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Wednesday, July 30, 2003 Free Fall
(This was supposed to have been posted at like noon, but Blogger sucks)
What a weird day. I'm sitting behind my desk in my office at the university for the second to last day. I've worked this job for 11 months, and in this department for 20, and after tomorrow it will be nothing more than an entry on my resume. Compounding the feelings of what I can only describe as "loss" towards my job is my 25th birthday, also the day after tomorrow. Orson Wells was 25 when he began production on "Citizen Kane." 25 seems like a weird year to bulldoze whatever foundation I had erected for my life and begin anew, but I'm happy (and surprised) that I've found the strength to do it. I owe ALL of this to Jules and her endless encouragement. I know it must be hard for her to have to reassure me, day after day, that everything will be fine and we won't end up desiccated casualties of Los Angeles. I thought existential angst was supposed to be left behind after high school along with your parents house, and your highschool sweetheart.
Andrew's recent post to his LiveJournal gives an interesting perspective that mirrors a lot of my current feelings. He, however, marvels at how much his life has gelled in the past two years, amazed that things have come together from the chaos that was our post-college arch. While I whine about all the structure and order of my life getting tossed to the wind. Well fuck that. No more pussy-footing around for me. No bitching (or at least less bitching.) I have a dream and goals and wild, wild fantasies, and I'l be damed if I don't see them come to fruition. And I have a Plan B. posted by JMV | 7/30/2003 04:58:00 PM
Julie just got a call from our new property manager! We were offered the apartment! We will soon be happy residents of a 1Bed/1Bath "Hollywood Luxury Apartment" three blocks east of La Brea between Sunset BLVD and Santa Monica BLVD! WeHo herewemotherfuckingcome!
I finally got the RAM upgrade I've been coveting since I bought the powerbook! My boss traded me a 512MB stick for an Airport card I had bought in November for the department's iBook. The extra 384 megs (I had to remove a 128Mb stick as the 12" powerbook only has one expansion slot) makes a WORLD of difference! iPhoto is actually usable now! And I got a copy of Final Cut 4 from work which is super-ultra-fly. It sucks that I won't really have the time to play around with it tomorrow as I have SO much stuff to do, but I still have a lot of editing to do on the behind-the-scenes documentary that I'm working on so I'll get to put it through its paces soon enough. posted by JMV | 7/30/2003 01:41:00 AM
Cingular sucks. My cell phone is on-again/off-again both making and receiving calls since yesterday afternoon. I get a host of different weird errors from "network busy" to dropped calls and weird beeps. So, if you have tried to call me I probably won't get the message in a timely manner. Julie called up "customer care" and they had no idea what was going on. They say the network isn't having any problems, but it is defiantly on their end as neither of our phones are working right. Anybody else been experiencing difficulties with their cingular phones? posted by JMV | 7/30/2003 01:35:00 AM
Tuesday, July 29, 2003 Back to Work
But not for much longer. Thursday (thats the DAY AFTER TOMORROW for those not keeping track) is my last day of gainful employment; after that I join the throngs of unemployed Americans pulling our economy further into the shitter. How's that for over-dramatic? I'm actually kind excited to be done with work (when I'm not utterly terrified of not getting a pay-check) as my job is one of those government jobs that can easily turn into a life-time of hours clocked. The pay and benefits are good enough to keep you coming back, and I'm glad that I've had the strength to break the inertia; few things scare me more than the thought of still working for the University when I'm 55. I'm wishing I hadn't been quite so useless last week though, as I have an ass-load of things to do in my last couple of days.
On the LA front, we have a good line on an apartment and are just waiting for the final decision of the property managers. And Jules had 2 good interviews over the weekend and may be getting an offer tomorrow. SO, loyal readers, do me a HUGE favor and think positive thoughts, cross your fingers, and maybe spill some chickens blood or something! posted by JMV | 7/29/2003 04:14:00 PM
Sunday, July 27, 2003 Bad Blogger
I've been bad and haven't really blogged at all this trip. Been SO busy driving all over hell and back. We found a great apartment in West Hollywood, but are we haven't heard back from the property manager about dropping off our application fee. Very frustrating. It is really hot (by our wussy Santa Cruz standards) and we are holed up in a Borders using the T-Mobile hotspot account. Pay Wi-Fi at 10¢/minute... Julie's big interview at Crate & Barrel is tomorrow, and hopefully we will get a chance to see the property manager again before we head back to Santa Cruz tomorrow afternoon. posted by JMV | 7/27/2003 05:53:00 PM
Friday, July 25, 2003 GI JOE
Another gloomy LA morning. Jules is readying herself for the interview while dreams of Starbucks dance through my foggy brain. Lots of appartments to look at today, and I'm pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing. It reminds me of when I was a child at a toy store. My mom would tell me I could buy ONE G.I. Joe, so I would gather up all the diffrent ones that I wanted and then I would agonize over the choice of which one to get. Which Joe would I get more enjoyment out of? Which one has cooler weapons? What if there is another one that I haven't seen yet? Appartment hunting brings back those same feelings; I feel like there is always something better than what we are looking at, andwe have to settle on a less-than-perfect place. But who know? Maybe we will find the perfect place today! posted by JMV | 7/25/2003 11:06:00 AM
Thursday, July 24, 2003 Battman v. The Joker v. ???
Here is a promotional short film(45Meg .mov) made by a couple of filmmakers trying to get exposure. GREAT production values, some killer shots, and a good mythos add up to make this a killer little film. The intro is cheesy, and the acting could certainly use some work, but the twist in the middle more than makes up for it. If you have bandwidth to spare check it out before WB pulls the plug. posted by JMV | 7/24/2003 12:03:00 PM
Road Trip Part 7: the Revenge
Another drive through the heart of California today; we leave when I get off work, and should be in LA by 9. We have big goals for this trip, and hopefully we will return to Santa Cruz lease in hand. As usually there maybe some moblogging going on, and probably a fair amount of photos on the TextAmerica site. It will be pretty crazy, lots of people to see and lots of driving t do, but hopefully we will get a chance to hit up Pinks and Felipe's. posted by JMV | 7/24/2003 11:57:00 AM
Wednesday, July 23, 2003 Scurvy... Simians??
