Dark, Brooding Neo-Noir Film Short Shot In Just 48 Hours

•July 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Long time no speak. I had let this blog go to seed for a while due to very busy time in the real world, but now I have something I simply must share.

A few weeks ago group of friends and I all drove from our home base in Charlotte, North Carolina to Asheville, North Carolina to participate in the 48 Hour Film Festival. After being given three mandatory items that had to be included in the final film (A Character: Monica or Mike Vasquez, singer; A Prop: Bottle; and A Line of Dialogue: “That sure looks good to me”) Each of the 31 teams that entered the festival then had to draw a genre out of a hat (we pulled “Silent Film”)and from that moment forward had 48 hours to complete a film of no less than 4 minutes and no more than 7 minutes.

What we came up with was a dark, twisted little black and white Film Noir with the requisite amounts of murder, betrayal, haunting music, and (of course) an absolutely gorgeous Femme Fatale. I am intensely proud of not only the final product, but also the fact that rather than take the easier route of making a slapstick comedy, we decided as a group to try to create something that was as complex, challenging and artistic as we could in the two days that we had to write, location scout, shoot, edit, and score. Did we succeed, or did we get crushed by our own hubris? You can be the judge:



When all was said and done, we won Best Cinematography.

A few production stills from the shoot are here as well.

Complete 200+ production still gallery are here, if your interested. I really love these, and believe that they tell a story all their own:

http://m.facebook.com/album.php?aid=224021&id=340175009852&rbf3abbf6&refid=13

http://m.facebook.com/album.php?aid=224369&id=340175009852&r6e8fa005&refid=13

Hottentots, Tobacco, and the “Agility” of a Monotesticular Life

•July 16, 2009 • 1 Comment

From “Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an exotic Plant Seduced Civilization” by Iain Gately

Tobacco enabled the Dutch to make some amazing bargains, in Africa in particular. In 1652 the Dutch purchased the entire peninsula of the Cape of Good Hope for ‘a certain quantity of tobacco and brandy’. The Hottentots, the nation with which they struck this bargain, were a remarkable race who had integrated tobacco into their unusual culture in a manner which has never never been imitated. On achieving puberty, a Hottentot boy was given his first cigar while his mother bit off and ate his left testicle. As Guy Tachard, a French Jesuit, observed: ‘they have some very odd and whimsical customs… The men in their youth make themselves half eunuchs, pretending that that contributes much to the preservation and increase of bodily agility.’

Tobacco was one of the few things that would persuade a Hottentot to indulge in manual labour:

“The Hottentots, being persuaded that there is no life after this, labour as little and take as much ease as they can in this would. To hear them talk even when they are serving the Dutch, for a little bread, Tobacco or brandy, they look upon [the Dutch] as slaves who work the land of their country, and as people of no courage who shut themselves up in houses… whilst their people encamp securely in the open fields without stooping so low as to labour land. By that way of living they pretend to demonstrate that they are Masters of the Earth and the happiest people in the world”

Now, one should never take the word of a Priest at face value. Especially when they are talking shit about non-Christians (note that sly “being persuaded that there is no life after this” bit. I’m waiting with baited breath for modern Christian apologists to start floating the argument that “atheism leads to ball-eating.”).

But still… Damn.

Betty Bowers Explains Traditional Marriage to Everyone Else

•July 2, 2009 • 2 Comments

And you are NOT invited

•July 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

From here

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Nothing More to Say

•June 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

horsey-pro-life

Dildos in the Archaeological and Historic Record Part I – Ice Age and the Greeks

•June 24, 2009 • 3 Comments

I have often times been surprised to discover that bits of technology I thought were modern have roots going back hundreds or even thousands of years. Sometimes human technology goes back so far that it seems to say something fundamental about how humans have used tools and technology to achieve what they want. I can think of no better example than the dildo, which goes all the way back to before the end of the last Ice Age.

