Things I can’t believe

I’ve been having a lot of musing thoughts lately. I’ve seen some stuff I just can’t believe.

One is a picture I found in a flickr group from a cheap, manual focus 85mm 1.4 prime lens, which I’ve heard is a great lens. This picture wasn’t very well edited, or really artistically composed, but it wasn’t a terrible picture either. The photographer had to know what he/she was doing at least in a competency sense. It was more the focus that made my jaw drop.

There were three little girls in this picture, probably age 10 or so… and only two were in focus. The third, two or three feet back of the focus plane on the left side of the image, obviously had Down’s syndrome. The other two were in perfect focus. All three were smiling warmly, but the photographer decided it would be great to use the wide aperture of this super fast MF lens to throw the Downs kid completely out of focus. It’s not like an AF lens where the camera can just lock onto one subject, usually in the center of the frame or at a particular AF point, and the photographer doesn’t really think, “oh, I didn’t mean to focus just on that.”

And it wasn’t like she was only a little out of focus… no, she was blurred out like bigfoot in some idiot campervan conspiracy theorist’s “valuable collectible” photo album. Not out of focus enough to disguise the fact that this girl was different from the other two, but so blurry you couldn’t tell which way she was looking, or how many nostrils she had. (Sorry, I saw an episode of How I Met Your Mother last night.)

This was a manual focus lens that was determinedly focused in front of the Down’s girl and got not one, but two other subjects… all other subjects… in stunningly sharp focus. I was in disbelief.

Talk about a picture saying a thousand words… this was an orated epic poem composed of slurs and bigotry.

Another thing I thought was funny…

In a particular commercial, I recognized that someone made the choice to leave three letters of a determined order visible when obscuring the trademark on a bike frame in a McDonald’s commercial. The commercial is talking about their frozen sugar drinks… sorry, frozen coffee drinks… and features, toward the end, an attractive couple, male and female, who had been displaced onto an aerobed in the study so their in-laws could sleep in their bedroom. That was their justification for drinking sugar-coffee.

Personally, if I’m sleeping in a less-than-ideal situation for a temporary amount of time, I’d rather have a McSedative. I’ll have the Ambien Frappe, please.

Nevermind that you just blatantly coopted your (much better in every sense of the word, employee treatment and product quality, namely) competitor’s nickname for the drink you’re copying, I’m more amused that the one thing in the scene with any recognizable text, beyond the drinks the models are holding, is noneother than:

A late-model Specialized Allez road bike. It’s not brand new, but it’s no more than a few years old and it’s very striking, propped behind the inflatable bed wearing its striking red and white party dress.

Allez means ‘let’s go!’ in French, but when you cover up all letters of both marks besides:

LEZ

it means something completely different, in homophobic street speak. Way to go, America!

Also, the bike is the larger, and presumably the male’s steed. Which means that the husband is riding a Lez. Which means in-laws invading his bedroom are probably the least of his marital worries.

I’m just surprised at that decision, not really in disbelief.

The world is evil.

I’ve been shooting a lot of film lately. I need a scanner so I can show you more than the store-processed images from the Black Slim Devil I love so much.

I also have a roll of Velvia 50 and a roll of HP5 or two from the F100 which are… quite sharable, in my summation.

I really like film. I think people should take fewer snapshots, and focus on making photographs. At least, that’s what I feel I should do.

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STUDY::love/hate relationship

Love/Hate Relationship

Dear Old White Man in a Pimp Suit Walking Down University Ave Sticking Your Nose in Everybody’s Business(Chip): Thanks to your telling me that my bike parking on the fence of the business I planned to patronize was illegal, they closed and locked their doors while I locked up across the street. Your patrolling of the sidewalks is unnecessary, unwanted and condescending. You must have a chip the size of your prostate on your shoulder. If I see you again, I’m stealing your pimp cane and throwing it under a bus. I consider it a weapon how you wave it around telling other people what to do under the guise of elderly advice. Your life must be a sad summation of failure, racism, gaping feelings of inadequacy, and moral bigotry; I want to feel bad for you but I don’t, you antipathetic choad.

Dear Cute Aspiring Photojournalist(Mary): I want to thank you in writing for breathing new life into my old and dusty camera. I loved it intensely for five years and it took me places I couldn’t begin to imagine, but my travels wore on it as well as me, and by the time I was through I had lost its preciousness in the 45 thousand images I directed it to capture. You arrived with your boyfriend in matching leather jackets looking less like students and more like stylish beneficiaries of youth’s gall and pomp. Your warm handshakes and bright eyes recalled in my memory the joys of learning and drinking the world in with gluttonous curiosity. I could see in your eyes the fascination and creative genius brooding in your vivacious spirit; the call of an artist reverberating off and against the tools of the trade. I can tell you will treat my aging picture box with respect and driven guidance and I hope it imbues your artistry with the best of challenges and the most vivid of rewards. I was somewhat shocked and awash in glee at your admission of trading in your newer, more technically advanced camera for the things that made me love my old camera. It is yours now. I hope it lasts you as long and well as it did me. Also, extollingly, thank you for paying the fair asking price off craigslist, for FUCKS sake!

