[ the blog ]

  • 18
    Jan
  • The Origins of Wanderlust

    I sprung from the womb asking just one question:  Where’s the bus station? 


    I had to laugh when I ran across some profound visual proof from my early years.


    Clockwise from upper left……


    I’m staring at a blank TV as if it’s the Oracle of Delphi and it’s going to answer my aforementioned question about the location of bus station.


    The next one has me gazing longingly into the distance as if quietly planning an escape route. A bit difficult to go unnoticed when the landscape as far as the eye can see is flat as a flitter and that dude on the tractor in the distance might a) alert the grownups or b) be a serial killer. Hmmm…what’s a toddler to do?


    Maybe the dog has some answers on how I can blow this taco stand.  He looks old and wise and seems to understand baby gibberish.


    Lastly, my desperation has obviously reached fever pitch and I’m willing to flee with or without clothing.


    These photos explain why my parents bought me a harness with a leash (not a joke). You know the kind I’m talking about. Liberal parents everywhere rose up against these barbaric devices of childhood confinement shaming safety conscious moms and dads to the point of going underground.  Knowing the kind of kid I was, I don’t blame my parents. My rebellion grew exponentially in my teens and even I, felt sorry for my folks….but that’s a different story.


    As I got a little older, intellectualized my wanderlust (and finally put on some pants), I became that anywhere-but-here kid who carried around a misguided sense of resentment for being born into the mundane landscape of middle America rather than, say, the colorful, urban jungle of New York City or some laid back, free-spirited commune in Malibu with a name like Sunflower or Evergreen.


    I don’t know what made me so restless but alas, I yam what I yam. Maybe I’m still suffering the fallout of past lives lived selfishly, despite being given chance after chance, never learning or evolving, stuck on a hamster wheel of self-indulgence rather than striving to reach true enlightenment through hard-earned wisdom and selflessness.


    I can imagine Fate finally confronting my rebellious soul one last time like a parent at their wit’s end.


    “Look, kid, you’ve fucked up 37 lives across every continent on the planet. You haven’t learned jack shit about how to grow as a human. You’re destined to end up in reality TV or talking to dogs or starting your own nudist colony if we don’t shake some sense into that stubborn pea brain. We’re sending you to Illinois where you’ll gain some solid Midwestern values, buy an American car, play some bingo, go to Sunday school, live through the era of the mullet and learn to appreciate…corn.”


    I’m hoping I’ve learned a little. I think I have. I’ve definitely mellowed over the years. I actually do appreciate my Midwestern roots. It gives me a strong sense of place that’s comforting, solid and profoundly deep. My first car was indeed American made, albeit a bucket of rust held together by the road salt of many Illinois winters.  Sadly, I had my own version of a mullet in junior high probably inspired by Jane Fonda in Klute or the mom from The Brady Bunch.  (Oh, my, my, my…if only I had been born a Brady! In California no less…in a house with a stairway with NO banisters… and a maid! A maid?!)


    As for the corn…well, who doesn’t love a vegetable that serves as a food AND a fuel additive?


     

     

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  • 27
    Sep
  • Germs From Around The World

    Ever wonder what starts a fad or a trend?  I think it’s an unanswerable mystery.  If it weren’t, everyone would be inventing Pet Rocks and making shitloads of dough.  I actually had a Pet Rock and thought I was pretty trendy. But deep down I wondered why on earth I spent my babysitting money on such a stupid thing when I could have had another pair of those groovy Scandinavian Earth Shoes I coveted, even though they made my calves hurt.


    A few weeks ago, I took my niece, Maddie, to Seattle. I love Seattle. My son lives there and the food is always great!  Lots of oysters. I hate oysters.


    Naturally, I wanted to make the trip memorable.  Here’s a recap:


    ME: So…what do you want to see first?  Space Needle?  Pike’s Market?


    MADDIE: Yeah, all that, but what I really want to see is the gum wall.


    ME: What’s the gumball?  Is that some kind of sculpture?


    MADDIE: No. Not the gumball. The gum wall.


