb for volume I of Tomie by Junji Ito, a horror comic about a Japanese schoolgirl literally from hell. I won't even link to it because a) I'm lazy and b) I found out that the publishing company's nearly gone defunct, so it does me no good if anyone buys the comic and I don't respect them enough to give them the publicity. Although it is a really good manga if you're into the cautionary-tale-of-beautiful-girl-who-bites-your-head-off sort of thing. It gave me a little schadenfreudic (sp?) satisfaction to find out the fate of my previous employer. Because I love comics and I love sound effects, it was in many ways the best job I ever had, certainly the best suited for me. But the place was horribly managed and run with a sweatshop mentality if not the actually sweaty trappings, and I had a feeling it was going nowhere. Of course, many people profited in the dotcom boom on ventures that should have gone nowhere, so I was always nagged by the feeling that I should have stuck it out. Fortunately, it appears that that's not the case. Now if only I had held onto my shares of that stupid search engine....
...anyway the point is, the first two volumes of "Tomie" were the only reasonably solid comics that I think came out of that place, so it's nice to see that it's still out there in the horror-fan consciousness, if only in the form of its ad copy.

11.07.2005

hahahahah

There was the most hilarious fight at work today. The details of it are just too arcane to get into, but it ended up with these two middle-aged Chinese men screaming "I fuck you!" at each other. Just another vivid reminder that having a lot of money usually makes you very stupid and infantile. Unless of course you're Terrell Owens, who is a GENIUS. That man should be in charge of our missile defense system.

11.04.2005

match.humanrace.com

If one reads enough online dating profiles, it is easy to gain the impression that every person in the universe likes hiking and harry potter.

Not that I'm against hiking.

11.02.2005

i am a headcase

I really have this problem that I am addicted to going to work, even though it's so annoying. I'm scared of my days off. Lately I've been so miserably ineffective at using my free time fruitfully that I get anxious about having any. I mean, I do things, but generally the things are web-surfing, writing (but more often deciding what to write), editing, re-editing, editing-system-crash-recovering....stuff that is so solitary and navel-gazing that it seems to take place outside of real time. My work is the only place where I engage the world, for better or for worse. I get to be around people, a lot of them horrible, some of them my favorite people in the world. And I don't have the constant anxiety about "what should I be doing NOW to further my filmmaking aspirations" because a) i instead focus on doing my regular job, which i do about as well as it can be done, and b) there are people screaming all the time and it's hard to think about stuff like that.
....It's kind of like the reason I watch sports; because it's always actually happening. It's not a prefab experience like all other forms of entertainment, including live TV news. It's not rote and absolutely unvarying like many of our daily routines including paying bills, eating, drinking, going out to random anonymizing places in LA in the attempt to be "social," and putting self to bed. It's.....hard to explain. It is REPETITIVE, often agonizingly so, but because there's gambling involved, it is by definition not completely predictable. With each hand there's a cycle of preparation, anticipation, and resolution, which has a very satisfying rhythm for goal-oriented freaks like me. I suppose that has something to do with why people get addicted to gambling. It lets you live out your life in little repeated narrative trials instead of the long open-ended one. But I'm getting too abstract. Basically it's a cushy job that takes my mind off the other b.s., and doesn't allow for the same feeling of existential horror that results from being a Windows-based office zombie. And all that would be great if I could get back the feeling that when I'm not at work I'm actually living a life instead of re-reading an unfinished memoir I wrote about myself in high school.