STUDY::webisodalporn

Eww.

I was not prepared for the suck of this hardness. I spent today watching all four seasons(ha!) of the IFC web series “Young American Bodies.” This whole show is like a poorly acted “Friends.” It was shot by someone who’s never seen anything on film besides “the Office.” It was written by someone who has no idea how real people interact or think, and directed by a shitty writer. I can hear stage directions as if the screen was screaming at me. KISS HIS NECK BECAUSE YOU NEED HIS ATTENTION. IGNORE HER BECAUSE IT WILL HELP THE PLOT.

For example, in the first season finale, the girls have all managed to fall in love with the main character.

Did I mention he’s the writer?

Okay so technically they haven’t all fallen for him… but they’re all doing exactly what he would want from them. One is his roommate/wingman-lady. She tried to set him up with one of the most attractive people to grace the screen, and he blows it because he has a huge crush on his friend. His good friend knows that he has a huge crush on her, and so does everyone else. They bludgeon you over the head with this fact. “You can’t just tell the audience how you’re feeling… that makes me feel Angry!”

He exhibits this huge crush by staring at her at work. It’s actually kind of brilliant. What better way to show someone’s feelings by making them out to be a stalker.

The third is fresh out of a relationship that consisted of really hot sex(at least by comparison) and really contrived fighting. So… they’re all talking about how great he is, and his friend is trying to get the girl who is fresh out of a relationship to not psych herself out and go for it with the writer.

I mean, director. Yeah, he’s that too.

Actually, I’m not so sure that’s what she’s trying to do. She’s through hooking him up with attractive girls, because they fought about it when he fucked it up the last time… so she’s just grilling this other girl, maybe so she can get him back for ditching the last friend she set him up with. I don’t know exactly what she’s doing, but she’s making this whole story about him. Which makes sense, since he’s the male lead, writer, director, and producer at this point in the show.

So, what happens? The hipster slutty girl(Girl A) is playing truth and dare with wingman-lady(Girl B) and the fresh out of break up girl who kissed said writer/director/male lead(Girl C). Basically, we have slutty girl, monogamous friend girl, and pretty innocent girl. Well, this being truth and dare(something all 20 somethings do routinely during a season finale), the innocent girl confesses to everyone about the (stupidly awkward) kiss. I forgot to mention, the male lead is a huge gossipslut and already told wingman-lady about the kiss, which is why she wanted to verify it in truth and dare.

Look, it’s confusing and complicated, but there’s absolutely nothing behind ANY of it. Girl A knows the doofus likes her. She has for a long time and she couldn’t care less. She’s been flirting with other guys the whole time, right in front of him, and then puts up with his pithy “I’m going to talk about your sex life choices” shenanigans. She’s a nutcase. Girl B is roommate of doofus and looking out for his cock rather than her friends, or something. Why, I can’t say. I have no fucking clue. Girl C is… well… genuinely complex. She just went through a breakup from a long term relationship where she was neglected emotionally… she doesn’t want the doofus right away, but she isn’t ruling it out once she’s had some time. She doesn’t act terribly well but she’s also way more attractive than anyone else on the show, so when she stumbles out a line, at least you have something to look at while it happens. NOW NERVOUSLY LAUGH, BECAUSE IT WILL LOOK BETTER ON CAMERA THAN IF YOU JUST SAY THE NEXT LINE THAT MAKES NO SENSE WITHOUT CHOKING ON THE LAUGHTER.

I’m getting off track because this thing is as meaningless as a ball of lint that’s been sitting in your bathtub strainer for a week. It came from somewhere, and it’s hairy as fuck, but looking at it actually makes you enjoy life less.

Girl C tells girl B, on a dare, to flash her doofus roommate. This I get. It will diffuse the situation and doofus will get a very huge reminder (she’s got nice tits) that there are other fish in the sea. Nevermind that girl B has a long term boyfriend. I’m sure the writer didn’t care about that because…

Girl B says no, Girl A should do it. I can only assume she says this because she wants doofus to get with girl he’s been hung up on, forgetting entirely that he has this delicate awkward thing with girl C that just happened… I honestly don’t know or care if it’s because of the crush on girl A or the kiss with girl C. Girl A isn’t fucking anyone at that second(for a change)… and that’s the last moment where anything relating to a plot happens in the whole show.

