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September 23, 2006

Crossing the Hoan Bridge

Approaching the Hoan

Since we live in Bayview, we end up using the Hoan Bridge quite a bit. It is a cool bridge that has a lot more history than i realized. I had always recalled hearing the Hoan called "The Bridge to Nowhere" (immediately causing the Talking Heads song "Road To Nowhere" to nestle into my brain), but i didn't really know the full story. While searching around for the proper spelling of the Hoan (Hohne? Hohn? Hone?) i came across a more elaborate history of the Hoan Bridge at the Wisconsin Highways web site. Pretty neat stuff. I had always thought that the bridge was only completed in the 21st century, but I was wrong. A section collapsed and was brought down for repairs in late 2000. Crazy!

Lake Michigan from 794 on the Hoan Bridge

I snapped these two shots off the bridge on a recent trip to the park with the girls. Ya gotta love the Holga + really old neg film + brilliant blue + good scanner combination.

December 26, 2005

excellent set of polaroids for every day in 2001

Marcel Molina Jr is a core developer for Ruby on Rails and contributes to the entertaining (if perl and python dissing) Project.ioni.st Tumblelog (what the hell is a "tumblelog?" It seems like a blog, but with a different name and one of those clever URLs. Oh, and it seems very stream of consciousness and has many contributors.). I was checking out the profiles of the other contributors to Project.ioni.st and wandered over to his site. One section on the site has a polaroid for (nearly?) every day of 2001. I am a big fan of self-indulgent photography, so i spent a while this evening browsing through this set. There is some good stuff here. Do yourself a favor and go check them out.

Marcel Molina Polaroid

Also, to prove that i love self-indulgent polaroids, here is one of my own: One of my own self-indulgent polaroids

Totally mope-tastic.

December 3, 2005

Snowy park on Damen


Snowy park on Damen
Originally uploaded by plural.


October 14, 2005

Comcast, stop being such a scaredy-cat

Tracey and I love the shows on HBO. I don't really watch much on tv past what is on basic cable, so we tried to get the ala carte HBO from comcast. Sounds good, right? Not so fast.

Apparently, Comcast has moved HBO only to digital cable. Let's examine this equation. Traditional cable is the scary wild west, where paying customers can copy content by simply connecting cables between devices. Digital cable is a brave new world, where normal cable controls don't apply. By switching hardware, the provider can control what you can and can't see even more than they could before.

So. We ordered the service, and the comcast rep was not very clear with us. When i came home today after the comcast installer was out, i found that he had completely bypassed my tivo. I realize now that this is because the box they gave us was a digital cable box where the RF will simply not work with my tivo. He didn't even say, "I am not connecting this to your tivo because it won't work with this." He just skipped it and left cables draping across the front of our tv shelf. I do NOT want to use the IR blaster crap with the tivo just for HBO.

So. I asked for a single channel and what i get is: a half hour wasted connecting my tivo and troubleshooting, followed by a 20 minute phone conversation where i needed to spend 15 of those minutes justifying to the rep why i felt my installation fee (only $16) should be refunded.

I have used comcast for my internet for 4 and a half years and love it. I have had virtually no problems. We ditched our directv so we could use a real series 2 tivo with basic cable and we suddenly have to fight with them to get straight answers and simple things like, "A channel."

Comcast: Stop being afraid of your customers. I pay your bills. The least you can do is sell what i want, not what you want me to want.

Now, if you will pardon me, i am off to find a torrent of last week's curb your enthusiasm. Thanks comcast!

August 13, 2005

Photo Experimentation Ideas

I picked up a new Manfrotto head for my first tripod. Why did i need a new head you might ask? Well, freshman year of college i knocked it over, twice, snapping off the handles. This did not mean that I stopped using the tripod. Heavens no! I just suffered as the jagged shards of plastic that used to be my handles tore up my hands while adjusting shot setup.

At the moment I am also drooling over the lensbaby. Only minutes after browsing through the lensbaby site i found this thread in the Canon DSLR user group from flickr on Body Cap Pinhole photographs. I do have a teeeeeny-tiiiiny drill bit and a body cap, so woohoo! Let's give it a shot! I will post my results when I have them.

June 19, 2005

color correction before and after

This is the before and after look for the image i was using to test out the curves correction tools in photoshop......

