Thursday, December 06, 2007

Pointless Factoid XXI

Disinterested actually means "neutral" or "divested of interest", as opposed to "unconcerned". Though it is likely that the weight of misuse in time will render error with a certain legitmacy.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Escaping the deer baron

There's this town in California called Boulder Creek. It's a small place, located in the Santa Cruz mountains. Apparently, there's no sewage on the left side of the street.

Somehow I don't think I'll be back there any time soon.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pointless Factoid XX

THAC0 is an abbreviation of the term To-Hit Armor Class Zero (0). It was once a crucial statistical shorthand for any melee based D&D character.

Friday, October 19, 2007


I try and make it a point to read one non-fiction and one fiction book a month. That isn't exactly a break-neck pace, yet lately it has been unattainable. I shudder to think that I could ever lose my love of books, but it's hard to deny the evidence.

Damn internet.

Monday, October 15, 2007

No accounting for taste

This is sort of old news, but as I am not exactly what one would call a diligent blogger, it's taken me a while to post. On September 30th Scary Cow had its screening. For those of you who don't know about Scary Cow, it's essentially an independent film co-operative. Members pay a monthly fee, join into teams and produce short movies. At then end of a three-month period, the movies are shown and members vote on their favorites. The winning films are then awarded a budget to make a future movie.

Although SC is by no means perfect, it is an excellent way to get out there and gain some hands-on film making experience. Most of the members are amateur hobbyists like myself. Some are professionals looking to do side projects, and a few more are aspirants hoping to use this as a launchpad to fame and fortune (good luck). I've been a member since the beginning, and though there have been three rounds, this was the first time I produced my own film submission.

My movie, which can be seen here (or watching the thing above) was one of the award winners. How exactly that came about I cannot say; some form of mass psychosis most likely. To the extent we merit any praise at all, it is due pretty much entirely to my cast and crew, who proved more gracious and paitent than I really had any right to expect.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Did I do that?

While I was trying to install the language packs on my computer, so I could see foriegn language characters instead of those annoying boxes, something odd happened. Now everything on blogger is displayed in Japanese. I have to go by memory to figure out which buttons to push in order to post.

Most confusing.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pointless Factoid XIX

The record for most turnovers in any division 1 college football game is twenty, set in 1969.

That would have been pretty fun to watch, I think.

Monday, September 24, 2007

On Location

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This photo was taken outside Swensen's ice cream at the corner of Hyde and Union in San Francisco. Everything there was really good, and I certainly recommend it to anyone who will be in the city.

We were there filming a scene for my current project, a series of shots stuck together as a date montage. On the whole I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, but the scene we filmed at Swensen's is actually my favorite one in the whole movie.

Although there are some people who aren't willing to brave the hassle, the majority of people we have approached about using their business as a location have been really cool.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Long Wait


Now begins the long wait.

Nothing more to say about it until November.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


The bar exam starts in a couple of hours. Hopefully I can get through the three days of testing without incident.

See you on the other side.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Linguistic Delusions

Sometimes when I stare long enough at text in German I think I can make it out. This is pretty silly, as aside from a few terms gleamed from too many hours of the History Channel, I know next to nothing about it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

But football in the groin had a football in the groin

I am a big fan of the Simpsons, particularly their earlier (i.e., pre-10) seasons. So it is with apprehension that I must conclude, on the basis of the trailers I have seen so far, that the movie might suck.

Of course, nothing in any of the scenes have any real overt cause for concern. If not spectacular, the trailers have offered at least the promise of genuine amusement (and I personally like the Spiderpig stuff). But then again, that's the problem.

It has become almost a truism in American cinema that the trailers represent, if not perhaps the best, at least the most alluring parts of an upcoming film. It is a theatrical offering meant to entice, for the thirty seconds they have your attention, so that you will have no choice but to see the rest of the movie. And unfortunately, none of the scenes so far have inspired me to such unreasoning devotion.

Naturally I intend to see the movie, and I do not want to go in there with a negative mindset. However, it would be fair to say that at this point I am concerned.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A lot of homeless fleas

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A few months ago my cat Tiamat died. I wasn't blogging at the time, so I didn't get around to writing a post about it. I guess now that I'm sort of back, I should take the time to gloat.

For fifteen years this cat and I had been locked in an interminable struggle. She was mean, violent, and completely unpredictable. Among her many weapons were sharp claws, vicious teeth, and an inexhaustible supply of allergy-inducing fur. These she deployed without regard for humanitarian concerns or the laws of land warfare.

Secure, as I now am, in my ultimate victory I can admit that Tiamat was a worthy adversary. I hope she is getting to fulfill all her aggressive tendencies in kitty hell.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Study shows man self-absorbed, mercurial, and filled with useless trivia

Having recently updated my blog template, I took the opportunity to use the new post labels (new may be relative, they are new to me, at any rate). It appears I mostly write about myself, a fact that should come as no surprise to anybody.