Sans motivation – and to the overwhelming bewilderment/despair(i can only guess because the acting is so wooden it’s actually a structure fire in disguise) of the other two girls, Girl A elects to go show her boobs to Mr. “I play scrabble by myself.” (WTF?)

They end up fucking. SPLICE AWKWARD SEX REELS WITH EVEN AWKWARDER WHATS TAKING HER SO LONG LOOKING AROUND THE ROOM.

irony

Why does girl A do this? There is no explanation. She knows he’s always liked her and she literally could have walked into his room at ANY point in time. There’s nothing to make her do it now except that her roommate kissed and she thinks likes him, so she’s going to steal him from the roommate because the roommate isn’t going for him. But if that’s the subtext, what’s the motivation? She doesn’t hate her roommate and actually sees her as a source of inspiration and solace. She’s not threatened by her and she has no reason to harbor any ill feelings. So if it’s not about girl C, it has to be about girl B or doofus. Well, she’s not doing it because girl B said so. She’s a caricature of a slut, not a robot. And like I said, she could have had doofus whenever, so it’s not about him. It has to be option one, that she’s trying to steal him from girl C, or at least burn down that house. But again, there’s no motivation for this action… girl C’s never wronged her- only supported her and been a positive influence. It’s not spite, so malice is literally the only option left… and she’s just not malicious. At all. She’s a little lost, but not malicious.

Did I mention how dumb and boring the sex scene looks?

Just like that, love triangle dissolved, feelings hurt but not expressed, and extremely plot-heavy supposedly-important sex is shown on screen in an emotionless mash of potato-y flesh. That was really what this guy was so bent up over? I’ve seen more sexual urgency – more careful physical intimacy – in a jersey shore chest bump.

This is the end of the plot as we know it.

The only pathetic(as in, the viewer actually cares what happens to her) character, girl C, decides the best action to take is to disappear completely from the show.

That’s right. No more redheaded sexy “I guess I like you and you’re an amazing guy to me where you’re an ass to everyone else” plot development, just an unexplained disappearance. I’m going to guess she’s pissed at her roommate so she leaves the apartment and group of friends entirely… but again, why? Obviously, having some slutty hipster go fuck the guy you like but aren’t ready for could cause some problems, but the show doesn’t even give us those problems or their resolutions. We see her once more when she shows up at the coffee shop to say hi. No real reason for that appearance either, but at least she’s pretty.

Also, the girl who he had such a huge crush on? He couldn’t care less for in the next season. They’re still friends but there’s zero sexual tension. I guess the sex was as bad as it looked at the end of the first(second?) season. CAMERA PAN LEFT, FIND ANOTHER PLOT LINE.

The next three(two? I dunno.) seasons are basically a bunch of hookups. No real motivation or reasoning behind any of the plot lines… they’re really more like plot skidmarks. So let’s see… the boyfriend that was so disinterested in the pretty girl? It turns out he’s gay.

That makes sense… but we don’t get any real character development. He who was once the disinterested boyfriend is now the Pretty Gay Boy. I think the only reason he came back is so that the show wouldn’t be so heteronormative. Also, the only monogamous girl starts kissin up on some female coworkers. Messy, sure… interesting? Potentially. Instead, where the plot could go somewhere, it’s shot out of the sky by the lackluster acting and direction. HOLD FOR DRAMA!

Now that the main character/director/writer has lost some weight and shaved his face, he’s getting all kinds of hot action like… wait… he’s dating an old chick? Okay. Sure. But why is she always giggling? And how come he who used to be so awkward and spazzy in front of every girl in the show when they were about to do it in the last season suddenly the smoothest guy in the world now that his sex interest is a noticeably older woman? I don’t get it.

Meanwhile the most promiscuous girl in the show is doing what she does best: having unbelievable(no, really, it doesn’t look like anyone in the room is enjoying it… i don’t believe it) sex with random guys we aren’t supposed to care about. And don’t. All the sex scenes are candid, as advertised, but I wouldn’t call them tasteful. I also wouldn’t call them pornographic, except for the fact that I just don’t care about 80% of the characters in them.

Then there’s the imposition of an alt-porn website that the friends start up mid-series. It’s not even a necessary plot vehicle. All it really does is promote the stereotype of the sexless computer nerd web designer. Literally EVERYONE else in this fucking thing is having sex… but nope, not the web designer. Even though he’s a better actor and even more attractive than most of the other characters… no sex for nerds. Hipsters have ugly sex left and right, talented pleasant people have computers and stare blankly at images of sexy models.