Pirates may be the new Monkeys, but Monkeys can be Pirates too! Hundreds of hungry monkeys have invaded a sprawling tea garden in eastern India, chasing petrified workers and damaging machinery " Where the hell are the photo-bloggers? I wanna see pictures! Perhaps they would look something like this. posted by JMV | 7/23/2003 02:25:00 PM
At Long Last
Wearable video-display sunglasses! I have been waiting a long time for these! Not only for the wearable computer application, but also as a videographer. It would be so great to be able to see what you are shooting without having to press your face to the viewfinder, or tote a mini-monitor around. Again, my birthday is in a little over a week... posted by JMV | 7/23/2003 12:35:00 PM
Training to Kill...
...with X-Boxen Thats right, the US military is spending some 200K to set up 17 networked X-Box gaming centers in bases throughout Europe. There are three things I can say about this. First, 200K?! I realize that that is like one bomb and an MRE to the US war machine, but it is a WHOLE lot of medical supplies to the Red Cross, and seeing as we just go finished reducing a law-abiding country to rubble, there is probably a better way to spend that cash (especially with the huge-ass deficit.) Second, do we REALLY want our young fighting men spending their "down time" pretending to kill each other? I'm not saying the our troops shouldn't be allowed to play Video Games, but something about giving the guys with the big guns access to ultra-violent competitive on-line games strikes me as opening a Pandora's box of sorts. And finally, "Enders Game" comes to mind. It may just be my caffeine-fuled brain on a dark-futurist kick, but is military recruitment from the masses of on-line gamers that far off? We already have America's Army, and the military is quickly moving towards the deployment of remote-controlled fighting drones. Who better to pilot these weapons than the legions of twitch-gamers out there? I'm sure I'm just paranoid (my coffee was extra strong this morning) but don't say that I didn't warn you. posted by JMV | 7/23/2003 12:18:00 PM
Tuesday, July 22, 2003 Supplies for the Paranoid Executive
Surfing over to a friend's blog I noticed something interesting on his Google AdSense bar: Supplies to protect corporate America from a chemical or biological attack perpitrated by nefaious terrorists! Such useful devices as, a Mail Defender Station, and even WMD training. I think my favorite thing they sell is the giant ziplock bag for animals. Don't let fluffy become another pointless feline casualty to terrorist dirty-bombs!
This is why I love Robert Rodriguez
Keep the RIAA off your back
I hope that if your a mac user you have been wallowing in the glory that is iTunes Music Store. To date Jules and I have purchased 3 albums and 20 single tracks, and I am very happy with the buying experience so far. Today Buy.com launched their music store, so all you PC users can get in on the action (Wired News story.) I haven't investigated it too much, but it looks like the price and DRM structure varies a lot more than iTunes. Songs start at 79¢, but most are closer to the iTunes price of 99¢, and there are more limits to what you can DO with the songs once you've got them. The service uses Windows Media Format (.WMF) which is a better encoding format that MP3 on a strictly aural basis, but it gives the Evil Empire a lot of control over the files. But, checkout the new site and treat yourself to some tunes today! While your there take a look at the TV spots on the site. They are nearly exact copies of the iTunes Ads. posted by JMV | 7/22/2003 11:30:00 AM
Monday, July 21, 2003 Best Damn News I've Heard All Week
Scientists in Rome have just completed a study that found, "eating one or more pizzas per week dramatically reduced the incidence of some type of cancer." I guess I shouldn't feel bad about that double pepperoni pie I ate on Saturday. posted by JMV | 7/21/2003 02:08:00 PM
Ever since Desperado I've been a big fan of filmmaker Robert Rodriguez. He makes films that are fun and irreverent. He breaks all the right rules. He, like so many of the filmmakers I look upto, started making 8mm movies when he was a kid in Austin, Texas. He eventually scraped some money together and shot a Spanish-language action movie, "El Mariachi," in Mexico. His goal was to get a straight-to-video deal with a Spanish language B movie distributor. Instead the film spread through Hollywood like SARS and soon every major studio wanted a piece. Rodriguez got an agent and a phat 3 pic deal. All this is told with a lot of humor in his autobio, "Rebel Without a Crew," which is a fantastic read.
Eight years after breaking into Hollywood Rodriguez got to make the film he had always wanted to make. 2001's "Spy Kids" was a bizarre hallucination of a film, but it caught on in a big way and was the birth of a highly successful franchise. Now he has done the impossible. He has made the sequel (the second sequel actually) for LESS money than the original. And he made it in 3D. And it was all shot on digital. You see Rodriguez is a digital-filmmaking evangelist. He thinks celluloid is dead, and Hollywood is just dragging its corpse around. I'm not sure that I entirely agree, but I DO believe in the power of digital, and hope to use the DV revolution to my advantage in the coming years. posted by JMV | 7/21/2003 11:20:00 AM
Friday, July 18, 2003 Let the Weekend Begin
As promised I am fleeing work a little early today, couldn't stand it any longer! It looks like Jules and I have a pretty busy weekend, but it is all fun stuff so should be cool. As usual I probably won't be updating all that often, though I AM going to try and post a lot of pics to the Mophoblog, since I've been kinda slacking on it, and it is a new month (as far as my cell phone billing goes) which means another free meg of data transfer!
We might try and checkout LXG on Sunday, but we will see. I'm not too excited about it. Hopefully we will be able to round up a posse and go get some cocktails on Saturday night, but judging by the recent failures to get anyone out to the bars, I'm not very hopeful. Tonight Beau and Mary are visiting on their way back down to LA, so it will be good to see the newly engaged couple! Though I imagine after three days on the road they will be pretty beat. posted by JMV | 7/18/2003 03:26:00 PM
Friday5 On Friday This Week!
I remembered this week! The page with the questions is here, so take a crack at it and leave a comment on that page when you are done.
1. When was the last time you cheated?
Define "cheated." During the D&D game last week I "failed to mention" that the blue dragon was probably immune to the gobs of shock damage one of the characters was doing to it. Does that count? I used to cheat A LOT when I was an adolescent. It is evidently in my blood as my Aunt is an infamous cheat. You gotta watch her like a hawk when she is playing cards.
2. When was the last time you stole?
Uh that is a tough one... Though it was probably about 4 years ago when I stole Julie's heart. Ok, that was cheesy... I "stole" some digital files lastnight thanks to Kazaa Lite. It is funny how I didn't even think of that as STEALING.
