The Patriot Smooches Prozac Kittens Under a Fireworks Sky

It's pushing midnight on the 4th of July. I have nothing patriotic to say. This is one of those holidays that just screws up my plans. Yesterday I had several things I needed to do — pay some over-due bills, contact some folks about the film events I'm planning, yeah, stuff like that. And then someone reminded me that Wednesday was the 4th. The fireworks are nice. Other than that, I don't get it. Nationalism (like religion) is a pestilence that seems to do little more than spread misery. And when's the last time an American, with both hemispheres intact of his or her brain, felt proud of this country? But the fireworks are nice.

I guess I'm pissier than usual because I'm so far behind in all of my projects.

I decided to take a gander at the short film me and Russ shot months ago for Short Ends. And then I realized why I'd pulled away from it. My editing software was having issues with the fact that we shot it in 24pa, and in that dreaded “squeeze mode.” And then there is the mDV deck Russ loaned me. It's great for capturing (which helped, because my camcorder has been ailing). But I can't get it to send out-going video and audio signals. I've grown used to editing with audio fed into my stereo, and video plugged into my JVC monitor. But it was time — past time — to get on the stick. I stripped my tiny office down, trashing all the clutter, disconnecting all my computer peripherals, and then I put it all back together. I tried returning to my camcorder as a deck — so I could use my monitor and my stereo to enhance the editing process. And then I realized something I had suppressed from my memory. The AV input/output of my GL2 apparently has a minor short. The picture jitters and often goes to black.

The problem with being poor and working freelance is that you never make the sort of money that will allow you to replace the machines you're wearing out doing the work that puts food on the table and keeps the landlady at bay … and little else. All those cheapo or pro bono video gigs I worked with the hope that someday, someday … maybe I'd get a serious day rate. Start repairing old equipment or buying new equipment. And now, I'm fucked. I can't carp about how I've been taken advantage of, I made a decision on every one of these projects. And I can't say I didn't have fun.

Ah, hell, I'd go get a regular job, but I don't know what they are or how to do 'em.

If this 48 Hour Film Project plays out the way it should, I should have all my event coordinating gigs out of the way. And what then? My biannual car insurance will no doubt devastate what little savings these jobs might generate.

This is a quandary I could have taken in stride in my 20s or 30s. But I can't pretend to be a kid any more. In the words of my good friend Enrique Madrid, when the enormity of life's problems become apparent: “What a mess.”

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Okay, so he's holding a kitten. And maybe that mitigates 90% of life's bullshit. Maybe I need to find a way to move back to Redford …

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… where life moves a bit slower, and so many problems can be resolved with cuddly kittens.

And, dammit, I can't feel so low, because I'm listening online to KEXP out of Seattle, and they're playing the song “USA” by The Beat (and not that English Beat — I'm talking the US Beat ( Paul Collins, in his heyday, rocked the power pop ass like nobody else).

And, yeah yeah I know, maybe I also need to recognize that I have been able to cruise through this summer without working a traditional job because I HAVE seen a return on my investment of working this city and making myself known to those in the film and video industries. Alright, my whining does seem a bit lame. I'll shut up for awhile.

I hope folks enjoyed their fireworks, barbecue, booze, day at the dog track, and whatever else we celebrate on this day.

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