    ME: [No words. Just a vacant stare]


    MADDIE: I saw it in a guide book.


    ME: [ditto the vacant stare]


    I’m starting to feel a little angst here but hey, I’m a trooper,  so we start our trek to find this so-called tourist attraction. I admit, I wanted to get it out of the way so we could do other stuff like find the Beecher’s store and eat ourselves into a cheese coma.  I mean, it’s just some wall tucked away somewhere near Pike’s Market. Pretty convenient and it actually had an address, so said the travel guide. How bad can it be?


    The guide book did not do it justice. It was not a wall.  It was a kind of “tunnel” of sorts under Pike’s Market covered side to side, up and down and every which way in half-chewed gum.


    It was a petri dish of germs the enormity of which I couldn’t quite grasp. I think if they’d had this gum wall in 1346, it would have surely been ground zero of the Black Death.


    This wall of potentially infectious I-don’t-know-what, was the strangest thing I’d ever seen and I’ve seen some pretty strange things in my life. What is it that’s so compelling about chomping a wad of Big League Chew then smushing it onto piles of other half-chewed wads covered in saliva from mouths that have been God-knows-where?  I noticed myriad languages being spoken in that bizarre tunnel of staph and mrsa and wondered if perhaps it made people feel a part of the global community. Like being able to say something like “Hey, dude, I went to Seattle and now I’ve been to, like, every ‘stan country there is….sorta.”


    In my mind, I was thinking more like this: “Hey, I went to Seattle and visited that gum wall and now I have this pesky open wound that just won’t heal.”


    But I digress…


    Maddie shoves some gum in her mouth, chews just long enough to coat it with her own personal cooties while I chatter aimlessly as a means to take my mind off where I am and trying not to breath too deeply.


    ME: Bazooka was my favorite bubble gum as a kid. I can still taste it!  It was super sweet and really, really hard. By the time the soft stuff came out like Bubblicious, I was way past my bubble gum chewing days. Unfortunate timing for my tooth enamel, I guess, because that damn Bazooka sent me to Dr. Bob, the prison dentist, way too many times.


    Maddie hands me her phone.


    MADDIE: Wait til I find the right spot.


    ME: Maybe look for a red piece. Could be from Russia…or maybe Switzerland.  Or how ‘bout that bright green spot?


    MADDIE: Ooohhh, yeah! Ireland!


    She finds her spot, gingerly smushes it into the wall as I snap her picture.  I breathe a sigh of relief that it’s over.


    As we’re leaving, I see a pole that’s covered in deliberately crafted strings of hanging gum in every color of the rainbow.  I find it disgustingly attractive and snap a pic.  It resembled something out of a Dr. Seuss book. I secretly christen it Seuss-a-licious.


    ME: Let’s go take a bath in Lysol and find that cheese place!


    MADDIE: Okay.  But not until we see the haunted soda machine over on John street.

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  • 18
    Sep
  • Fish In a Barrel

    I’m continually amazed at my love / hate relationship with all things World Wide Web. It’s an endless source of fascination, not to mention blog fodder.


    Take, for example, my confusion about whether worldwide should be one word or two.  When I typed it as two words, I got those little squiggly green lines underneath which told me a) I’ve made a grammatical mistake; b) I have a logistics problem i.e, too many spaces between words or c) I’ve made some kind of mistake that I’ll never bloody figure out.  Generally, it’s the latter and more often than not, I just accept it.  But today, I wasn’t in an accepting mood.


    What’s a girl to do?


    She says “Gimme summa ‘dat  www.dictionary.com” that’s what!  And viola! She has her answer:  it’s one word.


    Therein lies the love.


    And herein lies the hate:


    Last week I bought a bra from an add I saw on Facebook.  What girl can resist an ad that says it’s the most comfortable bra you’ll ever own?  Naturally, I fell for it!


    More bra ads flowed in, followed by ads for shapers to contain my muffin top, followed by a virtually endless feed of ads for something called a cellulite fighting Fascia Blaster for $130.00.  It looks like a diabolical device made up of shit I can find in my garage.