3. When was the last time you lied?
I don't lie. Or DO I? You'll never know now!
4. When was the last time you broke or vandalized another's property?
I really have no idea. A porkchop got knocked off a friend's balcony at his birthday party and may or may not have landed on a parked car thee floors below. Does that count?
5. When was the last time you hurt a loved one?
Probably too recently. But I'm not sure of specifics. posted by JMV | 7/18/2003 11:46:00 AM
Thursday, July 17, 2003 A Link For Andrew
A guy who is exploring the concepts of virtual property and does a weekly E-bay market watch of Ultima Online goods. His goal is to make his entire living as a dealer of virtual goods. posted by JMV | 7/17/2003 01:47:00 PM
Man what an incredible summers day. It is WAY to friggin nice to be sitting in my office with nothing to do. I keep gazing out my window, and wishing I was out there. Maybe I should just take the afternoon off... Or Maybe I'll save that little treat for tomorrow. I should lock myself in a windowless editing room and try and get some work done. posted by JMV | 7/17/2003 01:23:00 PM
Yeah, Evidently that Metallica story was a hoax. Thanks to Morgan of Knitwitology for removing the wool from my eyes. This doesn't change my belief that the US copyright la is totally screwy and needs major reform. It does mean I'll be checking my facts a little better before posting... posted by JMV | 7/17/2003 10:29:00 AM
Wednesday, July 16, 2003 Why I Don't Envy Matt
Stupid-ass copyright litigation. These suits are just getting absurd; I'm all for protecting artist writes, but the current state of US copyright law is a total mess that only protects the giant media conglomerates (see the massive RIAA lawsuit.) Now, Matallica has launched a new law suit over a Canadian band's use of the E and F chord. Yup, Metallica is suing over a Chord progression. Read all about it, and then checkout the band's statement.
"Ulrich states that he's not trying to prevent Unfaith from using the two chords, only that he feels Metallica should be credited for them whenever used, and is calling for 50% of all revenue generated from any song using them." posted by JMV | 7/16/2003 09:53:00 PM
We ran out of coffee yesterday. I was late to work this morning and didn't have a chance to get a cup. I think the forces of the universe are trying to shrink my skull to the size of a bocci ball. I can't do anything but contemplate what form my caffeinated savour will come in. Iced? Blended? Con Pann, Cafe Romano, Americano? How about I just mainline a syrupy-thick shot of espresso? That would do the trick. What I REALLY want is a Thai iced-coffee. Why the hell doesn't Starbucks serve those? posted by JMV | 7/16/2003 04:39:00 PM
Hardest Workers in Showbiz
Watched "Comedian" last night, a documentary about Jerry Seinfeld 's return to stand-up and up-and-comer Orny Adams' rise in the business. I have always been fascinated by the craft of stand-up comedy, and the film did a good job of conveying the difficulties of that profession. I firmly believe that stand-up is one of the hardest jobs in the world, and the film reinforced that belief. The film was shot a few months into Seinfeld's return to the NY scene after retiring ALL of his material, and follows him as he makes drop-in appearances at tiny clubs to test out his new material, through his first "gigs," and finally the development and polishing of his new act. The film inter-cuts Jerry's return with the plight of Orny Adams. Orny has been working the clubs for 8 years and is impatient and feels his shot is long over-due. During the course of the film we actually see his "big break" in the form of a meeting with George Shapiro (the godfather of the NY comedy scene.) I was expecting to like Orny's story more than Jerry's, but was really put off by Orny's screen-persona. I'm not sure if he is that much of an egotistical ass, or if he was just hamming it up for the documentary crew, but it was pretty painful to watch. Comedian's are a notoriously neurotic bunch, but Orny adds a whole new level of social ineptitude. Jerry's segments end up being a lot more entertaining, and mostly it is because he is a better comedian. It also helps that the film features dozens of appearances by the elite of comedy. Everyone from Leno to Chris Rock to Bill Cosby make appearances and talk shop with Jerry back stage and in the mid-town haunts of the comedians. The movie itself isn't all that funny, it certainly had moments and good jokes, but it doesn't have the comedic pacing needed to sustain laughter over the run-time. But that was never the idea. The film exists to document the process of the stand-up comedian, and it does an admirable job. If you like stand-up and have any interest in what goes on "behind the scenes" and how stand-ups do what they do every night, rent Comedian. posted by JMV | 7/16/2003 12:28:00 PM
Tuesday, July 15, 2003 Slow News Day
Very little to report. Slow day at work, haven't really found anything too interesting on the web, didn't do much last night. So I'll take this time to address the impending nuptials for my good friends Beau and Mary. I've known Mary for something like 13 years. Her older brother Todd was in my math class in 7th grade (for about 2 days before they realized he was too smart for whatever dumb-ass math class I was in) and we instantly bonded over some gaming materials (Space Hulk maybe?) and from then on, spent many after-school evenings playing at sci-fi war with Todd and trying to avoid his sister. I've known Beau for about that long. We also bonded over gaming materials; either Battletech or Dragonlance novels, I don't remember which, and it wasn't long before we were a big happy geeking crew. There was quite a bit of drama when Beau and Mary started their relationship during Beau's SR year, and Mary's freshman year, at Irvine High. I wasn't around, having already fled the OC to sunny Santa Cruz and didn't get to witness the blooming of their love, and whatever strife it caused to the families and friends involved. Highschool romance is always fraught with drama; but here we are, some six years later and their relationship has grown into something so much more. I'm very happy for both of them, and wish them the best of luck! posted by JMV | 7/15/2003 01:04:00 PM
Monday, July 14, 2003 Monday 5?
Looks like I am making a habit out of doing the Friday5 on Monday... Here is this (last) week's:
1. Do you remember your first best friend? Who was it?
Yup. Matt Holohan. I always say that I've know Matt since before I was born, which is 100% true as our Mothers were friends while they were pregnant with us. In fact I have a love of pie to this day because of their frequent trips to Marie Calendar's...
2. Are you still in touch with this person?
Yup. He was the best-man in my wedding, and we are currently cowriitng a script together.
3. Do you have a current close friend?
A whole gaggle of them actually. None closer than my wife though... Truly my best friend.
4. How did you become friends with this person?
Both the wife and the gaggle: School. From elementary to college, I've collected a bad-ass assortment of friends. They all form a kind of super-hero team each with their own specialty and stupor-power. When they get together it is like somekind of drunk-ass Justice-League, fighting the powers of "them."