Before:

back-yard-blue-sky-orig.jpg

After:

back-yard-blue-sky-corr-sma.jpg

April 7, 2005

something old, something new

even though i splurged and picked up an amazing canon eos 20d, i have been shooting more and more with one of the more odd cameras in my collection, my franka 6x9. I picked up this camera several years ago for $5 at a garage sale in rockford. I was delighted to find that it took proper 120 film instead of 127 or 620.

I have posted a couple pictures with it on my flickr page, plus expanded the global franka tag.

It has done me some good to switch between old and new tech. clears the palate.

March 19, 2005

randolph and wacker downtown

Shot this on my way to the office thursday morning........

randolph and wacker.jpg

February 5, 2005

Neil Gaiman Interview about MirrorMask on Twitch

I don't need to say that I am excited about MirrorMask, but I will anyway.

You can read more about it in an interview with Neil Gaiman from twithcfilm.net

[twitchfilm.net]

January 24, 2005

Rock for the Hungry, Milwaukee WI

Juliana and I are participating in a benefit show that Greg Stefke of Chariots Race has put together for the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee.

Rock for the Hungry

To benefit the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee

Saturday, Feb.12 @ Mad Planet, 533 E Center St, Milwaukee, WI

If anyone has links for the other artists, let me know and I will update this.

Featured Artists: * Carmen Benske * Too Much Metal For One Hand * Andre St. Louis * John-Luke Fredricks * Bruce Pattison * Jason Gessner * Juliana Gessner * Madilyn Larsh

All-ages Show: Door 3:30 / Show 4:00 * 4:00 Mandates * 4:45 Modern Machines * 5:30 The Mustníts * 6:15 Chariots Race * 7:00 Haymarket Riot * 7:45 Call Me Lightning

Drinking Show: Door 9:00 / Show 9:30 * 9:30 Supervillains * 10:15 The Black Hats * 11:00 The Mustníts * 11:45 Davey Von Bohlen (from the Promise Ring) * 12:30 Chariots Race * 1:15 Haymarket Riot

October 18, 2004

Here W comes to save the day!!!

My buddy Dave Scott just finished up a really funny animation of George W. Bush and his crew singing an old cartoon theme song. Great stuff. :)

Here W comes to save the day!!!
You can snag Quicktime files of the video right here: NOTE: I have used 80GB of bandwidth for this so far, so let's spread the love. If anyone wants to host a mirror of this file, leave me a comment or email me and let me know. Otherwise, please use the excellent BitTorrent to snag the clips. And thanks to everyone who has seen the video so far and passed it along!!!
Medium Quicktime File (~6MB) via BitTorrent
Large Quicktime File (~16MB) via BitTorrent

Here is the first mirror for these files. To anyone that digs this movie, please let me know if you can provide any mirror space. Thanks!

Medium Quicktime File (~6MB)
Large Quicktime File (~16MB)

August 15, 2004

Gotham Invasion!

The Batman Begins production crew is doing some shooting in downtown Chicago, and on my way to work, I passed by a parking lot holding some vehicles for Gotham's Finest.

GPD SUV

GPD SWAT

GPD

GPD

May 14, 2004

"lamb" on Image Union

Chicago's PBS station, WTTW, Channel 11, has one of the nation's longest running video and independent film programs, Image Union. I haven't gotten into the habit of watching it, but the start of tonight's program was too good not to comment on.

"Lamb," by Emma Freeman, is a story about a down on his luck farmer in rural Australia with a young, blind son. The film is only 7 minutes long so I don't want to go into details, but the film is dark and hopeful and manages to squeeze pathos and genuine fatherly love into a short, short film.

Atom films online has this short categorized as "Dark Comedy" which i find a little off, but I could see this as funny if it wasn't made so earnestly.

