Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

From this morning:

Scott E.: Thank you. How may I assist you?
Seth B.: I'd like to cancel my efax account.
Scott E.: I'm sorry to hear that you wish to cancel your fax account. Please give me a moment while I quickly check your account in our records. In the meanwhile, may I ask why you are canceling your fax account?
Seth B.: I'm now the owner of an actual fax machine, so I no longer need the service.
Scott E.: We do understand that you currently do not use the service because you will be using a fax machine. However, you can use it in tandem with your fax machine, for sending and receiving faxes in times of emergency or if there are any problems with your fax machine.
Scott E.: Since you are one of our valued customers, in the current situation as a special consideration, we will provide you with an exclusive offer and we will, reduce the monthly fee from $12.95 per to $4.95. This will help you to send and receive faxes using your local fax number.
Seth B.: Thank you, but I'll pass.
Scott E.: I have checked your account in our records and have found that you have signed up for the eFax service on 11/15/2004, wherein the first 30 days there is no monthly fee charged($12.95), plus the one time activation fee of $12.95 has also been waived off. You can always get back to us at the end of your trial period, if you still then do not find much use for this account. I suggest that you do give our service a shot. It could prove to be useful to you.
Scott E.: You already have a gift credit balance of $3.90 which means you can send up to 39 fax pages free of cost. As a goodwill gesture to continue our association I will offer you an additional gift balance of $5.00 which will enable to send up to 50 additional fax pages free of cost. This means you can send up to 89 fax pages free of cost.
Seth B.: No thank you, please cancel.
Scott E.: Seth, you can at least use this service till the end of the 30 day free trial period. After completion of the trial period, if you feel that the fax number does not serve your purpose, you can get back to us immediately without any further obligation to stay back. We are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Please feel free to contact us at any time.
Scott E.: We respect your decision to cancel your account now. As you wish, I will cancel your account now.
Seth B.: Thanks, Scott!

Sunday, November 28, 2004


I'm reminded of a Goddard French TV special where he showed a potato farmer - farming potatoes - in one continuous, 20 minute, low-grade video shot. I saw this in my senior film seminar in college and was completely fading out in the classroom during a Sunday screening when the screen went black and text - which I'm paraphrasing here - flashed, saying: YOU'RE BORED, AREN'T YOU? WELL, THIS POTATO FARMER IS REAL. AND YOU ARE JUST BORED OF HIM BECAUSE YOU ARE SPOILED BY BIG MOVIES. YOU SHOULD APPRECIATE REAL LIFE. The potato farmer returned to the screen, oblivious to the interruption imposed by Goddard.


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Digital November Hibernation

First of all, let me express my profound admiration for the chemists who synthesized Diet Coke with Lime. I generally hate diet soft drinks, but I can't get enough of this stuff. It's worth even the 30 seconds of chemical-induced dementia it seems to induce post-ingestion.

I've been lax about posting, mostly due to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and the new crop of basketball videogames. Gaming is a hobby I try and keep under control, but the torrent of excellent November releases is now a yearly tradition that beats me into submission. I hole up. Can't be helped.

Being generally unemployed has at least allowed me to mitigate my game-playing with large chunks of creative activity. I'm making good progress with my home recordings, and am working on a comic project with Will Carlough (see sidebar links) that will catapult us to fame and pastrami sandwiches. We are like Siegel and Schuster, sketching on pieces of wallpaper in a drafty tenement, only we have ipods, wacom tablets, and central heating.

I'm now signed up with three temp agencies and one catering company, so my free time may not be so free from here on in. Pray for me. I don't like elevators, or offices above the 20th floor. I'm writing to you today from an assignment on the 16th floor. Phew! Close one.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Grief + Regret + Suicide = Funny!

A ways back I mentioned a movie which Will wrote (in less than 3 hours), I directed (with a sleep-deprived mushbrain and TONS of support from Pete Fonda and Ian Savage) and many fine people (Hannah Bos, Benjamin Ellis Fine, Celeste Balducci, Paul Thureen, Diana Little, Sydney Maresca, Kayla Graffam) created for the NYC Midnight 2004 24 Hour Filmmaking contest. It took the grand prize amidst many other excellent films and certainly galvanized our blossoming filmmaking company. What's next? Another short? A feature? Many features? Rehab? We're working on it.

Till then, please jump on over to Will's website and take a look at Welcome Back.

In A Word

Here are my one-word descriptions of movies I've seen recently

Sideways: Intelligunny
Friday Night Lights: Loudokay
Birth: Prettyawn
I Heart Huckabees: AmbitiOKusLetdown.
Undertow: KidfromBillyElliotirty
The Incredibles: Humdinger

I'm looking forward to seeing Primer but damn if it isn't hard to blow 10 bucks on a movie that doesn't crack the 80-minute mark. Not since Inspector Gadget eliminated its entire second act to save time for the viewer have I been this outraged at the money to minutes ratio of theatergoing. Seth tells me some theaters in LA charge a crisp 14 dollars. This may include Shiatsu massage but I still find it a little over the top. Imagine paying 14 buckaroos to see a movie like Hook or better yet, a movie like The Clearing (Redford/Dafoe). Hook was so embarrassingly bad you felt like you were witness to cinematic history. A movie like The Clearing is so completely 'Whatever,' the ten bucks acts more like a donation to the theater. Other than your brain receiving some needed downtime, you effectively gained nothing for the money spent on a ticket. You paid to give up two hours. At this stage, 14 dollars is a lot to risk on a fleeting movie.

That being said, I most often just like being in the theater seeing any ole movie. When the price rises above 10 bucks, however, it forces me to be more selective. Yes, you avoid big-budget nothings but sadly, you hold off on the little ones like Primer (where I hear they put a time machine IN another time machine!!!) until they just disappear.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Holler at your blogs, your public radio, your network TV, your partisan newspapers, your educational guesses. Information is flying, literally crackling over all these mediums today - election day. I close my browser window and immediately re-open it, thinking that a blog may have been refreshed with a new report from a battleground state or statistical update. Inundated with anecdotes of long voting lines and challengers in Ohio not actually causing problems, I am feeling twitchy, wonderfully twitchy at the amount of electronic stimulation available. It's amazing how different it feels from 2000. Sure, a lot's happened since then. A LOT. Too much. But it's heartening to see that at least one of the big results of four chaotic years is the ability to gorge yourself on opinion and conclusion. A lot of it is chaff. Much of it is not. Good things happen when everyone knows the facts, when it is literally hip to be informed. I find myself in political conversations, trying to impress people with how much I know about current politics (not much in truth). I don't often succeed. But I think a lot of people want to flex fact muscles and that is a good thing. Knowing is now something like 63% of the battle.