5. Is there a friend from your past that you wish you were still in contact with? Why?
Yes. What a dumb-ass question. Is there a friend from my past that I WOULDN'T want to still be in contact with? What the hell?
Friends are neat. Let me take this opportunity to publicly thank all of my friends for the past 25 years of excellent service! I wouldn't be here today without you guys! And I whole heartedly give you ALL the ! posted by JMV | 7/14/2003 03:29:00 PM
After a second viewing of "Pirates of the Caribbean" on Satruday our appetite for more Johnny Depp had been whet something awful. So Sunday afternoon we popped in "Don Juan DeMarco." What a strange little film. (SPOILERS FOLLOW) It stars Depp as a 21 year old resident of Queens who believes he is directly descended from Don Juan, and is thus the greatest lover on the earth. After a failed suicide attempt "Don Juan" is held in a mental hospital for a 10-day observation where Marlon Brando plays the shrink that becomes fascinated by Don Juan's story. The film is really about the reality of the modern world , and the lengths people will go to escape it (adultery, a convent, even psychosis.) While the goal of the film was an uplifting love-story where the burnt-out retiree is given a new outlook on his life by the young, mental, scalawag I found the ending utterly depressing. In the final sequence the newly medicated Don Juan drops his elaborate story (and sexy-as-hell Castilian accent) in-order to tell the judge what he wants to hear. But Depp plays the scene as Don Juan's ultimate defeat, and he never again shows us the spark that the character exhibited during the film. Even in the saccharine-sweet and purposefully cliched ending there is a sadness to Depp's character that, for me at least, spoke louder than the Hollywood ending.
Later that evening we would watch "From Hell," another downer-ending, excellent accent, mustached Depp film. I enjoy From Hell for its formalist visuals and hip-hop beats. I know, it sounds weird to describe a turn-of-the-century period piece as hip-hop, but much like Aronofsky's Pi, From Hell (Directed by the Hughes Brothers of urban-drama fame) uses a pattern of repeated visual and audio elements to create a feeling of a downward spiral. In Pi it was the max taking more pills with each repetition of the shot, while in From Hell each of Jack the Rippers killings are shown in very repetitive sequences, with each new killing revealing more graphic details. Worth checking out, maybe after a viewing of the newest Allan Moore comic adaptation LXG. posted by JMV | 7/14/2003 02:52:00 PM
looking back at my experiment in serialized essay publishing with "Living the Dream," I'm not entirely happy with the results. There is of course the basic problem that the chronological ordering of the typical blog, most recent at the top of the page, doesn't lend its self very well to serialization. It is OK for regular readers of the site as they will read it daily and thus get everything in the right order, but a reader coming to the blog this week would read everything back-wards. Even more devastating to the flow of the essay would be a reader coming to my blog during the middle of the week last week would have started reading the essay in the middle, and then worked their way to the beginning, and then read the rest in chronological order, completely destroying any natural narrative progression. This coupled with the already manic style of the piece and its sever departure (from the rest of Octopus Hat) in tone is to blame for the less-than stellar reception of the essay. Not that it is a particularly well-written work, and indeed I never intended it to be; it was more of a stream-of-consciousness therapy piece. It is reproduced here (.txt,) in its complete form. The whole experiment has given me the desire to further experiment with a non-linear narrative published on the blog. posted by JMV | 7/14/2003 02:04:00 PM
This week the New England coast is expected to be the unlikely landing place for hundreds of Rubber Duckies that were lost at sea 11 years ago. 29,000 of the plastic toys were dumped in the Pacific when a cargo ship travailing from Japan to Seattle was buffeted by a storm. Hopefully the AP will pick-up this story and we will get pictures! posted by JMV | 7/14/2003 10:47:00 AM
Friday, July 11, 2003 Another New Blogger On the Block!
It has been a banner week for new bloggers in my circle of friends! Chun, Paul, and Todd all have their sites up and running. And now my gorgeous and talented wife has her blog, Attack of the Z, up. I'll update my links bar for all y'all after work today! posted by JMV | 7/11/2003 12:50:00 PM
Living the Dream: Final Part
There is one way into the industry. Be in the right place at the right time. Work hard when the door opens, and don't take no for an answer. There are three things that I need to do to make the most of my chances. First, I need to always remember that Hollywood is a town ruled by egos, and in order to survive I'm going to need to believe in myself first and foremost. If I don't how can I expect others to? Think positive and know that my time will come and I'll get my shot. Second, I need to keep my goals in mind at all times. Don't get distracted or led astray. Keep my eyes on the prize and know that with each choice I make I'm moving closer to those goals. And finally I need to work my ass off. Write EVERY day. Show up early and leave late for any jobs I land. Go the extra mile. I'm ready. My bet's been placed and I've got the dice. "New shooter, coming out!" posted by JMV | 7/11/2003 11:59:00 AM
You Know What Today Is?
Free slurpee day! Thats right, visit your local 7-11 store today and get yo self a free slurpee! Rock on. posted by JMV | 7/11/2003 11:17:00 AM
Thursday, July 10, 2003 Pirates
I have already stated my high expectations for the film, and that the film exceeded all of them. It is easily one of the best summer-film of this, or any other summer in recent years. Most professional movie critics seem to agree, which makes me very happy. A lot has been said about Jphnny Depp's show-stealing performance, so I won't harp on that. Other than to say that I don't agree that he stole the show; Really he IS the show and the filmmakers knew it. The movie would be passable at best if it wasn't for his exceptionally charismatic performance. The only reason the movie can get away with 141 minute run-time is Depp.
The story is about what you would expect for a summer blockbuster. It has a few more convolutions that one would expect, but it also has a disappointingly, if predictably, neat and tidy ending. The dialog, with a few exceptions, is well written and incorporates a lot of pirate flavor which goes a long way to pulling you into the wold of the film. Depp has always used the rhythm of his delivery as one of his main tools, and Jack Sparrow takes this idea to the next level; speaking in a cadence as uneven and unusual as his drunken gait. Geoffrey Rush is his usual chameleon self, transforming into a bloodthirsty and mutinous captain. It is easy to see that he enjoyed playing the roll, and makes me wish the screenwriters had found room for one more scene for Rush to really sink his teeth into.
