Friday, May 31, 2013

Midnight Express, Brad Davis GIF

I lost a lot of files when my last computer crashed. I'm sure I'll appreciate it more as time goes by and I start to *need* some of those files along the way. There's still a sliver of hope that the data will be retrieved by another method, but for now I'm trying to be better about managing files in general.

I made this Brad Davis GIF a few years ago. I used it for a blog entry in which I didn't mention "Brad Davis" or "Midnight Express", so trying to *find* that GIF again involved searching through haystacks for a needle...

... which I did. Because I love procrastination projects.

After I found it, I quickly transferred the file from a dead Flickr account that I never use anymore to IMGUR, where others may more easily discover and use it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


My old Vista computer expired the other week. I got a new computer and brought the Vista hard drives to a computer shop to try to salvage the data.

I've had a computer completely die on me before, and I've had data salvaged. I'd hoped this would be a routine procedure.

Apparently only one of the hard drives could be read for data. At the cost of about $112. The other hard drive would require a deeper analysis to get anything from it... at the cost of about $912.

Fuck it, I said. Of that hard drive, there was probably only about 10% on there that would be really valuable to me. Maybe if that 10% managed to survive, I'd be in the clear.

I go to the shop last night. Pick up my old hard drives and a new external hd with the salvaged data. Total cost, about $250.

Get home and plug in the new hard drive to investigate the salvaged data... and it looks remarkable! At first glance, it looks like almost everything I need has been rescued. Huge sigh of relief. Raise the "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner for the Reuters photographers.

On further inspection, however... not all the folders have been rescued. And the contents of those folders are not what they should be.

I try to open files and I'm greeted with data-junk.

Almost... entirely... useless.

Well, at least I have a better appreciation for what exactly I've lost. A bunch of old documents. Some things I can retrieve because I've sent them as attachments in old emails. Other things... are probably simply lost.

Okay. We pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off. The royal "we".

I've still got those old hard drives. Can't afford it right now but I can take them to another shop down the line and see if they can salvage more. Some of those old files are more sentimental than practical. There's a chance they can be brought back.

For now, I've just got to shake this one off and keep moving.

Friday, May 24, 2013

EPCOT Spaceship Earth GIF

I created this animated GIF entirely on the new computer. Using replacement software I've scavenged. It's not great; it's more of a proof of concept. After a computer meltdown, we slowly claw our way back toward a semblance of normalcy.

Yesterday morning, I dropped the old HDs off at a computer shop to hopefully salvage some of the data. Haven't heard back from them about an estimate which is... a vague concern. More information soon, hopefully.

Think I've secured a person to sublet the vacant room for June and July. Crisis averted in that category, knock on wood.

Memorial Day Weekend. It feels dark and quiet this Memorial Day Weekend. Going to try to get some writing done before it ends. You should, too.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Busted Windows

Hello from my new Windows 8 computer.

Abbreviated timeline:

My old desktop croaks sometime Saturday night. I place an order for a budget replacement computer Sunday night. I'm using my new computer Wednesday afternoon.

Of course, Windows 8 isn't reading my old Vista-formatted hard drives (because that would be too easy), so it looks like I'll have to shell out for a bit of data recovery. If it's possible.

When I bought my last computer, it took me a minute to become acquainted with all the problems with the new Vista OS. So it's poetic that I've been forced to replace that machine with a similarly beleaguered Windows 8 desktop. Hopefully, the problems won't be as severe.

So far...? Aside from not being able to read my old hard drives, it's not quite as bad as I feared. The new tablet-like Start screen is a little obnoxious, but you can move past that to a more recognizable desktop setting.

Slowly recovering here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mitch Hurwitz interview, Arrested Development

Rolling Stone has a really good interview with Mitch Hurwitz about his two year odyssey to revive Arrested Development. I recommend. It's reassuring to see more established people struggling and taking long gambles with their time and careers.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A More Honest Entry

Today was one of those bleak days. It's easier to write about hard times when you've moved beyond them. There's always so much riding on perception. And I don't want to give some people the satisfaction of seeing me admit to struggling.