    How did those bastards know I had cellulite?  I mean, I’ve covered up my laptop camera with a Sponge Bob Band-Aid, for fuck sake!


    Wait…is Sponge Bob one word or two?  Please hold while I consult my adored jailer.


    [Cue the show tunes Musak]


    Ha!  This is a new one!  It’s one word that looks like two words mushed together:  SpongeBob.


    Ahhh...more love!.


    What I’m trying to say here, my fellow digital inmates, is that we are all just fish in a barrel waiting to be shot by the silver bullet of a savvy marketing campaign created by a twelve-year-old savant or a rudimentary Facebook ad pasted together by the feeble minded.


    But the feeble minded must confess for she is me, I’m afraid.


    Alas, my fellow fishies. I am torn by my feuding emotions as I am guilty of exploitation.  I have fallen victim to the very practices that haunt thee:  the targeted Facebook ad.


    Forgive me for I have sinned against you…


    I have become both the fish and the gun.


    P.S.  I will report back on whether that cellulite thingy actually works.

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  • 22
    Jun
  • Kaleidoscope of Death

    I almost hate to use that term since I cherished kaleidoscopes when I was a kid.  They should never be associated with something so seemingly macabre. It’s like Killer Puppies or Zombie Butterflies.  It just does not compute on any level.


    But name-call I must because there’s no other way to describe what’s happening on my computer right now.  It’s devastating to watch because my little MacBook Air is my lifeline, my best friend forever, my constant companion and partner in life [okay that sounds creepy in a Her kind of way, but you know what I mean] and I’m watching Her (sorry) slowly fade away.


    The Kaleidoscope of Death tells me so.  It taunts me every day now like a colorful harbinger of the doom to come.


    It’s so hard to reconcile that perfect, mesmerizing wheel of color, so benign yet so evil. How can it be?  It’s like if there really were Zombie Butterflies flitting about on gossamer wings from flower to flower, hypnotizing you into their web of quasi trust... until WHAMO... they crack your head open and devour your brain.


    I’m sure the Kaleidoscope of Death won’t jump off the computer screen to terrorize me. It can do that without leaving the comfort of it’s digital home. Kind of like a Russian hacker who can destroy your credit while sitting in his basement in his Underoos slurping Borscht.


    No, the KOD [for those who love acronyms like I do] hacks in plain sight.


    What happens when I want to open an attachment?


    KOD


    How about trying to open a website?


    KOD


    I’d like to TKO that fucking KOD and I’d do it ASAP if I could ever get F2F with it!


    But alas, that will never be because the KOD is just another one of those digital thorns in my side reminding me I’m a techno-loser and always will be.  I’m sure I’ve brought it on myself somehow by having too much crap on my computer or not shutting it down property or failing to hit the “eject disk” before yanking the memory stick out of its warm, comfy port.


    I’ll miss my little MacBook Air. I love Her so much despite Her flaws of too little memory. [Or is it called storage?)  Not enough battery life [Or have I done something to cause that, too?] and Her inability to be upgraded. [Have I made Her feel inadequate in some way?]


    I pause to contemplate. 


    An epiphany hits.


    Could I be looking at this the wrong way? After all, the kaleidoscope is a beloved childhood toy.


    Perhaps it’s just Her time and the Kaleidoscope of Death is easing me into the thought of having to give Her up…allowing me a Long Goodbye to get Her affairs in order.


    Yes!  Yes, that’s it! Maybe the KOD isn’t evil after all! Maybe it’s a blessing disguised as a curse. Rather than one sudden, final Goodnight Irene hard drive meltdown that could throw me into an emotional wasteland of grief, it’s gradually preparing me for the end.


    Do not fear Small Fry! Your brother Big iMac and I will give you a fitting farewell.   A New Orleans Jazz procession?  Viking funeral? Balinese cremation?


    I think I’ll just keep you open in the corner of my office next to a wooden statue of Buddha...incense burning, offerings of fruit and strands of flowers lain across your darkened keyboard.