Visually the film is impressive, and captures the feel high-seas adventure like no movie has in a long time. Production design was top-notch, and I expect at least an nomination come oscar time. The ships are huge and detailed, and the port-cities the film visits are equally lush and meticulously dressed. The CG is very unobtrusive, and during the climactic showdown you can see how well integrated the CG is with the live action. The DP, Dariusz Wolski shot the film in a two-tone style that highlighted the gem-blue water and green islands, and candy-colored pirates adventuring in the bright Caribbean sun, while always playing with the gloom and decay the story's darker side. And the look he achieves is as unique and memorable as those he achieved on The Crow, Dark City, or Romeo is Bleeding. The action sequences are larger-than-life and shot with a fluid and dynamic camera that seems to imitate the swashbuckling antics of the characters on screen. This helps create fun atmosphere that subtly tells the audience that it is OK to laugh and shout during the action! When two undead pirates cross swords you know there is nothing at steak since they are both already dead, but still the slash and jump and perform, seemingly just for the joy of sword-fighting.
What about Orlando Bloom? He was hunky and heroic. He did the job of putting butts in seats, but was never really given the chance to show his acting chops. Which is probably for the best as I'm sure they wouldn't standup to Rush's or Depp's masterful turns in the film. He was a great casting decision though: he plays an excellent second fiddle. The big surprise was Keira Knightley who makes the best of being a prisoner for half the film and is easily one of the most mature 20-year-old actresses working today. She has a wonderful wont-go-down-without-a-fight attitude that plays very well next to Bloom's intrepid hero and Depp's devil-may-care Captain Jack. She even holds her own during the few moments that she shares a scene with Depp. Overall the film is a shining example of how a summer action-adventure should be done. And if your not cheering by the end, well then I'll eat an Octodog. posted by JMV | 7/10/2003 03:54:00 PM
Living the Dream pt 4
I have friends who have a career and a plan and know where they will be in five years. Friends who are getting their MA or even PHD. I have friends that own their house. I have friends that are adults. A lot of mornings I feel like I am just some naive kid who is blindly chasing his dream of being an astronaut. I have no idea of where I'll be in ONE year. No hope of owning a house anytime soon. I certainly don't feel much like an adult. After all, a rational adult wouldn't give up a salary, health insurance, a great apartment, and the best friends in the world for a future that is so uncertain. I've been more happy here in Santa Cruz than any other time in my life. There is a life for me here in Santa Cruz. But I don't think it is the life I want to lead. I know that if I were to stay here, and be happy for the short term, I would forever regret not giving my dreams the shot they deserve. LA is a crap shoot. With long odds and a big payoff. I'm a gambler. I'll take those odds. posted by JMV | 7/10/2003 12:25:00 PM
Ahoy an Avast Matey!
Caught a matinee of the new, and spectacular, "Pirates of the Caribbean" after my eye-doctor appointment. SO good. I had very high expectations for the film, and it blew them ALL out of the water! This movie combines several of my favorite things into one super-package; pirates, swashbuckling sword-play, Johnny Depp, and even zombie-monkeys! I will write up some more put-together thoughts after it has fully set in, but until them, check out Chun's thoughts on the film. And let me just say that Chun is notoriously difficult to please! And let me impress the fact that Johnny Depp rocks. Hard. posted by JMV | 7/10/2003 12:37:00 AM
Wednesday, July 09, 2003 Play Mogul
Just discovered the Box Office Oracle, a website that lets you package the movie of your dreams, and then predicts how well it would do at the box office! You pick the genre, title, talent, and director, as well as a budget and release date, and the BOO spits out it projected opening weekend and total domestic! My first film was a Mistaken Identity, Caper-Comedy staring Mike Myers and Rachel Weisz. The film, directed by Jay Roach (Austin Powers) was projected to open with 22mil and go on to a total domestic gross of 110! Not bad for a late summer, mid 30-mil budget comedy! The site is a lot of fun, check it out! posted by JMV | 7/09/2003 01:07:00 PM
Researchers have developed a robotic arm that draws. It is controlled by a petri dish full of rat neurons. The crazy thing (or at least the MORE crazy thing) is that the rat neurons are in Georgia and the arm is in Australia and they are connected via an internet connection. Let me put on my futurist cap for a moment and tell you what I see: the US Marines' "Gladiator II" will be deployed in 2010 to fight Baath party loyalists in the outskirts of war-torn Baghdad. The "counter-insurgence" bots will be controlled by a group of IT nerds in a Command and Control center somewhere in Virginia via a secure internet connection, however, the Gladiator robot's controls will be compromised by a group of rat brain-cells fighting the US government for artistic freedom. Several US Marine casualties will result. The cluster of rat-cells will be arrested and held without trial under the provisions of the Patriot Act 3, while the Japanese threaten our shores with an army of giant robot dogs. You heard it hear first. posted by JMV | 7/09/2003 11:34:00 AM
Living the Dream pt Three
But I want to tell visual stories. I want to touch people the way I was touched by ET and by Star Wars and by Casablanca. I want to make movies that people love to watch. Cult movies. Fun movies. B movies even. I think that writing scripts of B Movies would be the coolest job in the world. And the only thing that stands in the way is 7000 other wanna-be players and my own damn insecurities. How can an obsessive-compulsive, lazy, addictive personality romantic stand up to the meat-grinder of reality that is Hollywood? Can I survive the 16-hour days, the evil and vindictive producers, and the Machiavellian politics? Can I survive the creditors, and the seductresses? When I think about the path that I will soon walk down, all I see is the pit-falls and dead-ends. Does that mean that I will be able to avoid them? I feel like many people are counting on my success, and they all seem to have SO much faith in my abilities. I need to find that faith in my self, otherwise I am destined to fall. Sometimes I wish that, when I was in high-school, I wanted to be a banker, or a CPA, or in real-estate. It would be so much easier. posted by JMV | 7/09/2003 10:37:00 AM
Went down to the Boardwalk yesterday (Some cam-pics are up on the mopho blog) evening for the "1907 $.60 Night," where all hot-dogs, popcorn, cotton candy sodas, and rides are only $.60. Didn't actually GO on the Giant Dipper (a really fun old-school wooden roller-coaster) but did get to eat a hot-link corn dog and sample a deep fried Milky Way® bar.