View "Lamb" at Atom Films

March 28, 2004

the matrix revolutions

The Matrix: Revolutions was definitely better than The Matrix: Reloaded, but still not a great movie. It seems to me that the Wachowski brothers had a neat idea for a really cool movie about guns and chicks in leather. And then people started reading in to it. I have to admit, "The Matrix" is a terribly endearing metaphor for daily life. Reloaded and Revolutions at times pummel us with overwraught indirectness. The oracle's dialog, especially gets to be a bit grating because you know that what she says will be repeated back to her. And then to another character. And then to another.
The religous symbolism is played down a bit in Revolutions, but the christ-like image of Neo sacrificing himself at the end is fairly obvious. The lack of underground cave-raves was defintely a big plus for Revolutions, though.
The opening up, creatively and conceptually, that happened with The Animatrix, was probably the best thing for the Matrix storyline. Giving another group of talented authors the opportunity to riff on this idea, that we are slaves in a reality that we are blind to, presented a really solid set of great speculative fiction. I think that set may have done more to keep me interested in the concept than either of the last two films, but there is something there.
When i think about it long enough, my main thoughts about the films can be summed up with a simple question. If you can alter the fabric of "reality," why can't you come up with a more creative solution than leather and guns?
These thoughts are fairly scattered, but I think the films as a set are pretty interesting. Like many interesting things, though, it is not the thing itself that may necessarily be sparking such interest. It may be the latent kernel of an idea that is resonating with people. Or people may like guns and leather. I figure it is a toss-up.

January 18, 2004

movie bonanza

Since Ava has been with us, i have been watching more movies. Seems weird. Baby = more movies. She likes to sleep on my chest though, and it is hard to program with a 1 month old occupying your left arm. So i fire up the tivo and see what goodness awaits.
This is a partial list:


  • The Big Heat, by Fritz Lang

  • Before Sunrise, by Richard Linklater

  • Tape, by Richard Linklater

  • Wave Twisters, by DJ QBert & ????

  • The Hidden Fortress, by Akira Kurosawa

  • Sanjuro, by Akira Kurosawa

  • Rhapsody In August, by Akira Kurosawa

  • Dial M For Murder, by Alfred Hitchcock

  • The Birds, by Alfred Hitchcock

  • Spirits of the Dead, by Roger Vadim, Louis Malle & Federico Fellini

  • No Such Thing, by Hal Hartley

  • Hype!, by Doug Pray

  • Night On Earth, by Jim Jarmusch

  • Stranger Than Paradise, by Jim Jarmusch

More to come...

December 14, 2003

where is La Dolce Vita?

I have been waiting to see this film for years, but it looks like I am either going to break down and buy a VHS copy (40-90 bucks) or just rent it from facets on icky VHS. Feh. I have been incredibly impressed with the volume of Fellini releases on DVD so far (La Strada, Juliet of the Spirits, 8 1/2, Nights of Cabiria).

But then I read this article from the New York Times, Sunday, December 14, 2003:


Sometimes, ownership is in dispute. Last February, a new video company, Koch-Lorber, announced that one of its first DVD's would be "La Dolce Vita" by Fellini. The company had bought the rights from a small company called International Media Films, which claimed it owned the movie.

But Paramount Pictures claims that it owns "La Dolce Vita." A legal battle is brewing. Koch-Lorber's DVD has been delayed. Paramount, meanwhile, is reportedly preparing its own DVD.

November 15, 2003

RESFEST LinkDump

RESFEST was simply amazing (again).

I will be updating this page with as many links to the content I saw at the show as I can. If anyone knows where I can get "Japanese Tradition: Relationships" I will be forever thankful. :)

Michel Gondry info and videos.
The Other Final: A story about a match between FIFA's 2 worst soccer teams. Great. Review 1
Mulit - an Absolut sponsored Bollywood parody. This thing is great. If not for the unfindable "Japanese Tradition: Relationships," Mulit would have been my vote for best film of that program.

I'll see what else I can dig up shortly.

November 11, 2003

RESFEST was excellent

I was glad to have RESFEST back in Chicago after a hiatus last year. The programs were all well attended so hopefully they will be back again next year.

I am going to try to dig up some links to movies/director/music info for you all and have a blow-by-blow of the fest. My laptop battery was not cooperating with me this weekend, so these posts are coming post-fest.

November 7, 2003

RESFEST

ResFest opens in Chicago tonight and I will be posting as I can scam wifi (thank you Apple Store!).

Nice to get out and about....

October 9, 2003

new coen bros film!

Just got back from a free preview showing (thanks wired!) of the new Coen Bros. flick Intolerable Cruelty. Short review: funny. Very, Very Funny. Clooney is slick, Catherine Zeta Jones plays a pretty gold digger. Eh. She fits the roll, so she is fine. Cedric the entertainer has a funny catch phrase.
Joel and Ethan are talented guys. My DVD shelf has many of their films. Despite my detest for Catherine Zeta-Jones, i had to see this movie.