My second favorite topic is "miscellaneous", which in addition to being hard to spell, is just another expression of my characteristic laziness. I didn't want to make 30 different topics with one post, so I just threw them in the same category. Then later when I noticed that I could actually have made a few genuine, substantive labels, sloth prevented the necessary corrections.

Finally, my "monthly" Pointless Factoids come in third. At eighteen I only actually have one for roughly every other month, but even had I been more dilligent, the entire category would only have come in second.

My least favorite topics? Religion, writing, and women. Not quite sure what that says about me.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

My Preciousss

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Cool huh? That's the Canon XH A1 and it's mine! Or at least it will be when the good people at FedEx bring it to me. Ideally I'd have wanted the Panasonic HVX-200, but the price difference was just too substantial. It's a little painful to give up that clear Panasonic color, but c'est la vie.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pointless Factoid XVIII

In a survey of movie aficionados, 100% of respondents agreed that Mr. Miyagi would defeat Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Crunch Time

Two weeks until the bar exam. Fun.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people

I have avoided for some time a clear declaration of my position concerning the Iraq war. Partially this oversight was due to mere neglect. But even when I am able to master my lazier proclivities and actually post to my blog I try as best I can to steer clear of political issues.

My Independence Day posts have traditionally been exceptions to this rule. Maybe the fourth inspires in me a certain sense of civic devotion. Or maybe it's just coincidence. Either way, the time seems propitious for a brief critique on the current conflict.

I should begin with the absolute statement that I oppose, as a matter of principle both war as an abstract concept and war as reduced to practice. This opposition is moral and absolute; it does not waiver based on the justification, or yield to the consequences of inaction. War is wrong, nothing can make it right.

Unfortunately I can take little solace from this absolute pacifism. My intellect demands from my conscious a system of belief based on necessity, notwithstanding morality. Thus while I believe war is always wrong, I accept that there are instances where the application of violence is necessary, and perhaps even the better choice to inaction (especially where it opposes a greater evil). This necessity should not be seen to justify the original sin, or absolve those who fall under it's shadow. Rather, it is a recognition of the fact that reality often provides us with a range of options, all of which are bad.

From such a preamble, it should come as no surprise that the current war does not find favor with me. I have become increasingly troubled at the mounting evidence tending to show that we were misled into this conflict by a narror clique of fanatical jingonists. Although I am willing to give a president the benefit of the doubt when he claims we are in danger, and while mere error alone does not abrogate this presumption of honesty, I think it clear we deal now with a situation of more sinister proportions.

I have heard it said, on television and radio, or seen it written that why and how we went to war is now irrelevant. That we should focus on the task at hand, and not dwell on the past. I believe this is a shortsighted and unhealthy position, born largely from the desire to avoid culpability, along with fear of its consequences. We need and deserve a full accounting from the people who brought us here, which is sadly something we will not have for many years, if ever.

Despite my distaste for war, and my suspicion regarding its architects, I unfortunately differ from many of my more respected associates (and a good number of the American public) in opposing troop withdrawal. This position stems largely from the fact that I believe we, as a country, assumed a moral debt when we went in in the first place. Right wing pundits may glibly assert that conditions now are better than they were under Saddam (a "fact" unknown to me, but assumed to be true anyway for the sake of argument), but that is irrelevant. We have broken their country. It is up to us to repair it.

Far from withdrawing, I believe the best course of action would be a massive increase in military, administrative, and financial efforts to secure the mideast. There should be a draft, and a Marshall Plan, and everywhere the evidence of a total dedication to restoring security in Iraq and providing the region with the security it needs to decide its own destiny. I believe we owe the Iraqi people nothing less.

However, the impossibility of such a resolution is patently clear. If we are unwilling, then, to do the job and make up for our own mistakes, then I believe the best option is to withdraw as fast as possible, to save as many lives as possible, and to do our best to influence the outcome with purely diplomatic and economic assets.

The president is correct when he stresses the importance of Iraq. That it is a mess he made himself will not save us from the consequences of failure. I think those consequences, both for us and for the region are so troubling as to demand a national effort of the kind employed against Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan. But if we are ultimately to fail, we should do so as fast and cheaply as possible.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Take Five

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(pictured: crew person Usi Ambrosio hard at work)

So we finished shooting earlier this week. The film has been sent off to be developed and telecined, after which we officially enter post production. A little editing and then a lot of sound dubbing (because unfortunately, Super 8mm is a silent medium) and it'll be done.

Keeping in mind the danger that the novelty of the experience may, at this point, have an inappropriately large influence I nonetheless feel like I may have finally found my creative outlet in film making. I have tried writing, afflicted both canvas and paper with an array of incoherent images, and even dabbled with musical instruments. But none of these pursuits, worthy though they undoubtedly are, have required the same commitment, nor left me with the same sense of satisfaction.