It was fairly disgusting, but in a good way. I probably wouldn't order one again. But that doesn't mean I won't try the fired Oreos... posted by JMV | 7/09/2003 10:06:00 AM
Tuesday, July 08, 2003 And So, It begins...
I bet you didn't know that the US Marines have developed a 1600Lbs, 4.5 foot tall robot built for crowd control (Scroll down for pics.) The "Gladiator" can be outfitted with numerious weapon configurations and is said to be able to ,"perform the duties of an entire rifle company (160 men.)" Does this remind anyone else of the T-1 from the new Terminator movie? The only upside I can see is the unit is remote-operated, and not yet in the hands of a diabolical AI. posted by JMV | 7/08/2003 02:05:00 PM
I just got an e-mail from Zach my coworker and also the Producer and DP of "Trannies!" the digital feature film that I was the Chief Lighting Tech for last summer... The official Premier of the film will be August 15th at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz! It has been a long time coming, and I'm very excited about seeing the finished piece on the big screen! The film is about 3 friends who move to Santa Cruz one summer and piss off a gang of local surfers. It is a homage to 80s teen movies and is really funny! You are all invited to come down to Santa Cruz for the big opening! posted by JMV | 7/08/2003 11:35:00 AM
Living the Dream pt Two
Am I just another naive soul that LA will chew up and spit out like so many wanna-be starlets? Or does my mere acknowledgment of that possibility mean it is less likely to happen? Are all of my supporters, my friends and family who have more faith in me than I do, just humoring me with their assurances? These are the irrational fears du jour that infect my resolve to do what I've always wanted to do: tell stories. Read a bio on any of the major filmmakers of the past 30 years. Dollars to doughnuts they will have made movies in the back-yard with their friends and their parents cameras when they were still in knickers. I have always thought that this reflected poorly on my chances to "make it." I never made moves in the backyard. I hardly held a video camera before starting film school at UCSC. But what I have ALWAYS done is tell stories. First, just in my head during the recesses and lunches of my early education. I would space-out on the soccer field during my one season of pee-wee and dream-up elaborate space-operas in my head, completely oblivious to the game that was being played around me. Later, I loved to tell ghost stories, and was banned from doing so from in one friends house as they gave his little brother nightmares. In high school I decided that I wanted to be a writer. Too this day I think that would be the coolest job in the world. posted by JMV | 7/08/2003 11:35:00 AM
My favorite TV Food Personality, Alton Brown, host of FoodTV's "Good Eats," has a new book coming out. Gear for Your Kitchen contains cool uses for every-day tools and 25 recipes. It should be out in September/October. If you don't have it already, I highly recommend his first book, I'm Just Here For the Food. I will go so far as to give it the ultimate recommendation:
Ok. This is really odd. Evidently AB as not one, but THREE new books coming out this fall! Cook's Notes, and Kitchen User's Manual. Now why is it that Bobby Flay has 3 different shows on FoodTV and AB still only has one?? posted by JMV | 7/08/2003 11:27:00 AM
A story about a smart chip in Epson's ink cartridges that tells the printer it is out of ink, effectively preventing a printer from printing, after a set number of print runs even if there is plenty of ink left. Between this and my Epson printers refusal to brink in B&W if the COLOR cartridge is out makes me want to go back to HP. But I'm sure they aren't any better... posted by JMV | 7/08/2003 11:06:00 AM
Like Weeds I Tell You!
My blogvangalism has begun to pay dividends. Two good friends have launched their own blogs in the past two days, and Greg's went live last week. Chun's new blog, Chuntastic looks to be a "slice-of-life" blog, and Chun is a great writer so go check that one out. And my good buddy Paul (AKA Paulie-Tee, Paulie-Red, and Paulie the Shark) has finally begun his run as a profesional card-player, and his blog, Paul's Burbon is a running record of his ups and downs playing poker in LA clubs. He runs detailed breakdowns of his big hands, and if you know poker is a lot of fun to read. Lets wish them luck! posted by JMV | 7/08/2003 10:53:00 AM
Monday, July 07, 2003 Facing the World Together
If you’re sick of hearing about our upcoming move, stop reading now.
John and I are moving to LA in just over one month.... The feelings I am having about the subject are complicated to say the least...
The thought is both terrifying and exciting. Terrifying (for me, at least) because we are leaving behind the only life we have ever known together. We are embarking on a journey of discovery, of ourselves, of each other, of a completely new environment, culture and way of looking at things. We are relocating to the City of Angels in hopes of realizing our dreams – and like Andrew said in our wedding ceremony, “Love strengthens each of you so you can be involved with life in ways you dare not risk alone.”
Of course, when we wrote our wedding ceremony nearly a year ago, we knew that we were going to be moving to LA at some point in the future. And it’s so exciting to me, as I look at my wonderful husband – so talented, so inspired and tortured (as artists tend to be) so close to realizing his dreams.
The transition from Santa Cruz to Los Angeles is an exciting one for me, because the sheer fact that we are moving there is a realization of a kind of dream. We have been nurtured, pampered, and stifled by our existence in Santa Cruz. Life on the Central Coast has not thrown us any challenges, nor does it offer any hope or excitement towards the future. The move to LA is a voyage that John and I are venturing on just the two of us, with only our love for each other and our hopes and dreams to guide us.
And we’ll make it. Someday you’ll see us walking down the red carpet at the Oscars schmoozing with Johnny Depp and Catherine Zeta-Jones-Douglas (SO HOT!) and other Hollywood elite. You will! I swear!
And if we don’t make it to the red carpet, so what?
At least we can say we tried.
posted by Julie | 7/07/2003 02:58:00 PM
Somebody's got to start reminding me
I missed another Friday5. I'll blame it on the holiday. The questions are pretty good this week, so...
1. What were your favorite childhood stories?
Any of the old-school fables like Aesop and Grimm!
2. What books from your childhood would you like to share with [your] children
3. Have you re-read any of those childhood stories and been surprised by anything?
Those old fairy-tales are VIOLENT!
4. How old were you when you first learned to read?
I never did learn to read... No really, I'm not sure. Mom? Wanna help me out here?
