Thursday, April 27, 2006

Holy crap! A new post!

Wow. Time sure flies when you're doing something!

Sorry it's been so long since I updated, but at least I'm not as bad as THIS guy! I'm teasing The Limey, as it's a good thing to have so much going on in your life that you're not constantly updating about nothing. Rightly, he leaves that for us pitiful blokes with too much time on our hands and no cable to watch EPL football.

But as the video monitor said, "I degauss."

I've been spending a lot of time fiddling with the third and final film for my "Art of Filmmaking" class, entitled "Dissolving," which is finally completed and uploaded for those who would like to view it.

Here's the QuickTime version (5MB)for Apple users and smart folks who use QuickTime on PCs.

Here's the Windows version (6MG)for the other 90% of the world.

The previous film ,"Valentine's Day," was a "continuity" exercise, meaning that it was to feature conventional editing -- i.e., if a guy is sitting at a table flipping through a newspaper, and you switch from a side view to an overhead view, the page he's flipping should be at the same position as you make the cut, to make the edit seamless for the viewer. In addition, the second film was to tell a story. The primary goal for this last film was to create a mood -- it could accompany music or a poem, but the idea was for it to be atmospheric.

This was a good challenge for me. I love story-telling and I'm not too bad at it. But I'm less inclined to be more abstract -- or to use the technical term, "artsy fartsy. " This last film, then, is designed to be a sort of meditation on the tenuousness of existence, using The Calamity for inspiration. "The Unlikely Event" song "Creepy" served as the musical inspiration.

Here are some lovely stills that Argotnaut took during the production. (Note dead dog in the middle of the top shot.) If you watch the film you'll see a nice "dolly shot," the "dolly" being the cart on which the camera is pushed around. The second photo reveals the hi-tech dolly I used: my bicycle trailer. Actually, it worked reasonably well. Other directors advocate using a wheelchair as a dolly in low-budget productions like mine. pfft. My method is far superior! (sniff)

In other news, I got Argotnaut the first half of her birthday present: a chaise longue, which she's been clamoring after for a couple of years now. Note in the top picture that the doggy is suddenly alive again! Also admire the hi-tech sun screen in the bottom picture that Argotnaut uses to shade her computer. Very complex arrangement.

Ah, the leisurely life of a student...that was a joke honey!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Couldn't Resist Part 2

Also, when I first saw this, I wasn't sure if it was a drink or a deodorant. All that snowboarder, X-treme culture junk looks the same to me. Where's my arthritis medicine? Hey, you kids! Get away from my car! Damn kids!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Couldn't resist this

It's a good thing that these instructions that came our little Coleman cooler say "For Japanese Consumers Only." Otherwise, I might have spent all day trying to figure them out!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Quick hip update

I think it's a good thing that I nearly forgot to mention this: I had an appointment with Dr. Hikes last week for my "two years out from the new hip installation" check-up. I had a new set of x-rays taken and then Dr. Hikes and I looked them over. The verdict: everything is A-OK. Good bone grown where there's supposed to be bone growth, no bone grown where there ain't. No gaps between the bone and the cup that forms the artificial socket. The pin in the femur is rock solid. Hip flexation is excellent.

So, no nasty surprises, and he doesn't need to see me again for another two years unless I start to experience any problems. Buddy is making sure that I walk at least two miles a day, and I'm doing enough biking to keep things well oiled. All good things, according to the doc.

I didn't expect him to find anything bad, but it's still nice to have the confirmation that all is well with the undercarriage.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Not Roger Corman...

but more like Harvey Korman!

Last weekend, I finished the principal photography for film 3, tentatively called "Dissolving."

Man, this filmmaking ain't for sissies! The logistical needs of this little three minute opus required me to rent two lab coats from a costume shop, rent a car to drive out to Columbia River Gorge to shoot a number of waterfalls, lie in a drainage ditch amidst a tangle of stinging nettles, stand out in the pouring rain for an hour, completely dismantle Ridiculous Mouse Audio Studios to assemble Ridiculous Mouse Movie Studio, learn how to siphon sickly green liquid into a 20-gallon aquarium, and buy a couple of 250 watt lights from the mighty Fred Meyer. And that's just the main stuff.

Needless to say, I'm having a blast doing it. It'll be even better if the footage I took last weekend actually turns out. That's the magic/curse with film: unlike video, film is like Christmas in that until in comes back from that lab, you don't know if you got a Red Rider BB gun with a compass in the stock, or a horrid pink bunny suit from your Aunt. In the editing lab at the NW Film Center, I've heard nearly an equal amount of "Yes!" and "Shit!" from those who are viewing their footage for the first time.

The four rolls of film I took during the weekend should be back from processing on Tuesday. Wish me luck.

"What's 'Dissolving' about?" I hear you ask. Well, I'm not going to tell you. But here are some production stills taken by Argotnaut with her new, trusty camera-phone. The gentlemen you see are the other half of our little electronica band "The Unlikely Event."

Oh, and on a follow-up to my previous Kaiser Permanente posts, I did in fact get a card and letter in the mail saying I'm covered. Of course, with KP, there has to be a catch, and the catch this time is that they are covering Argotnaut as well even though she has run screaming from KP and signed on with another carrier. This is probably because she was covered under my COBRA insurance. When I converted the KP COBRA plan to a regular plan, I only put my name on the form and not Argotnaut's. So I have to call KP and find out if it'll save me any dough to have Lisa removed from the policy.

But that's a minor case of catastrophe, we're covered. Theoretically.