September 29, 2003

Damn you, HBO!

Just when I thought sunday nights were safe. Sex and the City has finished, the Sopranos are nowhere to be found and Six Feet Under is done for the wants to control me. I watched 3 hours of Carnivale last night (thank you, Tivo!!!). The story is nice, with a good mix of surreal and gritty realism.

September 21, 2003

schadenfreude!!!

tracey and I went to see schadenfreude last night at Arlington Height's newish Metropolis Performing Arts Center. The sketch comedy show is a recent addition to our local public radio station WBEZ's sunday night lineup.
I had heard about the show through radio spots, but on sunday nights my heart (and eyeballs) are generally with HBO. Well, that will probably not change from seeing the show, but I will at least set my mac to record the stream of the show down from the internet. ;)
Our friend Shiow works on the show as sometimes-director, editor, jack of all trades, and she invited us to see the live show. Having not seen any on-stage comedy since the last time we went to the Neo-Futurarium to see Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind, i didn't know what to expect. I take that back. I expected more political jokes for some reason. No matter, the material was hilarious, starting right out with a sketch where the 3 characters are all acting crazy, dressed crazily and completely silent. Then they launch into a tirade about what a stupid idea it is to do a visual bit for the radio. ;)
Anyway, check out some of the streams from WBEZ to listen in for your self. Funny, funny stuff.

September 19, 2003

human clock

Jeff came over to help me move the appliances before the tile guys came over. While here, he showed me The Human Clock. His friend Niles (featured at the bottom of that page with a lovely girl in a red dress) showed him the site. Anyway, they have a photo for each minute of the day (multiple photos for many times). Load it up, pick your timezone and you are good to go!

September 13, 2003

matchstick men

bill, tracey and I went to see Matchstick Men (salon review, ebert review) last night. It was not great, primarily due to the ending, but it had a great performance by Nicolas Cage (who I loved in Adaptation, as well). The movie reminded me of Peter Bogdonavich's Paper Moon, but it had less heart. The ending assumes the audience is too dumb to realize what just happened over the last 2 hours.

August 11, 2003

project greenlight is some funny stuff

I always had an idea about how much of a clusterfuck making a feature film really is, but HBO's project greenlight solidified it for me. Take some amateur/independent filmmakers, give them a million dollars, and tell them that they have to produce a sellable feature film in a really short period of time.
check out their site for more details, I won't rehash the concept here.
The production of The Battle of Shaker Heights seems troubled, if you watch the show. The movie also seems overly dramatic and cheesy at times. Last night, they showed a conference call with the Miramx marketing department that re-arranged the direction of the editing. The text from the marketing pitch sounds just like the trailer for the movie that is showing now. The trailer looks really, really funny, too. I am shocked. The humor seems to be going for a sort of Rushmore quirkiness.
The decision by commitee, the sheer amount of people needed to execute anything, makes me wonder why people go to all that trouble.
But then I watch a movie and I remember why. I love DV filmmaking, but seeing a magnificent film is like seeing nothing else. Not that the project greenlight film is magnificent, i'm just saying. I can understand why people go through all of this mess to make films.

August 4, 2003

Bill Plympton's Mutant Aliens

If you have never seen anything by Bill Plympton, that is sad. Unless you are easily offended. In which case it is a blessing.
Yesterday, I watched his Mutant Aliens. Ya gotta love a movie where the protagonist is forced to make an army of mutants in space to reap revenge on his evil boss..by having sex with discarded nasa space animals. Ah........nothing but class.
Plympton is working on a new animated feature called Hair High. There is a webcam on his drawing board, too!
I Married a Strange Person is great, too, with lots of funny songs and lewd jokes.

28 days later

i headed to the beautiful machesney park mall to see 28 Days Later. Actually, the machesney park mall is not particularly beautiful, but we did have some time to play marvel vs. capcom in the abandoned arcade. bill is good at fighting games. Me, not so much. He beat me with a controller that didn't quite work. That means I suck.
But, speaking of things that don't suck, Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later was much better than I expected. I had only heard one review (from Fresh Air on NPR - {archived show}) that said it had a little extra. That was definitely true. The gore was much less than I thought, and the horror came more from the humans in the movie than the zombies.
The first 6 minutes of the movie are up on apple's trailer site.
The DV look of the film is much better in the darker scenes than in the bright scenes as far as edges and detail goes, but the color of the film is a great mix of dark, bland, and bright light.
The alternate ending that was shown was ok, but didn't seem to keep up with some of the themes in the movie, but it was neat to see a DVD-ish feature in the theater. Well, maybe not neat, but interesting.