    Thank you, Kaleidoscope of Death!


    I’m sorry for wanting to punch you.


    Then again...could I still be wrong?....Oh, the agony!!]

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  • 12
    Jun
  • Producing Is As Producing Does

    Life is funny.  Sometimes it’s haha funny, sometimes it’s holy shit funny and sometimes it’s of the “what just happened” variety.  It’s the latter that I sometimes reflect on because producing wasn’t really on my Things To Do During Middle Age list.  It was never in any of the literature AARP started sending me when I was still south of 40.


    Then again, I wonder what I’d be doing with myself if I hadn’t stumble into it almost by accident.  I got tired of the endless stream of no, no, no that writers encounter when they’re trying to get their scripts made into films. Or worse yet, hearing nothing at all.  It’s a miracle to get anyone at a production company or studio to even take the time to read and that waiting game is excruciating.


    Having teamed up with some super cool creative and trustworthy people with way more experience under their collective belts, producing an independent feature has been a really eye-opening experience.  Rather than be intimidated by it, I found it very fulfilling on many levels.  Here are a few of them:




    • The For-The-Love-Of-Pete-Just-Do-It level. Yes, I kinda sharked the Nike tag line but sometimes there’s no choice because that simple phrase is just so goddamn pure and appropriate in pretty much any circumstance. In my own defense, I did try to mix it up a bit by adding Pete, whoever he is.



    • The I-Feel-Free level. I’ve said it before; there’s no better time to be a content creator than now, now, now! If you have the time, energy and determination, you can bring your creation to some kind of satisfying fruition in some form or fashion.  That kind of freedom makes one want to run naked through a field of California poppies! [Doesn’t it?? … kind of??]



    • The I’m-Not-Too-Old-To-Learn-Something-New level. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve finally made something of myself and it only took fifty-six years!



    • The No-Manual-Needed level. I’m sure there are books like Film Producing for The Clueless Hausfrau but I have to tell ya’, the best way to learn is to hook your wagon to honest filmmakers who know a thing or two about it and be willing to do anything and everything to gain knowledge.


    And lastly, my favorite pearl of wisdom I acquired by being put through the spanking machine known as the film business:




    • The Know-Who-You’re-Dealing-With level. Trust me when I tell you, I’ve learned the hard way how not to be a pushover as it relates to the film biz. Trusting no one until they prove otherwise has become a mantra. There are lots of con artists in them there hills and they just LOVE starry-eyed film worshippers. I’m convinced this is the basis for the horror film The Hollywood Hills Have Eyes but that’s another post all together.  I have a healthy appreciation for the hard-earned knowledge about who to attach myself to and who to run screaming from. I’ve learned to never take for granted the incredible gift that trust and honesty can bring. Without those, one is just waiting to get stripped of money, time, energy and probably the Jimmy Choos right off one’s unsuspecting little feet.


    As a way for me to break down some of the more important aspects of producing, I’ve come up with my own Top 5 Things To Know About Indie Producing.  Mind you, it comes from a neophyte and I’m okay admitting that because I’ll be one for a while.


    #1. Know your market and choose good material because you’ll be responsible for your project from script through distribution and beyond, so aim for the best cast you can afford and the highest production value you can muster.  In other words, make your $100K budget look like $1MM.


    #2. Set realistic goals. Regardless of whether you’re a writer, director or Indian Chief, this is a business and there’s money involved.  If it’s yours, you’ll be cautious by default. It it’s not, you better understand what “fiduciary duty”   means.


    #3. LEARN your shit!! That means learning everything you can about every aspect of pre-production, physical production, legal contracts, unions, post production and what a good and bad distribution deal looks like.


    #4. Surround yourself with knowledgeable people and leave your ego at the door because nobody knows everything and everybody started somewhere.


    #5. The buck stops with you, the producer, so be PRESENT through every step of the process because at some point, you WILL find your boobie/pee pee in a wringer over something you may or may not have had control over.  But guess what?  YOU’LL be the one who has to fix it. [Put a big star by this one!]


