Thursday turned out to be a full day of doing a lot of what, from an outside perspective, might appear to be unambiguous and perspicuous loafing. Perhaps so. But the fact is, I was exhausted.
I was up at dawn. And after a fast couple cups of coffee and a banana, I hopped on my bike and met Todd O’Neil over at C4 Workspace at eight. We spent a couple of hours painting the concrete floor with a light grey paint. An undercoat had been put on the previous day. Friday we’d put on the second and final coat. The space was coming along nicely. A conference room and a couple of offices will be framed off over the weekend. I like Todd’s concept of co-working and community involvement. I’m looking forward to have another place to work on my own projects other than at my home. This current situation just hasn’t been working out for me.
Back home I watched yesterday’s Colbert Report and Daily Show via Hulu.com.
And then I got back on my bike and rode out to Mission Espada. It’s been a few months since I’ve biked the full 20 mile round trip out to Espada and back. Lately I’ve been driving my bike out to that park next to the Mission Drive-In Theater and cutting the cycling distance in half. But not Thursday. I’d loaded up my iPhone with some fresh music. Bowie’s Hunky Dory, Foetus’ Thaw, and Animal Collective’s Here Comes the Indian.
At Espada, I chilled out under a little pecan tree overlooking the low-water crossing. There were a couple of cicadas droning metallically. I hope this will be a good year for the cicadas. Speaking of insects, I’m intrigued by these reports of Crazy Raspberry Ants. They’re an alien species which has supposedly escaped from some transport container at the Houston airport. Crazy ants are ants that move in chaotic, unpredictable manners. It’s theorized that these ants are related to several species found in the Caribbean. For some reason they are attracted to the electromagnetic fields of electronic equipment … as well as transformer stations. These are prolific critters with multiple queens per colony. A colony can run in the billions. And they swarm over these electronic and electrical systems and cause them to overheat and burn out. The Raspberry part of their name (it sounds so innocent, eh?) is because they were first identified by a Texas exterminator whose last name is Raspberry. But make no mistake, these surging and pulsating colonies of billions of individuals are on the march. They have been spotted at the very edge of San Antonio.
Shit! They’re gonna Kudzu us back into the Industrial Age.
The man or woman who knows the secrets of chromolithography and movable type will be akin to a GOD!
Every laptop in Texas soon will be fried and stuffed with the crispy corpses of crazy raspberry ants.
Crazy Raspberry Ants. This sounds like something you might order at Jamba Juice. Take my advice. Order it with a wheat grass chaser. We call that the Picnic in the Park.
But I digress.
I was riding back home, not too far from San Antonio’s famous Ghost Tracks, when my iPhone paused in the middle of “Queen Bitch,” and began it’s cricket chirp, indicating an in-coming call.
It was Veronica. It seems that the OCA refund for my NALIP national conference registration fee had come in. There was a check waiting for me!
“I’m on my way,” I said in my best Raymond Chandler declarative diction.
Veronica was at the NALIP office downtown at the Radius Center. Well, I wasn’t going all that way on my bike. Just getting home was exhausting enough.
Once at the house, I changed vehicles. I drove my truck to the Radius.
Some shit was going on with big inflatable mascots. There were several in front of the Municipal Auditorium. And there was apparently a big Godzilla up on the roof of the Radius. I never looked up, and had to learn this fact via FaceBook.
According to the Radius FaceBook info, these big inflatables was some sort of ad campaign — some sort of PSA exhorting folks to wear seat belts … that idiotic “Click-It or Ticket” propaganda spiel.
Inside the Radius I found Veronica. She gave me the check. We caught up on the important film stuff. And it was she who reminded me that Jefferson High School was having a free screening of their cinema program that night at the Alamo Drafthouse.
We both knew we had to attend.
So I said goodbye, and we agreed to meet again in about three hours at the Alamo Drafthouse.
I got there early. And when Adam Rocha, the head of the Jefferson film department, saw so few people in the audience, he wisely asked Liz, the manager of the Drafthouse to push back the screening from 6 to 6:30.
This worked well. By 6:30 there was a good audience. I was sitting in the back. Drew Mayer-Oakes, the San Antonio Film Commissioner, joined me. As did Francis Santos (writer, filmmaker, and Jefferson teacher). And Veronica showed up soon as well. There was also Jessica Torres, teen filmmaker prodigy. And Jessica’s mom, Sandra. Also, young filmmaker Alejandro Rodriguez was hanging out.
It was a nice night. Like most other local high school media programs, we were treated to a wide range of quality. From the somewhat painful to the inspired. But the work was all honest and unpretentious.
Well done, Adam, and all of the kids who are part of the Mustang Cinema Club!
Friday morning I spent a couple of hours over at C4 again. Todd and I, with the help of Steve Vanderver, put the second and final coat of paint on the floor. It was clearly an example of working out a set of muscles I don’t normally use. Repetitive twisting, leaning, lunging. Sore along the sides of my ribs. The floor looks damn good, though.
As we were closing up, some guy that Todd and Steve know from the social media world drove up. I’ve forgotten his name. He’s in promotions and public relations. A wonderful Runyonesque character. Were we in New Jersey (well the New Jersey of my imagination), he’d be styling a rumpled two-piece suit in seersucker or sharkskin (depending on the season) while constantly checking in on the cell phone with his bookie.