5. Do you remember the first 'grown-up' book you read? How old were you?
Does this mean Paperback? I remember a lot of "Young Adult" books in elementary school. There was a series by Jane Yolen about dragons that I loved, but I doubt that was the first. I do, however remember the first "grown up" burger that I ate... It was a Western Bacon Cheeseburger from Carls. I remember the day SO clearly. I was too big to be satiated by a measly kids meal, but still wanted the toy. I was also very picky about mayo and mustard getting anywhere near my burgers. We were in the drive-though an dMy father sugested the WBC because it didn't have mayo or mustard so they couldn't screw up the order. I was apprehensive, but when he said they put onion-rings ON the buger I HAD to go for it. I remember my dad arguing with the order-box, trying to get them to put a WBC in the kids-meal so I could still get a toy. I have no idea how old I was, but I remember feeling that the car was HUGE, so I must have been pretty young... I still love a western-bacon-chee above all other fastfood burgers to this day. posted by JMV | 7/07/2003 02:50:00 PM
It was really hard to hit "publish" on that last post... posted by JMV | 7/07/2003 01:42:00 PM
Blog. The term, short for web-log, has come to mean a lot of different things. But it all started out an an on-line dairy. There are A LOT of blogs out there that still fulfill this task. Blogs that are windows into their authors lives in a way that Octopus Hat doesn't even approach. I have always found that I only keep up with writing in a journal when I am in dark-times in my life, and likewise many of the more traditional blogs are angst-filled chronicles of the depressive. I have struggled with depression for many years, and have over the past couple of years felt better than I have ever felt (due, in no small part to my wonderful wife.) But there are still days where it bubbles up to the surface. I have, for the most part, steered away from posting depressive rumblings on this site as I would like people to enjoy reading it, and not ever think, "Oh boy. Here he goes again..." But at the same time a writer that doesn't lay himself bare before his readers is a coward and not much of a writer. And so, this week I will post an essay entitled "Living the Dream" in five parts. The writing is rough, the emotion on the surface. My apologies for such a dramatic tone-shift, but it has a happy ending!
Living the Dream pt One
Los Angeles, California. Once called the "cultural capital of the postmodern world." A promised land and a purgatory. The city were, since its renaissance in the 1930s, wide eyed dreamers have gone to find a better life, and the city where uncounted dreams have been shattered and lost to the winds. A city that in under two months time I will call my home. How many stories have been told about its seedy underbelly? How many fairy-tales about those who have made it? More than I care to count, but soon one more. I have a great fear that my own story, the one yet to be written, will be one of failure and defeat. I have heard too many horror stories about the darkness that lies under the patina of glitz, and yet I will not back down. Some mornings, I feel that I am staring a great beast in the eye and that success is an impossible dream. I tell myself that my fate is in my hands, and that my dreams have waited long enough. So long in-fact that I sometimes forget what they are. I want to be a filmmaker. More so that I have been in the past 3 years. I want to make a living doing what I love. I want, on some level, the fame and fortune. posted by JMV | 7/07/2003 01:39:00 PM
Behold the Octodog
I'm not entirely sure what to say about this. It is a tool that transforms "ordinary hotdogs into exciting to cook and super fun to eat octodogs." The logo alone is worth a trip to the site. I'd like to remind everyone that my birthday is less than a month away... posted by JMV | 7/07/2003 10:46:00 AM
Sunday, July 06, 2003 Lord Help Us
I thought this was rather timely given the release of "Terminator 3" this weekend. Japanese scientists have developed a robotic hand that responds to visual stimuli. It can grab fast moving objects, as demonstrated by videos on the above link, and is presumably able to choke the life out of puny fleshlings. posted by JMV | 7/06/2003 04:54:00 PM
File Under Thrill Junkie
It used to be that I hated to ride roller coasters; it took many years to even get my on Thunder Mountain Railroad at Mouse-land. In the past 4 years or so this trend has started to reverse. It has always been the drops that I hated, the feeling of my guts trying to fly out my mouth was not my idea of thrilling. A couple of years ago Julie and I went to Marine World which is a cool park because it combines a zoo with a coaster-park. We rode a few of the coasters (including one of my favorites Medusa), and there my transformation began. Yesterday we were treated to a trip to Great America by Julie's parents (a couple of pictures are up on my Moblog.) I don't know what happened, but yesterday I had none of the pre-ride butterflies that I usually get waiting in line. The drops were suddenly FUN. Even the sickening Stealth, where you are strapped in, on your back, upside down and moving head first through loops and corkscrews, was FUN. The park was virtually empty and we rode all six coasters and a couple of other rides in under 7 hours. We even walked on to two of the coasters with less than a 5 minute wait. Which goes along way to making an amusement-park trip enjoyable. But now I'm looking forward to visiting the king of theme-parks, Six Flags Magic Mountain with the best MM guide out-there, Chun! posted by JMV | 7/06/2003 02:31:00 PM
Thursday, July 03, 2003 T3
Forgot to mention that after work yesterday Julie, Antonio, and myself caught an early show of Terminator 3. It was better that I was expecting, which isn't really saying a whole lot since I expected it to REALLY SUCK, but wasn't particularly memorable. Basically there was some good action, but not much of a story. The first major action sequence was incredible, and easily the high point of the film. The Terminator franchise is known for Cameron's imaginative and layered writing, and T3 lacks that depth. It also flies in the face of the themes of the first two film, which put me off a little. The script didn't really give any of the actors scenes to work with; I think there must have been 3 scenes without gun-play in the whole movie. The false-ending was a little weak, but I could just be expecting too much after Cameron's masterful (and multiple) false-endings of the first 2. Nothing in T3 comes close to the shots in the preceding films of the Terminators emerging from the flames, bare of human pretense and hell-bent on killing. But the actual ending of T3 was pretty cool. I didn't see it coming, and it is really different than anything else we've seen from the series. All in all T3 is a double edged sword: a movie that fans of the series could like the most, but a movie that may be too different thematically and suffer from the lack of John Cameron's influence too much for fans to get behind. The theater was pretty deserted, which I would take to be a bad sign, but evidently it had the best preview release EVER. My guess is mid-50 to low-60 million over the 4-day. posted by JMV | 7/03/2003 02:49:00 PM
What the Hell? How is a Fox TV show about "life in the OC" a good idea? I'm a fan of the production team behind it (Doug Liman and McG) but being born and raised behind the Orange Curtain I can't get behind the concept. From the Fox promotional materials, "The O.C., otherwise known as Orange County, California, is an idyllic paradise - a wealthy, harbor-front community where everything and everyone appears to be perfect." The show takes place in New Port Beach. I'm really dumb-founded by this; and I highly doubt that it is going to come even close to capturing the culture of OC, or what it is like to live there. But you know what? I'll still TiVo it. What do all my OC homies think about this? posted by JMV | 7/03/2003 11:34:00 AM
10,000Lbs of WHAT?