Fact remains that I've written a lot that I haven't gotten paid for in the past few years. I'm in wait-mode for one project right now -- a very extended wait-mode -- and trying to write other things while I wait. But it's difficult to not get discouraged.

Meanwhile, the last steady job I had ended in mid-February. A shorter gig on a television pilot got aborted before I could start. The break from a regular 9-5 gig has been helpful -- because that last gig took a unique toll -- but it's not easy making ends meet when you're scraping by on the dole. And these accounting gigs were just meant to help supplement the screenwriting gigs.

Then today, my desktop computer dies. So now I've got to deal with the expense and logistics of replacing it; and I can't really afford it right now but it's not a frivolous expense. Then this afternoon, my dad calls. Hadn't spoken to him in months. So we have one of our typical, awkward conversations. And I'm trying to avoid letting him know how much I'm struggling. I'd just like to prove to my old man that I can make it on this path I've chosen -- and he catches me on this particularly bleak day so I'm trying to not let him hear the panic in my voice. (But if he had any skill at reading social cues, we'd probably have a better relationship.)

Adding to the anxiety, I'm left to deal with trying to find someone to sublet my roommate's room since he's decided to extend his travels and our original replacement is leaving at the end of this month. A lot of responses from the Craigslist ad but a lot of people flaking out, as well.

One of the worst feelings in the world is getting to a certain age and starting to lose confidence in a career path -- a dream you've pursued since childhood. Because you take that away from me and there is literally nothing left. I've sacrificed everything. Nothing left to take solace in. Sometimes, it feels like there's no one I can talk to. No one has any idea what to say to me to talk me down off the ledge.

Still fighting...

Dell Brick

Well, it had to happen eventually. My desktop computer bricked out sometime Saturday night. Brought it to a shop for a free estimate Sunday: the motherboard was fried. The guy didn't recommend the expense of replacing it. It's great how things seem to break down when I can least afford to replace them.

I've got my little writing netbook to keep me online for now. Replacement computer should arrive sometime next week, and then I can begin the process of restoring files. Hopefully that will go smoothly enough. My abilities will be a bit hobbled till then.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Office (U.S.) Finally Fucking Ends Tonight

I have certainly been critical about THE (American) OFFICE. It's a wonder that I kept watching it this entire time.

There was good in it. There was sooo much that was dreadful — unnecessarily dreadful! — but there was a core that worked. And every so often, an episode might remind me what the show was capable of being.

For those interested, TV GUIDE ran an interesting multi-part article chronicling the history of the show:

Oral History of THE OFFICE.

My expectations for tonight's overdue series finale are low. This past victory lap season has been filled with things I loathed about the series. But there's still room for surprises.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Todd White: Street Healer Fraud

Is "Todd White" a thing? I guess it's a thing.

Todd White is some guy who goes around performing "street healing" like he's David Blaine.

The most obnoxious part of this video happens around three minutes in. This Asian girl says she believes in evolution but she believes that *God* started evolution for a reason -- because there has to be scientific evidence for everything.

This becomes a challenge for Todd White. He proceeds to heal a back problem she claims to have because her legs are uneven. Grabs her legs and spouts off a lot of Abracadabra-Jesus blather... we *see* nothing, of course. We're just expected to believe she's been healed. Then he leans toward her and lays out his finishing blow:

"Now, you do me a favor. Can you scientifically explain what just happened?"


"You can't."


"Because... it's a miracle...?"

[Girl starts crying]

"Jesus loves you so much!"

So, it's not enough that she SAYS she believes in God while also studying science. He has to make her renounce science. This goofy, Adam-Durwitz-looking motherfucker needs to make her say that science cannot explain the Jesus-magic he just used on her to fix her gimpy leg.

Of course, science CAN explain what he did. It's the power of suggestion.

I understand it. He's exploiting street-magic type theatricality in order to inspire people and get them swayed toward his religion. But it's crazy bullshit.

Anyway, it may not be a thing. I may just be picking on a super-fringe entity.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Apple Failures: Apple Bandai Pippin

From the wiki:
The Apple Bandai Pippin is a multimedia technology console, designed by Apple Computer. The console was based on the Apple Pippin platform - a derivative of the Apple Macintosh platform. Bandai produced the ATMARK and @WORLD consoles between 1995 and 1997.