Ice Age Dildos

laun Perhaps you’ve heard of this little fellow. Measuring about 7 1/2 inches long and about  1.1 inches wide (hmm…) this could very well be the most famous sex toy around. Look, it’s even on the BBC! It was found about 4 years ago at a site in Germany and has been dated to around 28,000 years ago. 28,000!!! In the BBC article poor Professor Nicholas Conrad from Tubingen University makes a valiant effort to say that “In addition to being a symbolic representation of male genitalia, it was also at times used for knapping flints… [T]here are some areas where it has some very typical scars from that…” But he has to include that the “Etched rings” and “highly polished” nature makes it pretty obvious what this was primarily used for. But there is a serious hesitation on the part of many Archaeologists to admit just what they are finding in these sites, and often use the term “Ice Age Batons.” As one “anonymous” archaeologist (on Wikipedia, no less) put it “Looking at the size, shape, and—some cases—explicit symbolism of the ice age batons, it seems disingenuous to avoid the most obvious and straightforward interpretation. But it has been avoided.” Perhaps, as Cracked.com put it, no one wants to be known as “that guy that keeps discovering dildos–you know, Indiana Dongs.”

But this is far from the only period in history that is rife with artificial cock…

Greek Dildos

Did the Greeks ever seem to love dildos… they put pictures of women using them on pottery (just check out thatgrieks picture!) and talked about them constantly in Greek Comedies (of course in the Comedies! The more things change…). They called them olishoi, a word derived from the verb “to glide” or “to slip.” Aristophanes classic “Lysistrata”  is one of the best examples of this. The title character is absolutely furious over the seemingly never-ending Peloponneisian War, in particular over the lack of men to satisfy the urges of her fellow females. (Note: the following is from a fantastic translation by George Theodoridis that you can find for free at this link. It’s fucking awesome, and actually takes way less liberty with the original Greek than you would believe. If they only taught this in high school, history and drama would be the most popular courses in the entire school!)

Lysistrata – Tell me, please, all of you:  Do you not miss your husband’s pricks?  Your sons’ father?  I mean while he’s away at war? I know very well that all of you have your husband away at the moment.  Not one of them is here with you. Isn’t that so?

Caloniki – Mine, in fact, the poor bastard, has been in Thrace for the last five months.  Guarding that idiot of a general, Eucrates.

Myrrhini – And mine, seven months at Pylos.

Lampito – And if mine ever manages to steal away for a quickie, they rush over, nab him by the handle and quickly whisk him away back to the front!

Lysistrata – And so, girls, when fucking time comes… not the faintest whiff of it anywhere, right? From the time those Milesians betrayed us, we can’t even find our eight-fingered leather dildos. At least they’d serve as a sort of flesh-replacement for our poor cunts… So, then! Would you like me to find some mechanism by which we could end this war?

According to the book Sexuality in Greek and Roman Society by Mauguerite Johnson and Terry Ryan “eight-fingered equates to about 5 or 6 inches (15cm), small in comparison to vase representations. The scarcity is so acute that she has not even seen a little one…”

Another writer that made extensive use of dildo imagery in his Comedies was Herodas, whose Mimes (not the bastards with the painted faces, but a shortened form of Mimiaboi, a type of play that took scenes from everyday life and was full of the racy lines that made people like Aristophanes so popular) got quite a bit of mileage out of dildo jokes:

from Mime VI .17-19, 58-79:

(Note: during this time, dildos were secretly made on the side by cobblers. Cobblers that made especially good product were in high demand, and their names jealously guarded by satisfied customers. In this bit Metro is attempting to get her girlfriend Coritto  to give her the name of her favorite craftsman…)

Metro – I beg you, don’t lie,

dear Coritto: who was the man who stitched for you

this bright red dildo?

Coritto- I don’t know if [Cerdon] is from Chios or Erythrae;

bald, small – you’d call him a right ‘Mr. Tradesman.’

-

You’d think you’re seeing the handiwork of Athena herself, not

Cherdon’s

I – For he arrived bringing two, Metro-

at the sight of them my eyes bulged;

Men can’t make their rods as rigid as this-

We are alone and can be frank- and not only that,

these are as soft as sleep; as the little leather straps

are as soft as wool, not like leather straps at all. A kinder cobbler

to a woman you’ll not find- even by putting out.

Metro- Why then did you not take the other as well?

Coritto – What didn’t I do, Metro?

What sort of means of persuasion did I not apply

to him? Kissing him, stroking his bald head,

pouring out sweet drink for him, calling him by a pet name,

giving him all but my body to enjoy.