    Cheers and Happy Producing!


    Sincerely,


    The Clueless Hausfrau


     

     

     

     

     

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  • 5
    Jun
  • Hot Hot Yoga

    They ain’t kiddin’ when they call it hot.  Hot Yoga is just that. Hot. Hot. Hot.  They don’t mention the humidity, though.  Very smart.


    Truth be told, I hate hot yoga.   I love/hate it.  An oxymoronic statement, I know, but so is jumbo shrimp but everybody still says it.


    I’ve been torturing myself for years and still can’t do certain asanas like locust pose. Now I know why they named it after a biblical plague.


    During recent practice - we yoginis call yoga “practice” rather than workout so gotta stay in character here even though it’s sharking the culture of others and calling it our own, a uniquely American tradition - I had just finished struggling with my nemesis pose, frustrated, sweating profusely and turning my yoga towel into a modern day Shroud of Turin when a fellow student I’ll call Becky, began ignoring our very patient instructor.  It became increasingly annoying. The incident went a bit like this very short screenplay entitled Becky the Mouth Breather: 


    FADE IN:


    INT. Y0GA STUDIO – DAY


    The studio was at its maximum hellish temperature, packed with sweaty students. Salabhasana had just ended and students were attempting to stave off heat stroke with measured in/out nose breathing…except for BECKY the Mouth Breather. She was taking in air through her nose (loudly) and expelling a virtual air tsunami through her mouth.


    INSTRUCTOR:


    Becky, please calm your breath. Remember, in through your nose and out through your nose.


    BECKY the Mouth Breather:


    I’m pranayama breathing.


    INSTRUCTOR:


    That was our first deep breathing pose. Please focus now on your measured breathing.


    Becky continues with her giant sucking sounds as the rest of the class tries to pretend they don’t hear it.


    INSTRUCTOR:


    Please, Becky.  Do your best to breath normally.


    The air tsunami continues to fill the room but our patient instructor keeps her cool.


    INSTRUCTOR:


    In through the nose, out through the nose.  Focus on the breath as you calm yourself.


    Becky ignores her, yet again, continues her goldfish-out-of-water imitation.


    Finally, a frustrated student who will remain nameless has had enough.


    FRUSTRATED STUDENT:


    Yo, Becky! Shut your goddamn cake hole and breathe through your schnoz! This is a ZEN space, goddamn it!


    Well, unnamed student didn’t say it out loud. She was just using her third eye, that place of intuition and insight,  to envision the potential of what could be.


     

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  • 30
    May
  • Indie Filmmaking: Where’s The Cavalry?

    A couple of years back, I had the pleasure of attending the SXSW festival in Austin, TX.  It’s a conglomeration of film, interactive media and music that takes place in mid-March every year.   It’s kind of the mack-daddy of independent everything, in my view, and a very exhilarating festival to attend, especially if you’re an indie-minded individual.


    As a new-to-the-industry producer, the pioneering veterans who have walked the very crooked sidewalk known as independent filmmaking inspire me. In my humble opinion, Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass not only represent the true spirit of indie filmmaking, they put their actions where their mouths are by lifting up others who are struggling to bring their creations to life.


    Stop and think about that for a minute.  These brothers, now quite successful, champion others on their way up; the very antithesis of the Hollywood Buzzsaw that cuts newcomers to shreds and sends them packing, bloody and limbless, back to Omaha where they came from.  That’s some good karma right there, so filmmakers take note!


    The year I attended, Mark Duplass gave the keynote speech at SXSW.  If I went to ANY event during that week, it was going to be his speech. I think I actually waited in line for quite a while that morning. Very unusual for someone like me, who has the attention span of the camera flash but it was well worth it.


    His speech was entitled, The Cavalry Is Not Coming


    You can read it here...


    Or watch it here….


    https://youtu.be/nZeWOAliA6Y

    At first glance the title sounds like the speech will be a real downer, as if he’s going to say something like, “Give up the dream before it kills you, brothers and sisters!  There’s still time to take up underwater basket-weaving because nobody wants to see your shitty indie drivel.” But, hallelujah, it was the opposite. It was the most genuine and inspiring speech I’d ever heard and I normally don’t gush, so pardon the fan-girl tone.