The goal of the Bandai Pippin was to create an inexpensive computer aimed mostly at playing CD-based multimedia titles, especially games, but also functioning as a network computer. The operating system was basically a stripped version of System 7.5.2, and was based on a 66 MHz PowerPC 603 processor and a 14.4 kb/s modem. It featured a 4x-speed CD-ROM drive and a video output that could connect to a standard television display.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Wet Laundry on Mother's Day

In honor of my mother, I did laundry on mother's day. Bright and early on Sunday morning — 11am, nearly the crack of dawn! — you'd think the laundromat would be a veritable ghost-town, but nooOOOOoooo. Apparently, a lot of people felt like honoring their mothers through laundry today.

When my wash was complete, there were no dryers available. Instead of waiting for one, I pulled the cheapest move of all: collecting my wet laundry to air dry at home. (Hey, I get to save a few quarters!) To add insult to injury, a pretty girl started loading her laundry into the washer next to mine while I was packing up my sopping wet laundry into a bag to take home. Today, I've earned a black belt in displaying-lower-value.

Called my mom down in Florida. She and her "extended family" just finished going to church and were headed to a mall. Giggling, older Filipinas. Filipinas of a certain age. Just a quick, touch-base call. Over in 5 minutes. So now I can hurry back to completely wasting this beautiful day away...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Apple Failures: PowerCD

Hop a Delorean to 1993 and have a look at Apple's portable music CD/CD-ROM player.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Survivor Caramoan [Wednesday Episode SPOILER]

As this FANS vs FAVORITES season in the Philippines draws to a close, we bid a sobbing goodbye to the stunningly hot (and emotional) heartbreaker, Brenda Lowe.

Does it hurt, Brenda? It hurts, doesn't it...? How much does it hurt...? Show me how much it hurts...

O, how I'd like to dry those tears of unfathomable sadness...

Here's some footage of her after she got voted out. Recommended.

Brenda Arrives at the Ponderosa:

What's really interesting is that her personality seemed starkly different from the first time she played Survivor. She was pretty arrogant the first time she played. (During that Old People versus Young People season.) This season, she was far quieter. And more compassionate. She addresses that in this next video...

Brenda, The Day After:

Hopefully, we'll see Brenda and her dad on the next season of the Amazing Race, or something.

Sunday night: epic finale! Place your f'n bets...

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Animated GIFs: A Type of Cinema...?

[Alexander Skarsgard in ZOOLANDER GIF]

Excerpt from A.D. JAMESON article, Are animated GIFs a type of cinema?:
...I proposed that cinema be thought of simply as “moving images.” Making that mental leap expands the cinema to include not just feature-length films and shorts, but also television shows, music videos, YouTube videos, video games, flash animations—and animated gifs. (I even argued that cinema should include certain “non-electronic” forms, such as flip books, magic lanterns, and shadow puppetry.) I won’t rehash that whole argument here; instead, I want to look solely at animated gifs. Are they cinema?
Thanks to Nick Gaffney for the interesting read.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

20 Years

Oh, hey, look: it's been 20 years since high school. I'm crazy old now. And for a mere $115 (plus $5 convenience charge, if paying with plastic), I can buy an early bird ticket to hang out with a bunch of people I didn't talk to back in the day. At a hotel in New Jersey.

I can talk to people about my divorce. And about the script I've got mired in development hell.

I am sooo not going to this fucking thing.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Zach Braff is Ruining Film

Zach Braff has this Kickstarter for this movie he wants to direct called "Wish I Was Here". It's already exceeded its crowd-fundraising goal of $2 million and has 17 days to earn more. If you pay $3000, you get to be an extra in the movie! If you pay $7500, you get to be a "featured extra" wherein you "probably won't have a line, but you will be prominently featured in the scene"! For $10,000... Zach will write a line for you perform in a scene!

For some reason, some people have cried bullshit. His rebuttals:

Zach Braff doesn't have Oprah money.

Zach Braff: Crowd-funding is the "next best thing" to actual investing.