Metro- If he had asked even that, you ought to have given it.

Part II coming soon…

Concerned about CCTV security cameras in your Neighborhood? Kill them with Science! Or paint.

•June 23, 2009 • 3 Comments

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So I have been reading a lot about CCTV cameras after this news item made the rounds when Lancaster, PA decided to become the most spied-on city in the US. So here is some information about how to render these little bits of Big Brother ether completely useless, or far too expensive to maintain.

1) Infra-Red Light

Lots of articles were put up about this recently after a German art group displayed their I-R.A.S.C head mounted system.  But as the WIRED article points out, and as most photographers can tell you,  most of these “night vision” cameras are simply not equipped to handle any sizable amount of  IR light (or UV, or anything much outside of the standard visible spectrum. Question the motives of those that tell you otherwise). This being the case, one could easily  grab a few strong IR LEDs from your local Radio Shack or internet supplier, connect them to a AAA or coin battery,  sew them into hats or other clothing, and you’re off. Neat stuff. Remember to test with as many cameras as possible beforehand to make sure your lights are powerful enough for the desired effect.

Updated Note: this trick is normally for cameras in “night vision” ( IR) mode. When in this mode the camera is actually attempting to pick up IR light, and therefore giving it a massive dose of this type of light makes it unable to pick out details like you face. I am not sure about using this in “normal” camera modes.

iredeyeNow,if using IR lights in this way became exceedingly popular, local governments could circumvent this trick with a simple filter. But knowing the speed of these things, you likely have at least another 5-10 years before they catch on…

COST: about $10-25, or free if you scavenge for parts…

2) Laser Pointers

If it is good enough from Ronnie Regan to try against Russian satellites, it’s good enough for you on the street. (Yes, that is sarcasm) Any sufficiently powerful laser (5mWatt or higher) should, at the very least, blind CCTV cameras completely for the length of time you have the laser trained. The longer you can hold the laser on the camera lens, the better your chances are of permanently damaging the camera itself, forcing the powers-that-be to replace the whole damn thing. This goes double for those fancy new digital HD models, as those super-expensive CCD/CMOS chips that they use to create images are by nature extremely sensitive. This is also great as you can use the laser from a extended distance, potentially eliminating the need to mask your identity when engaging in such activity. I have heard that green or blue wavelengths work best, but I have not tested this myself. I do know that some high school students have claimed that shining a cheap red pointer at school cameras was enough to get laser pointers banned from school grounds, so take that as you will… Also keep in mind that the major limitation to this is that you are likely going to have to hit the lens almost head on, so the logistics may take a bit of planning…

COST: anywhere from a few bucks to many $100′s depending on where you get your laser from.  Old CD and DVD players are a great source for getting scavenged lasers for free if you know a bit about electronics. If you don’t, well, that’s what Google is for…

3) Paintball guns and Supersoakers

All of the above is neat, but if you want the most simple and guaranteed way to make maintaining a CCTV system a complete pain in the ass, paintball guns are you best friend. A camera that can’t see is useless, and no one wants to be constantly cleaning camera boxes  or replacing plastic barriers (if they are even smart enough to use such things), and for pennies and a few seconds of your time you can knock out dozens in an hour and perhaps keep them that way for as long as it takes Joe-Bob to get around to fixing them. The more often you do this, the more likely Joey-Boy is going to start finding all sorts of reasons to drop fixing the cameras down the list of priorities, since your just going to hit them again. Supersoakers cut with a 50/50 mix of all-weather house paint and water can also give you pretty good distance if you don’t have easy access to a paintball gun. Just keep in mind that you are likely to get a lot of paint on you if you use the squirt gun, so be read to strip incriminating clothing, and keep in mind that touching wet paint can leave fingerprints.

Cost: Paintball guns can range from $40- to $2-4oo, Supersoakers can be had for $10 or less. Once you’ve purchased the gun, the paintballs themselves are stupid cheap…

So get out there and take back you privacy!

A good website with some more info:

http://www.schnews.org.uk/diyguide/guidetoclosedcircuittelevisioncctvdestruction.htm

(Note: How you use this information is up to you, use at you own risk, the writer of this post retains no liability for fines or jail time resulting in the use of this information, blah, blah, blah)

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