Monthly Archives: March 2006

Coffee And Bagels

Two things. One, coffee. Coffee should never be served in a glass. What is this ridiculousness that permeates far too many coffee shops around these parts? Hot liquid in glass. Gosh, doesn’t it look trendy? Complete cobblers. It makes the glass hot, you burn your fingers and it doesn’t keep the coffee warm. Coffee should be served, at best, in a proper mug, otherwise in an insulated container. Glasses are for wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks. Tea? Don’t even go there.

Second thing, bagels. What’s the point? Big lump of chewy dough with a hole in the middle. There is no point. If I want a sandwich, I want proper bread or a bread roll. If I want a cakey thing with my coffee, I’ll eat a cakey thing. Preferably with a lot of sugar and chocolate therein. I don’t want something that’s going to sink to the bottom of my stomach and sit there like jurassic clay. The stuff they make bagels with would be better used to make coffee mugs, if you ask me. Mould it, bake it, just don’t expect me to eat it.

Thirdly, I appear to have started going to coffee shops. And ranting about it. I’m beyond hope.

Behind The Curtain

Today I receive an email from an American university undergraduate whose ability to write coherent English is the equivalent of a seven year old. Today I talk to an American university secretary who can’t see past the bureacracy of her organization which insists on a multitude of forms, including one for paying prize money. Today I try to deposit a check for $1500 into my own account and have to wait for the manager’s approval. Yes, today I deal with the American Educated Class.

And I am appalled. Education in America appears to exist outside of reality and to be measured by the standards of Oz. You know, where the Great Oz hands the Scarecrow a piece of paper and claims it proves he’s intelligent. Scarecrow’s head is still full of straw but now he has credentials. That may work for children—build them up to raise expectations. For children, yes, this is a good thing. For adults? I think not.

Yet, that’s what education here appears to be all about. Pay the money, pass the test, get the piece of paper. Don’t think; obey. And pay up while you’re at it. Curse those pesky free-thinkers who somehow slip through the cracks, maintain intellectual rigour and end up being able to question for themselves. Thinking without paying and undermining authority with their accursed questions.

Of course, in the end, society is to blame for the bureacracy gone mad. But never mind them; we’ll be investigating them later. (rimshot)  For further amusement combined with head-bang-on-desk disbelief over what’s happening in the US school system, go here and check out the article “Let’s Get Back to Education in Education”. Oh, you’ll need a time machine because that link has expired.

Memes Evolve

One of the most fascinating people I’ve met at A2FF this week has been media ecologist Gerry Fialka. Gerry is not only well-informed, off-beat and articulate, but he’s willing to enter in new discussions even if they go against his current views. He was on a panel with Scott Beiben of the Lost Film Festival this afternoon. Gerry says we need to look for new questions to ask and new paradigms.

Started me thinking. About chaos theory. And about leadership (again). Chaos theory shows chaotic systems going through periods of temporary stability; periods where it looks like order. Like, maybe, society. Maybe society is in a transitional phase, looking for the next paradigm; the next period of order. Maybe the memes are evolving.

Scott spoke about lots of cool stuff too. The panel was about Cultural Jamming, or Culture Jamming. I’ll look it up later. Anyway, Scott’s approach to film exhibition (and I guess production) is way on the fringe. At one point he said something like, “I don’t believe in law or nation states or sovereignty.” Yours truly heckled, “Hey, you’re George Bush!” Minor titters.

There does seem to be a shared worldview at opposite ends of the American political spectrum. Do what you want, it’s not right or wrong, just “appropriate” or “inappropriate”, a “service” or a “disservice”. Is it too politically correct? Or are the memes, also, evolving? It feels like America needs those new paradigms, the new metaphors arising from the new questions.

Perhaps, once it’s got a handle on them, there’ll be some real leadership at the top, on both sides, instead of vaccillation countered by tantrums and people in the middle looking for an easy buck. It occurs to me, though, that the meme everyone’s looking for is “think global, act local”. Humans still want to reach other humans; community spirit. It’s about what’s pro-social. That’s good.

Here endeth the thought bubble.


PS. Sometimes engaging people doesn’t work. You can talk and talk but if they don’t want to listen, don’t want to change, you’re wasting your time. You can also preach to the choir but so what? Frankly, the answer to that is: you can’t force people to change. You can create the opportunity for them to change, support their freedom of expression. In the end, though, change is about leadership and, yes, there is more to that meme than engagement alone.

No Frame Of Reference

Today is out of sync. This week is out of sync. DVD’s that should have been delivered four weeks ago still haven’t arrived with the customers. Complaints come in and the DVD’s are still in transit. One eff up follows another.

I met a producer two weeks ago. She wanted someone to edit her feature for Cannes. Problem is, she doesn’t really have a feature. Only six hours of rushes shot on her palmcorder. Problem is, she doesn’t have a script. Or an outline. She wants to use material from the net, but doesn’t have all the clearances. She originally wanted her feature done in two weeks. Biggest problem is, she has no money, isn’t paying. A friend commented it was like being given a knife and fork and asked to provide dinner.

Last week I had paying work all week. No feature editing happened. Can’t find the woman’s name on films she claims to have produced. Weird. Maybe she made her money/rep some other way on those films. Begs too many questions and I have no time. Today she sent a friend to collect the rushes.

The paying work continues to come in, meanwhile. Like a feeding frenzy. And there are these sharky people in the water. No DVD’s, no feature edit. The rep of Ascalon Films is going down and the money just keeps coming in. Out of sync.

This week is the Ann Arbor Film Festival. One of my screening committee counterparts blames me for too much narrative. I blame him for too much boring crap that the audience walks out of. And they do walk out. Sometimes. It’s no way to make money. Money goes down that way. But rep for experimental, pushing the boundaries, goes up. Out of sync.

I am still hungover from last night’s opening party. Free vodka and a cool after party. Good times. Today is out of sync. Tonight we’ll go see a group called The Wet Spots playing live at the /Aut/ Bar. 10pm (actually, it was more like 1am when they did their set). Good times. Crazy. I sync therefore I am.