    In a nutshell, the foundation of his speech was to build your body of work organically by using what you have, reaching out to your fellow content creators and artists and just doing it.  So often we stew and stress over how on earth we’re going to get the crazy characters, scenarios and environments we’ve created in our minds puked out into the world before they devour our subconscious.  Who’s going to help us??  I’m reminded of the opening sequence of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus show I used to watch on PBS as a kid.  In one of the intros, a man’s noggin pops open and a motley crew of characters come spewing out.  I mean, who opened that dude’s balding dome and let all the characters out? I suspect it was not the cavalry.


    (Sorry. As usual, I got sidetracked.  Suffice it to say, I hope nobody ever cracks open the melon-of-controversy I call my brain. Not sure what would come flying out.)


    Getting back to Mark Duplass...the title of that speech has echoed in my head since 2015. It’s become an inspirational mantra for me, something that lifts me up when I find myself slipping dangerously close to pessimism.


    As I often do, I Googled the phrase “The Cavalry Isn’t Coming” and found an article from Psychology Today.  Here’s an excerpt:


    “In old Hollywood Westerns the action started when a disheveled old Gabby Hayes character would ride into camp and announce “The cavalry isn’t coming”. This cliché marked the onset of intense fighting...Put in the charm of our modern milieu – we keep our head down and take what’s coming to us, look for an opportunity to move on or escape, or decide to creatively engage the conflict that transforms us…That is, we reject the push of events and embrace the pull of our destiny.”


    That may be a high-brow-psycho-speak explanation but I think it’s scientific evidence supporting the epiphany I felt after hearing Mark’s speech.


    “I get it! WE are the cavalry.”


     

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  • 22
    May
  • The YouTube Triangle

    The Weather Channel should issue a warning about the hazards of traveling anywhere near the crazy vortex I’ve come to know as The YouTube Triangle.


    One day, I’m going to be sucked up into cyberspace by a YouTube tractor beam (invented by Google in case that damn self-driving car never takes off), transported into the future and dropped unceremoniously into the middle of the some desert just like in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.   I’ll be wandering around, bewildered and afraid with a group of strangers who had the misfortune of watching too much YouTube, just like me. We’ll be greeted by stunned on-lookers from decades ahead.  These futuristic citizens will probably have chips implanted in their brains so all they have to do is THINK about YouTube and videos appear in the mind’s eye.


    Oh, yes. Someday...I will be taken. I’m sure of it. Not even the Sponge Bob Band-Aid I have over my laptop camera can save me from my fate. (They reach out and grab you through that little hole. Did you know that?!  It’s an evil, goddamn portal to Dog knows where!)  I try not to venture too far in unless I need remedial training on how to put on a duvet cover by rolling it up “burrito” style but let’s face it...resistance is futile.


    Against my better judgment, I started watching funny baby videos the other day. That led to funny baby videos with dogs that led to funny videos with babies, dogs AND cats that led to videos without babies or dogs and just cats and that led to more and more and more cat videos.  It was like being locked in an infinity mirror room but instead of seeing endless “me”s it was endless videos of cats knocking shit off shelves and stuffing themselves into cardboard boxes and paper bags


    Here’s the problem: you can’t watch just one cat video.  They’re visual potato chips.


    But today was different.  I ventured into The Triangle because of the Wall Street Journal.  I was having a typical weekend morning in my jammies, a big cup o’ Joe, a pile of dogs, my computer and a stack of unread WSJs I was determined to catch up on.  Lo and behold in that little section of the front page that always has some kind of comical, esoteric human interest was the most ridiculous article I’ve ever read.


    No, it’s not Fake News. You can read for yourself, it’s entitled (wait for it!!!..........)


    The Cringe-Inducing Outbreak of Pimple-Pop Videos by Shibani Mahtani


    Damn!  Poor Shibani must be on somebody’s shit list to get THAT plumb writing gig, huh?