Audio. Thats right, some über-geek has packed thousands of pounds (and $80,000) of audio equipment, including 72 ams, 36 batteries, and 9 15-inch subs, into his '85 Dodge Caravan. The van is so loaded down with gear that is CANNOT BE DRIVEN. The above linked article goes one to describe the new "sport" of dB-Drag Racing wherein competitors via for the loudest 3 seconds. The do all kinds of crazy shit to the vehicles like fill the door with concrete. Usually I get behind tech-for-tech's sake, but something about this I find really silly. posted by JMV | 7/03/2003 10:52:00 AM
One of my favorite things about the whole blog movement is that every bloggers opinion matters. Sure, there are blogosphere celebrities, and there are celebrities with blogs, but in a lot of ways joeshmoe.blogspot.com's posts are just as important and relevant as Lawrerence Lessig's. There are really 2 ways to measure clout in the blog community: (well, three is you count Blogshares) Linkage and hit-count. And the way to generate links and hits is to produce CONTENT that drives your readers. It is like "Field of Dreams:" If you blog it, they will come. So it is extremely edifying for me when I see that my idol blogged about the "new uses for camera-phones"the day after I did. I also feel better when even a celebrity has questions about the best way to implement content (not to mention the same Blogger difficulties and desire for MovableType that I'm dealing with.) I have seen a pretty dramatic increase in HITS over the past couple of days, and A LOT of it is being generated via Greg's link on our brewing page : www.emptryboxbrewing.blogspot.com. We will see if these hits turn into READERS. So, if your new to the 'Hat and you've come by via Emptybox, let me know what you think. posted by JMV | 7/03/2003 10:41:00 AM
My mom sent me this pic of a mysterious carcass that washed-up on-shore in Chile. Sushi anyone? posted by JMV | 7/03/2003 12:21:00 AM
Wednesday, July 02, 2003 DUMBASS
I said I fixed the link to my Cam-blog, but that link didn't work either. Stupid WWW. The ACTUALL ADRESS is http://octopushat.textamerica.com. No "www". You would think I could handle that... posted by JMV | 7/02/2003 09:45:00 AM
Just in the Nick of Time
As some may know, I'm leaving my current job at the end of the month and moving 400 miles south. It looks like this might be happening at just the right time. As I work at a UC I am a state employee, and since our lovely state is Fuxored and has no budget in place drastic measures may be taken. Here is a snippet of an e-mail I got yesterday outlining what may happen:
I don't actually think it will come to this as Davis would have to WANT to be recalled if he doesn't get the budget in place and SOON, but it is still a scary indicator of just how badly he fucked things up.posted by JMV | 7/02/2003 09:38:00 AM
Tuesday, July 01, 2003 Dumbass
I screwed up the link to my photo-blog in that last post. I must have been too excited. It is fixed now. And in case you missed it, here it is again. posted by JMV | 7/01/2003 08:04:00 PM
It is an exciting time! Octopus Hat has been live for just under SIX MONTHS! It is hard to believe I've been doing it for that long; but I really enjoy it and don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I hope my 4 readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy posting...
And now for the long awaited (by no one but me) surprise! My futurephone! I finally received, in the mail, the camera attachment for my cell phone that was part of the rebate deal when I bought it. So 3 calls to Cingular customer "care" later I can now e-mail pics off my phone! So don't be too surprised if your inbox gets spammed by one of my phone-cam shots! I also set up my very own phoneblog at Text America. The official Octopushat cam-blog is now live at octopushat.textamerica.com! Again, this is just a temporary solution until I am fully migrated over to MovableType, at which point I will integrate the cam-blog into the rest of the Hat! Enjoy!
Craig's List can be a weird place. I recently found a listing for a place called Ji-Wire that was searching for people to hunt out and verify Wi-Fi hot-spots around California. So I signed up and was accepted into the program. I basically create a list of hotspots in my area and then get paid $10 per to go there verify that I can connect and take a digital snapshot of the place. Should be interesting, and you can get paid to verify upto 20 locations, so it will be a cool way to make $200 and help out the Wi-Fi revolution while I'm at it!
Tonight we brew! posted by JMV | 7/01/2003 04:55:00 PM
Julie Posts to the Hat!
I totally forgot that John gave me the ability to post to the Hat way back in January in the fledgling days...
So I thought I would just take this opportunity to congratulate John on nearly six months of blogging goodness!
HAPPY JULY! posted by Julie | 7/01/2003 02:04:00 PM
My Archive is working again! It just stopped being broken. posted by JMV | 7/01/2003 12:45:00 PM
Check out this! The classic bullet-dodge scene from the Matrix redone as ASCI art. Seriously. Go check it out. posted by JMV | 7/01/2003 11:37:00 AM
The World Wasn't Ready
For Camera phones. Modern society was just getting used to the ubiquitous cell phone, and that took how many years to reach its current penetration? But now the camera phone is causing all kinda of chaos. Governments, and even basic etiquette can't react fast enough to counter such a powerful new technology. Camera phones are very quickly changing the way people interact with their surroundings. New crimes perpetrated with camera phones are being invented every day, and the surface hasn't even been SCRATCHED. Some examples of the impact of the camera phone: Digital Shoplifting, where people are photographing magazines instead of buying them in Japan . I can't find the link for it, but pimps in south-east Asia use camera phones to send potential johns pics of the girls. Students in London are cheating on tests with camera phones. Gangsters in Australia are snapping pics of key witnesses causing a witness protection nightmare. Phonecam use is running rampant by voyeurs to snap upskirt shoots, ass shots, dressing room shots, and shots inside strip-clubs. Xeni Jardin wrote a great piece for Wired last month called, Phonecam Nation which touches on other implications of the futurephone revolution. America is, of course, way behind the rest of the world in camera phone adoption; like we are in all other cell phone tech. So it is really a brave new world waiting for us, and I, for one, am excited. I love it when technology grows faster than the world is ready for it. I like to watch the sociological implications as the happen. posted by JMV | 7/01/2003 11:32:00 AM