July 29, 2003

gary winick's TADPOLE

After seeing Gary Winick's Sam the Man at Resfest in 2000, his Tadpole kept nagging me to see it when I started hearing about it last year. I am, however, chronologically spastic with my movie choices, so i just got around to watching it tonight (thanks, Tivo!).

Anyway, Sam the Man was a funny urban romantic comedy that was very well shot. Tadpole was very much like that, but with much more heart (or liver) to it. Oscar, the part-French, 15 year old progranist quotes voltaire, complains that girls at his school have not lived enough for him and is generally seen as ahead of his time. Oh, and he is madly in love with his stepmother, Eve, but ends up having drunken sex with her best friend, Diane. A young girl remarks to him early in the movie that he is "a 40 year old trapped in a 15 year old's body." That is enough about the plot.

The story is loaded with humor, none of it coming from John Ritter. Ever since the "Ted" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I have yearned to see more of John Ritter. Just kidding. That episode was horrible, but he is a great asset to this movie. Sigourney Weaver as Eve and Bebe Neuwirth as Diane are both great, as is the young Aaron Stanford. There is charm and wit to spare in this movie, despite the ending being fairly predictable as it nears.

Winick's indigent (independent digital entertainment) production company has really helped spur on more and more interest in digital filmmaking (not the george lucas kind). Blah blah blah. Digital filmmaking is here to stay. End of story. The film has the feel of 16mm film, but more importantly a solid look that fits well with the story.

Also, indigent is releasing the directorial debut from the writer of What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, called Pieces Of April sometime soon. Not sure when soon is, but it should be interesting.

July 26, 2003

angel season one - not as bad as I remembered

tracey and I started watching Angel - Season One last night. It was not nearly as bad as I remembered. The trademark Joss Whedon humor is intact and the episodes are shot really well. I still don't like the Kate character (tough girl cop, with father/trust issues). The actress that played that role was pretty flat. Although the rest of the Angel gang doesn't file in until season 2 (Wesley's rogue demon hunter is classic), the set is pretty nice.

Oh. Note to fox. Label the DVDs so we can find out which episodes have commentary WITHOUT putting each one in the player and going to EACH AND EVERY STINKIN MENU!!!! The Buffy dvd sets are like that as well. The commentaries on the shows are great, so why make them that hard to find?

July 23, 2003

movies

hmm.

thoughts to come on "Gangs of New York," "The Pianist," "Terminator 3" and "Adaptation."

Short reviews: great, great, ok, funny

June 25, 2003

punch drunk love

I saw this movie right after seeing a digital projection of Spirited Away at McClurg in Chicago. The movie itself is fabulous, but the projection and its dust and scratches really, really bothered me.
Anyway. That was months ago. Yesterday, tracey brought the new 2-disc DVD set home for me as a gift. Yay me. :) Combine that with my new laptop and I am a fairly happy guy. The DVD looks fabulous on the Wega. Mmmmmmm. I love the size of a movie screen, but few screens around here treat movies as they need to be treated. My wega on the other hand looks fabulous and I don't have to leave the house.
Anyway.....
The bonus materials disc is kinda thin (a fake commercial, 1 long form and 12 short form music videos or vignettes ["Scopitones"] and more artwork) but the film itself is worth getting the DVD.
I just now also got around to looking into who did the wonderful art for the movie. Jeremy Blake. Amazing digital animation and video work. This site is kinda hideous but has some good info. I will try to dig up more links later.
More Jeremy Blake Links:
Digital Utopia by Elisabeth Kley, from ArtNet.com

March 24, 2003

must...consume

i have been ingesting a lot lately:

Valis
The Divine Invasion
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer

Combine that with some truly excellent episodes of Six Feet Under and my brain is swimming.
More on the Philip K. Dick work will be coming soon, as this is one of the few works dealing with serious Christian thought that is not a preachy diatribe or a rally against its oppression. Well, they are that and great fiction.