    Naturally, I was morbidly curious but even more morbidly shocked that I was curious at all about something so fundamentally revolting.  It wasn’t just the title of the article that pulled me in but rather the astronomical number of views one particular video received.  It was posted by a dermatologist calling herself Dr. Pimple Popper. Yes. I really did type that and it’s really what she calls herself.  One video ALONE received 29 million views. Well, 29 million and one since I did the unthinkable and viewed it.


    I’m here to tell you that I can never UNSEE what I saw.


    This, folks, is the power of...um...well...I’m not really sure what. The Internet? YouTube itself?  Inexplicable curiosity?


    You know that old saying about curiosity killing the cat?  None of the cat videos I watched resulted in a fatality and no cat I saw seemed likely to be curious about pimple popping...unless there’s a video of a human pimple popper curled up inside a kitty condo with a paper bag over their head that I somehow missed. But hey, what the hell do I know? I’m one of the idiots that looked at the Dr. Pimple Popper video!


    Maybe there’s a reality show in the making here:  Are You Smarter Than A Curious Cat?  I fear the human contestants might perish turning it into a life-imitating-art Running Man-esque scenario.  Let’s nix that idea.


    I don’t know else to say about this because it’s at once hysterical and disturbing to me.  This is like…a testament to human curiosity that I can’t quite get my brain around.  Not to mention the endless other videos and websites that contain the same subject matter.  I mean, what next folks?  Removing ingrown toenails at home: a DIY guide??  Epic earwax removals caught on camera??  Web-cam pap smears??  (Somebody tell me those don’t actually exist).


    I have just one request:  Post more cat videos, people!


     

     

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  • 15
    May
  • Indie Film Producing 101

    You’ll need some hats…as in, more than one.


    Unfortunately, I don’t look good in hats. But I had to buck up and stuff my ego into the dark recesses of my psyche if I wanted to become a film producer, albeit a Bambi producer who’s struggling to learn the ropes.


    Here’s a partial shopping list compiled from trial-by-fire knowledge:


    • The I’m-just-learning hat: It should be something whimsical and not too serious so people know you haven’t become jaded and cynical like the producers who’ve graduated to “studio” films.  Think of something like a colorful beanie with a plastic propeller on top for when you ask a stupid question like “What’s B-roll?”


    After you get a film or two under you belt, you can graduate to:

    • The I-Know-Just-Enough-to-Impress–My-Non-Producer-Friends hat: This can be your average run o’ the mill baseball cap worn properly and NOT backwards, which comes later.  You can wear this one once you know what it means when someone says “We’ll fix it in post” yet still Bambi enough not to understand how much it’s going to cost.


    Once you’ve learned some of the jargon and have a production or two under your belt, you can consider moving up to this:

    • The I’m-a-Member-of-the-Tribe hat: You’re getting comfortable on set. You know when to keep your trap shut, when to tell someone there’s a boom mic in the shot but still not cocky enough to shirk the menial crap like fetching a low-foam, half-caff,  double-shot latte with unsweetened almond milk for the talent who just can’t get through the day without it.  A nice fedora style could work, so you look quasi hip when you go to Starbucks for the fourteenth time.


    Here’s where the fledgling Indie Film Producer turns a proverbial corner:

    • The I’ve-Earned-It hat: You’ve gained a modicum of respect and a decent amount of knowledge.  This is when you can wear your baseball hat backwards on set and not look like the dork who wears it this way but hasn’t earned it and everyone knows it.


    This next step sounds like a giant leap for womankind. It certainly can be, but don’t let it go to your head.  The world of Indie Producing is humbling and very hard work.

    • The I’m-an-Executive-Producer hat: This doesn’t actually require a hat. It requires knowledge and/or money or both. If you’ve been passionate and diligent enough to earn the titles of both Producer AND Executive Producer, it shows you’ve done the hard work. In this case, you’re allowed to go hatless.  Yay!


