I felt this cold coming on Thursday morning. By the evening it was sliding into the background. I thought I’d trounced the little microscopic bastards. But by Friday morning, I knew they’d got the upper hand, or, should I say flagella, crystallized protein shell, or … well, whatever? I must admit I surprised myself that morning by hopping on the bike and riding to the convenience store for milk for my coffee. The sore throat and generally seedy feeling was mitigated by it being a truly beautiful morning. And I was not in the mood for coffee without milk
I leaned my bike against the plate glass window of the little shop and gas station. As I entered, I held the door open for a delivery man bringing in several bins of chips and such. It only took me a few seconds to snag a pint of milk from one of the coolers. And it only took a few seconds for the severe middle-aged German woman who works there to begin laying into the smilingly placid delivery man.
“This isn’t the full order,” the woman grumbled, as she adjusted her glasses to better read the invoice. “I need forty Grab Bags of Sun Chips. I don’t see them?”
“¡Mira, mira! ¿No es suficientemente?” he asked, moving his arm over the bounty of chips. “Every chip of the rainbow. ¿Pues aquí … todo — Funyuns y Cheetos, sí?”
“No fucking Sun Chips?”
“¡Mira, mira! Chicharrónes. Muy sabroso. These taste like shrimp. ¡Pinche camarónes! Pig skins that taste of sea food! ¡Qué cosa!”
“Lichten mein asch!” she hissed, moving in on him. He did not break eye contact, nor did his playful smile waver. “I want those Sun Chips.”
“Mira, mira! Chingas of jerky! Spiced meat sticks … spiced meat sticks con queso. Mira, look at it!” The delivery man paused to take in his breath in mid rhapsody. “They inject the cheese, from the tips down to los culeros.”
But she wasn’t listening. She pulled away and walked around the counter.
“By closing time, arschgesicht,” she said over her shoulder. “I want those Sun Chips!”
“Just this,” I muttered, putting down my milk.
“So nice to see you,” she said, suddenly changing gears, flashing me a flirty and slightly predatory smile. “You don’t come here so often anymore.”
I muttered something about a busy schedule and walked out. As I left, I again held the door open for the chip man. He smiled and nodded — one of those shared “mercy, what a guy has to do” moments.
I rode home and had a couple cups of coffee and ate some banana oat cakes while watching a NetFlix DVD which had been languishing on my desk for weeks. Ken Loach’s Bread and Roses. Classic Loach. I love his big old socialistic heart. He makes these films that feel so raw and naturalistic. Seemingly more reportage and documentarian than controlled narratives. But there were times when I had to hit pause and inch back frame by frame to see what he was doing. His films are actually tightly structured. He works with brilliant cinematographers with incredible eyes. What seems like a throw-away shot is actually masterfully composed. For people interested in his work, this is a great start. Very nice pace. Accessible. And it co-stars Adrien Brody. It’s about a group of LA janitors trying to form a union. ¡Si se puede!
George Cisneros called me up Thursday afternoon. One of his early and important drum teachers was in town for a music and education conference. George was setting up a little gathering at URBAN-15 to honor his old mentor. Would I like to come? Sounded good.
And so, after a short bike ride down to some of the missions, I headed over to the courtyard at URBAN-15 for an evening of tacos and sangria.
Lisa McWilliams is one of the lead folks running the Mobile Film School. This is an Austin-based youth educational non-profit. I believe that this is their third year. They offer their services to high schools that don’t have film or video programs. They are able to travel anywhere and teach a group of kids how to make a film. By the end of the program there is a complete work.
Their first project, a short documentary, was extraordinary. It won first prize at the Josiah Youth Media Festival. It’s also done well at other festivals and screenings.
Check out their website:
They’ve got a cute donation campaign for an up-coming project. Donate one dollar to pay for one second of a completed short. Help out a little, or help out a lot. I couldn’t help myself. I had to make a donation. However, I couldn’t figure out the Google Checkout system they were using as the main payment option. And, dammit, for some reason, the MFS website blocked me as spam when I tried to email. So I just phoned up and gave Lisa my credit card info. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking — she’s probably in Aruba by now sipping a fruity rum drink and winking at the front man of a rumba band. But you gotta have faith, man. It’s what got me where I am today.
The Mobile Film School does wonderful work. Give them money. A little or a lot. It’s a good cause. They do outstanding work.
I’m thinking of dumping MySpace. No one seems to be creating any content. It’s dead. No new blogs from the folks I subscribe to (well, there are maybe three still posting regularly). Has everyone moved to Facebook? Facebook has a piss poor interface. Not that MySpace is much better. But Facebook’s interface is thin, anemic, and goddamn counterintuitive. Besides, it’s not set up for people who want to blog, post video, or basically create substantial content. Facebook is for the dilettante with ephemeral content. MySpace is more geared towards the windbag.
I’ve noticed that I’m still getting loads of hits on MySpace. More than ever before. It used to be that each new blog would be read by about 100 to 150 people. Now I find myself looking at the hits for a new blog, and it’s in the 200 to 300 range. I can prove nothing, but I think MySpace is feeding me bogus information. Who are these people? I don’t have new subscribers to my blog. And MySpace isn’t really Google-searchable. And most telling, those people who blogs I subscribed to are not writing new blogs. It’s almost completely dead. It seems that everyone is moving away. Could it be that MySpace, in a panic mode, it cheating — letting people think that their page is becoming more and more popular so they won’t notice that MySpace has been taking on water for some time and jump ship for good?
But because Facebook’s bullshit platform and environment (seemingly created by and for ADHD meth-heads), I’ve found myself sliding towards the darkest of the dark side when it comes to ephemeral social media — I’m talking of the mico-blogging world of Twitter.
True, I think a good blog entry should clock in at around 25,000 words, you know, a good solid novella; but, dammit, if we are running scared from sweet fat content, let’s just go wild and cook it down to the essentials. Convey your idea in 140 characters.
Sure, there are those who see this sort of nonsense as fundamentally narcissistic. More so than blogging. It’s a constant feed of people’s truncated yammerings. So, yeah, absolutely narcissistic. But, in all condor, there are indeed some narcissists who I want to know all about. For instance, Stephen Fry Twitters. Don’t you want to take a peek into Stephen Fry’s world? This last week he’s been in Hollywood on set for an up-coming episode of the TV drama Bones (one of my guilty pleasures). He’s funny, erudite, and rude. In 140 characters. Just what we all want from the brilliant Stephen Fry … while we’re standing on an elevator trying to ignore people standing close and invading our space. Speaking of space, I also follow Phil Plait, astronomy author and blogger extraordinaire. And then there’s all the clever insights and puerile bullshit from friends and colleagues and those people who barely know me, which comes straight to me — people like Sam Lerma, Annele Spector, Sam Bayless, Michael Verdi, Evie Barnes, Mary Robinson, Bryan Ramirez, Ben Judson, and Jennifer Saylor. There are also theater companies, coffee shops, film festivals, and other organizations and institutions which can keep one updated about events. Although it’s this marketing aspect which I find at times rather intrusive. And there are folks, like Phil Plait, who make significant ad revenue off their blogs, and Twitter is as much a tool for them to send traffic to their blogs as well as giving them an opportunity to crack wise to the wold at large, in an ad lib and off the cuff manner. Of course, if you get sick of someone I suppose you just cut them loose. Haven’t tried that. Would that be rude?
Hm, I wonder what the fuck Letitia Baldrige would say on that matter?