We all took a late breakfast at El Mirador. This is the second time I’ve been to this famous local restaurant. I just don’t get it. The food’s good, but really it isn’t that spectacular. Yes, there are a couple of exotic dishes peculiar to interior Mexico I should sample before being so dismissive. But my two tacos were wrapped in store bought flour tortillas. I mean, really, even I can make a flour tortilla. Do it all the time.
After breakfast, we all went our separate ways. The rain had returned. And as I was driving home, I received a call from Pete. He was on a shoot, and he needed a mini audio cable. He gave me the intersection, and I said it’d be there straight away. I stopped at the house, picked up one of the curly mini audio cables I use for my wireless lavs, and I headed north on I-10. I thumbed on my iPhone app. “Say Where!” I spoke into my phone, “San Antonio, Texas.” And then I spoke the intersection. It quickly searched. And then Google Maps came up showing downtown San Antonio. The location of my truck was given as a slow pulsing blue dot. My destination was marked by a cartoon red-topped pushpin. My route was shown in purple. Love it when technology works. Maybe it wouldn’t be so thrilling were it to come through all the time.
Cable delivered. Back home to work some on a video edit I’d been paid for ages ago. The new MacBook White is tearing things up. It’s my editing computer now. Not only has it made good friends with my DVX (that’s my newest camcorder to those not of the video geekdom), but I also was finally able to wire my JVC NTSC monitor so it would out-put the video signal coming from Final Cut out through my deck (in this case, my DVX). This is great news. For as long as I’ve owned this new camera, I hadn’t been able to patch the monitor through it’s RCA outputs. Next I need to wire my stereo back into my video editing system. It makes a huge difference when dropping in Foley tracks, composing music, or matching dialogue from various camera set-ups. Weird, but I haven’t worked on that level of audio for video in over a year. My more recent pieces have been arty pieces with provided music or basic sound effects.
I was loafing about on the sofa this afternoon, hiding from the thunderstorms, and watching bad movies on my new laptop via Hulu.com.
As a kid I’d seen “At the Earth’s Core.” And doubtlessly on many occasions, back when local late night television programing was awash with movies. I never cared for the film. Not that it’s awful. I enjoy many awful films. But it was like the producers and writers just never got the coolest part of Edgar Rice Burroughs novel. They’re inside the hollow Earth! A huge enclosed space 7000 miles in diameter. The inside of this massive shell is covered with oceans, mountains, jungles, a variety of humanoids, even fucking dinosaurs! How cool is that? The whole place is lit by a central sun floating up there at the very center. There’s even a geostationary moon, casting the only night — a perpetual night — on one particularly blighted region of this world within a world, called Pellucidar.
But this 1976 film doesn’t deliver much of that at all. They’re in some vague gigantic cavern system with jungles and mountains and cavemen and dinosaurs … but the weird light is supposedly caused by the glowing magma 20 miles overhead. That’s just stupid.
I get a sense that actor Peter Cushing was having a lot of fun. He co-stars with Doug McClure (you might remember him from such films as “Satan’s Triangle” and “SST: Death Flight”). The monsters (and they are aplenty) are mostly men in rubber suits. They do offer a bit of cornball charm. And I quite like the beginning of the film. Cushing and McClure climb into their Victorian-era phallic burrowing machine and they wave to members of the press and crowds of well-wishers before plunging into the bowels of the Earth. I wish we’d been given a bit more of this cool steam punk art design before we find ourselves in the land of reptilian rubber costumes.
An aside. While making a cursory search over to Wikipedia about this film, I encountered a phrase which, inexplicably, I’d never before encountered. Slurpasaur. This is the tongue-in-cheek term for a particular type of cheap special effects — when you need a dinosaur, you film a live lizard with horns or fins glued to its body. And then you use split-screen or rear projection to make it look bigger. Perhaps use a bit of slow motion to make them look like lumbering beasts, instead of foot-long iguanas. Slurpasaurus. Yeah. It makes me smile. Here’s a little bit from Wiki:
And this sweet lampoonery of a scientific paper on Slurpasaurs:
I never cared for these lame special effects tricks. Ray Harryhausen with his stop-motion work was the coolest for me as a kid. And I even developed a guilty pleasure for men in rubber monster suits. But those real live lizards with shit epoxied to them …. Please. I was much too sophisticated to be a fan. But, now, in retrospect, if I knew that the campy industry nickname for them was Slurpasaurs, I’ve been all over that stuff.)
I find it odd that, outside of the Tarzan franchise, Hollywood seems to have been so disinterested in the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs. To the best of my knowledge, most of it’s in public domain. And it lends itself quite well to those quasi steam punk films that seem to come out every three years or so. (The next seems to be this Sherlock Holmes film with Robert Downey, Jr. as the titular character. It seems more Frank Miller than Arthur Conan Doyle, and that bums me out. But the trailer looks pretty cool.
Eventually Hollywood will find the right combination of producer, director, and super star to lay down a John Carter of Mars or a Pellucidar blockbuster franchise. I’m just baffled as to why it hasn’t happened yet.