    Just remember, this is  just a partial list of hats you’ll be wearing if you’ve taken the plunge into the wild and woolly world of independent film production.   If you’re working on ultra-low-budget films (or less!!) you’re going to do everything from cooking breakfast, taping cables to the floor, making coffee,  waking up before the sun knows it’s tomorrow, schlepping equipment until you’re ready to drop, watching the budget…and most importantly, loving every minute of it!

    By the way, the end of the shoot isn’t the end of your job as a producer so don’t give those hats a Viking burial just yet.  You’ll need them until the film is ready for distribution and beyond so be prepared to learn just how much “fixing it in post” really does cost.

    Oh, wait. There’s one more hat I forgot to mention:

    • The Holy-Shit-I-Really-Fucked-Up dunce hat: It’s tall, black and pointy and not at all stylish. But trust me, you’ll need it at some point. Everyone does.  But don’t despair, newbies.  Own the fuck up, put on the hat, sit in the corner with your nose to the wall…until somebody needs a latte and you’re once again…golden.


    Godspeed, Bambis!

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • 17
    Apr
  • Fear of Flying

    Disclaimer:  I don’t mean the zipless fuck variety.  Sorry, Erica Jong, for sharking the title but I need it to make my point.


    This is about fear of flying in the literal sense of the term and yeah, I suffer from it.  I keep it under control…relatively…even as my insides turn to a churning mass of angst at every bump and sound I deem unusual.  But let’s face it.  EVERYTHING is unusual about flying.   There’s nothing normal about being packed inside a large tin can with a bunch of oft angry strangers and then being propelled down a long, rough patch of concrete and lifted into the wild blue through some crazy, unexplainable lift-thrust-drag-what-the-fuck aeronautical science.


    Wait...is it actually science? Or is it physics? Or is it physical science? Naturally, I looked it up and I still don’t really know so it doesn’t matter.  I’m still going to fly.  And I’m still going to fear it. I’m going to follow all the other trusting souls who don’t know shit from shinola about the dynamics of flight. Much the way I still trust major corporations who claim they don’t share customer information.  I know there’s a fine print loophole but I choose to ignore it.  I’m hoping the airlines don’t have their own fine print loophole:


    Dear Customer:  Most of you wonder how in the Sam Hill these dadgum planes get off the ground in the first place, huh?  Well what a coincidence!  We don’t really know either but we’re sure THIS flight is totally safe. LOL. And while we’re at it, we’re compelled to mention here that any complaints, questions or requests that we deem unreasonable will result in being forcibly removed from the aircraft by officers wearing POLICE jackets who may or may not actually be law enforcement officials.


    Namaste, United Airlines

    And so I board.  Trusting. Hoping. Believing.  Sneaking a peek into the cockpit in hopes of seeing a whole lotta gray hair on the pilot rather than Doogie Howser’s evil twin. Even a thick mane of gray does little to alleviate my fear of flying.


    There is always something.


    Always.


    On a recent flight to I-don’t-remember-where, I noticed something strange.  Caught between the double panes of glass in the window seat where I was sitting, was a bee.   Needless to say, aforementioned bee was deceased.  It made me sad because bees are having quite a hard time right now dodging all the environmental toxins and pesticides Monsanto has been so gracious to bless us with.  But I wondered how he/she got in there. Aren’t plane windows supposed to perfectly sealed so the cabin stays properly pressurized?   Or something like that?  My brain immediately started conjuring scenes from Air Force One and all sorts of plane disaster movies where people get sucked out through tiny holes in the fuselage.


    I had to take action.


    I pulled my seat belt low and tight across my lap until I couldn’t feel my legs, put my tray table in its full upright and locked position, studied the safety information card located in the seat pocket in front of me, made sure I could reach under my seat and pull up the seat cushion in the event of a water landing and promised myself I’d put on my oxygen mask first before helping others. (Yeah…I’m that nerd who actually listens to the flight attendant.)


    That poor, unfortunately bee obviously had no fear of flying. But he/she clearly never listened to the safety instructions.   [big sigh]


     

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