His debut movie was a bit of treacle called GARDEN STATE that a lot of people love because a lot of people are easily swayed by music and bullshit. It's a soundtrack movie. It relies on its curated soundtrack to take you to emotional places it hasn't earned through narrative means. It received a mixed reception from audiences when it debuted at Sundance in 2004 because it was clearly not a real indie movie: it was the writing/directing debut of a popular sitcom actor who roped in a bunch of his industry friends. It got snapped up by Fox Searchlight while a lot of *true* indie films were struggling to get seen. There are filmmakers who scraped together the funds for their movies through begging, borrowing and stealing, maxing out plastic... and then there was this NBC sitcom actor who wanted to make his vanity indie movie.

The Kickstarter is questionable on more levels. On one hand, it's voluntary. No one's holding a gun to anyone's head to contribute money to his movie. People love that one movie he made — it may be manipulative treacle but he made a movie that connected with a lot of people. I find it more troubling that people can PAY to perform in this movie. People can pay a production company to do a job that would normally require the production company to pay a struggling actor. I hear if you pledge $15,000 Zach Braff will let you suck his cock, too.

My greater concern is that this creates a new paradigm for risk-averse film studios. You can essentially pre-sell film tickets as a means to fund movies. Hell, instead of greenlighting movies, they can just let certain movies get made through Kickstarter and decide what they want to pick up and distribute instead of laying out any money upfront.

And now, from someone who actually likes Zach Braff: "I Won't Give Zach Braff One Dime"

Monday, May 06, 2013

Nicholas Nixon's The Brown Sisters

There's something about photographer Nicholas Nixon's series The Brown Sisters that is so striking to me.

A portrait of his wife Bebe and her three sisters has been taken every year since 1975.

I find the series peculiarly moving. No sense of joy, even in the earlier photos. No carefree years. You get the sense these women have weathered some difficult times. Some years, it almost seems like there's a silent war between the subjects and the photographer.

And the women seem to get gradually closer over time. Connecting with each other more. Physically supporting each other. I don't know the stories of any of these women but these photos are uniquely evocative.

I know some folks have created animated GIF versions but I find myself compelled to linger on the individual photos. Go back and forth over the years, seeing how their faces and expressions change in subtle ways. Seeing how their relation to each other shifts year by year.

(Note how one of them gradually turns into a trans Christian Bale.)

Saturday, May 04, 2013

New Media Celebrity

If you're not familiar with what "Overly Attached Girlfriend" is, here's the Cliff Notes. The girl's name is Laina Walker and she parlayed her viral success into her own little YouTube channel, whatever that means.

I was watching this one video that shows her and some friends going to an amusement park: there's a section where she starts signing autographs for a group of young girls who seem excited to meet her in person — just as if she were a "regular" celebrity! At one point, the guy shooting the footage says to the girls, "You're all going to be on YouTube, by the way." They suddenly get excited by this prospect. One girl exclaims, "I wanna be on YouTube!" A few of them wave. All, seemingly, without irony.

Okay. It's fucking YouTube. EVERYONE can be on YouTube. Almost everyone IS on YouTube. I feel like the advancement of technology over the past two decades has prematurely turned anyone over 30 into a doddering, Andy Rooney archetype. That said, it was a lot harder to get your face on television back in the day. And now, almost anyone can be an overnight internet sensation. How that can ultimately be monetized and built upon is the bigger uncertainty.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Walking, Talking, Bad-Lip-Reading Dead

This is really good. You should watch this with the volume up when you can.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May Devils Cry

[[ Time Bandits bedroom scene GIF ]]

It's May. I honestly don't know how we're nearly at the fucking half-way mark on this year already. I just need to find a way to stop time for a few months so I can get something done. Time really flies when you're not having fun. Where does all the time go...?

[[ Time Bandits bedroom scene GIF (smaller) ]]

May. I've got to start getting some writing out there. It's not enough to be toiling away in private, pulling my hair out, banging my head against the padded walls. I need to get writing done and sent out. I need to FINISH drafts.

Productivity comes in starts and stops. I can get hung up on something stupid for an inordinate amount of time. It's May and I've got to fuck off with that. We've just entered May but June is a brick wall that's barreling toward us. I've got to have something to show for May.