I hold no delusions as to my talent or current ability. After all, rare is the hobby (or, I suppose, the practitioner) that provides mastery to the novice. What's more, movies are even more complicated to make than it might seem. My little film, with all it may disclaim any artistic or theatric merit, has been an enterprise of staggering proportions (though admittedly, my own poor organizational skills no doubt contributed to it).

Only time will tell if I am able to continue exploring film making. At this point I certainly intend to, but the circumstances of life being what they are, it isn't clear if I'll really have the opportunity. In some ways I think that realization was always in the back of my mind, and it instilled in me a bit more ambition than was perhaps prudent in an introductory exercise. Still, there is little to be lost by aiming high, especially if you don't expect to succeed no matter where your goals are.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Love, and the soft glow of tungsten

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(pictued: Annie Kim (bride), Simon Timony (sort-of groom), Rai Fierra (director of photography) and Robert (Rai's friend and assistant, didn't get the last name))

The picture above is a production still from my film. This last weekend was our second and third days of shooting, Saturday and Sunday respectively. We shot the wedding scene at St. Mark's Lutheran Church on Saturday, the subject of which the aforementioned photograph adequately portrays. I myself am not in the image, partly due to the fact that I am somewhat less photogenic than a traffic accident, but mostly because (as any good director is likely to do) I was off somewhere else bossing people around.

On Sunday we went on to shoot at Maggie Mudds, the Presidio (courtesy of Uncle Sam), and the Bernal Heights Neighboorhood Center. There are likely pictures of those shoots somewhere too, but I don't have one on me right now. However, all the photos we do currently have can be seen here.

We have one more shoot on Tuesday, the 19th, afterwhich it is my fond hope that we can enter post-production. I would not want to give the impression that I have not enjoyed making the film, but it has been a tiring and relatively expensive venture. On the whole I am largely satisfied with the way things have gone, but unfortunately I have had several times to compromise my aesthetic to conform to the realities of our my present capabilities.

I should not close the subject without mentioning the cast and crew. I will, or at least at this moment I so intend to, describe them in more detail in another post. All I want to say now is that none of this would have been possible without their tireless and (usually) cheerful and skilled efforts.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


How much effort can it really take to code Blogger to alter the word "comments" based on the number of comments such that the phrase is grammatically correct? When I see something like "1 comments", it just makes me shake my head.

Yes it's a little thing, but being so insignificant one would expect the fix to be simple. These kinds of errors are seen in many different fields, and it betrays a level of quality control that boggles the mind.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

That was no gentleman, that was a doctor

Today I received my Juris Doctorate from Santa Clara University. Although I was unaware of it, apparently this degree entitles me to the appellation of "doctor". Personally, this sounds suspiciously like a case of lawyers simply pumping their own stats, but who am I to stand in the way of protocol?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

The death of a human being is not something to be taken lightly. Even when the person represents all those qualities which I personally feel hateful and destructive, to exalt in the end of a life represents a degree of reprehensible callousness I would rather not assume. Accordingly, it is with some sympathy, grudging and forced though it may be, that I note the death of Jerry Falwell.

Reluctant though I may be, however, to be seen greeting this news with joy, I cannot help but note that our country has lost in the good reverend an implacable foe. This was a minister whose religion of universal compassion was still not broad enough to encompass those who live and love in manners different from himself. This was a servant of the Prince of Peace who advocated with flippancy and arrogance killing and war. This was a man who created and fostered division in the interest of political power. We are better off without him.

I do not know where Mr. Falwell is now. But if he has been called before his god, I hope that divinity proves more accepting and forgiving than he himself had been.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Coming Attractions

At the start of the year I joined Scary Cow, and indepedent film co-operative in the SF bay area. Pretty much everyone involved is interested in film making enough to sacrifice their free time for it, but hardly any of the members do this professionally. This arrangement has its ups and downs. You don't really get particularly polished products, but everyone gets a chance to contribute and you learn by doing, which is always more entertaining than watching or reading.

A little less than a month ago we had our project meeting, which is where people interested in producing a film pitch their idea and try to gather people to their banner. I was one of twenty-one other aspiring producers, and as our entire organization counts rought sixty members, competition for personnel was fierce. In the end, though, I managed to trick enough people into doing what I say to allow at least the attempt to be made.

On Friday we are holding auditions for the remaining cast spots. A few posts on Craigslist and other community boards generated a lot of replies, and I've recieved enough confirmations to where I'm feeling pretty good about finding the right people. Of course, it remains to be seen if any of these people actually do show.

The auditions aside, everything else is pretty well set. I've written the script, we have a cinematographer, some audio people (still need to determine which gear to rent though), and even crew. Not really sure how this will turn out, but I'm looking forward to shooting in the next few weeks.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Kanninen to right of them, Kanninen to left of them, Kanninen in front of them

Although Matt has already so announced in the comments to the last post, I figured an impending addition to the great mass of humanity is sufficient cause to restat posting to this stupid blog. Plus, one should never pass up an opportunity to paraphrase Tennyson.