Oh, and then there’s some dude that’s into yoga and colonics. You know, why not. We’re never told who knows him or why he’s suddenly in the picture. He cheats on girl C who was cheating on him, but while she was cheating on him when he was her roommate, he cheats on her while she’s slutting up London, a half a world away. So she won’t take him back, and he goes walking into Lake Michigan in all of his clothes. Wait, are you fucking serious? You want me to feel bad about this? HE CHEATED ON HER. SHE CHEATED ON HIM. I hope they both drown… in their fake feelings. Seriously, not breaking up would be a worse fate than whatever he’s hoping for. I guess he’s just crying because the girl that he cheated with is chunkier than the guy she cheated with but… really? This is not a big deal. Certainly not enough of a big deal to warrant a big crying in the sea sequence.

I just don’t understand what’s happening and why. Besides, you know, naked bodies tenderly kissing and thrusting into eachother.

I’m not saying this show is porn… it’s just that it’s everything but.

Granted, they do some parallelism with narrative form and try to make it sufficiently ‘filmy…’ but what’s going on other than sex between a bunch of whiney, uninteresting friends? Nothing that comes through in the story. It looks like it was fun to make, but the writer ran out of any remotely interesting or witty dialogue halfway through the first season. I honestly think he made it because he wanted to make porn while still having credibility/appeal with art school chicks. He likely wrote most of it out of some silly personal folly that he didn’t have the mind to say in real life to her face. Next time, don’t make a show about it just tell her she’s a slut and save us the motivational void that is this show.

In a scene where he’s directing some altporn model, she asks what her motivation is, and he tells her to pull her underwear down and lean on her other arm. I would think this was funny but I think it was actually the only actual piece of reality their cameras actually captured. What an abortion.

“Young American Bodies:” Chicago’s Mindless Hipsters Get Laid on IFC.

Puke.

STUDY::costumes

For this study I’ll be dividing my lists into two categories. The first being costumes I want to wear, the second being costumes that I find attractive when attractive people wear them.

Costumes I want to wear:

Zombie Lumberjack

Zombie P-I reporter

Zombie Pocahontas

Return of the Jedi Speeder Scout Stormtrooper.

Costumes that make me hot and bothered:

Silent Hill Nurse

Zombie Anything

I expect to update this as I find more.

STUDY::zombieland

you werent half this hot in superbad. maybe its the eyeliner.

you weren't half this hot in superbad. maybe it's the eyeliner.

Fantastic. I seriously couldn’t like any part of this movie less, it’s just… it’s running on all cylinders. It’s a grand slam. It’s careful measurements in just the right amounts, but it’s not formulaic. Zombieland is postmodern enough to get it but appealing enough to not lose it. It’s an alchemy of humor and style that creates more than just art, more than just film, more than just a movie.

I don’t want to ruin it, but it’s SUPER meta. Like, more than just one element… the writing is meta, the filmic devices are meta… the characters… it’s just meta as fuck. And thank god for that because any Zombie Movie that takes itself that seriously needs to nut up or shut up.

Seriously, if you think someone can make a zombie movie that takes itself seriously and have it not turn into the atrociously pathetic Zombie Honeymoon ;;; well, you’re thinker done brokedid.

This movie is enough of a zombie flick to get all the thrill of one, but it’s too smart and too stupid to fall victim to any of the regular zombie movie leeching cliché that ruins most attempts at halfdeadhorror this side of y2k.

The only other zombie movie that comes close in enjoyability is Shaun of the Dead… and honestly this movie is fleshed out in a much broader spectrum of entertainment. It’s got some more of the classic stuff going on, where Shaun of the Dead turns its prissy brit nose up and passes that kind of kick by. Really, when it comes down to it… this is America’s Shaun of the Dead… the “Mr. Show” or “MST3K” answering “MP’s Flying Circus”… except it’s so much better executed that I should slap myself for saying such a thing…
Slap.

That was for the comparison. Shaun of the Dead is great, but Zombieland is great in a whole different game… it’s not better or worse… it’s a different brand.

Slap.

That was for putting Monty Python on par with anything else. That brilliance is unparalleled and the mention of it only hurts what I’m trying to say.

What I’m trying to say is that I laughed my heart out to ::EVERY SINGLE JOKE:: in this movie.

And while I was laughing I still had time to realize

– the film artistry is phenomenal.

– the violence is gutty and pulp and sick and amazingly not overdone to the point where the horror elements are phenomenal.

– Emma Stone is a fucking fox and the acting throughout, but especially of the romance, is phenomenal

– the writing is honestly extremely expert, and makes for a narrative that YES I THINK THE WRITING IS AWESOME AND PHUGH NOM IHH NAAAAAAL!!!!!

Now I know my raving reviews all sound dumb and You’ve probably skipped over at least 4/3rds of this, but Zombieland rocks. Jesse Eisenberg rocks a righteous role into overdrive as the ‘geeky white boy who’s probably jewish and totally loveable even though he lacks confidence and masculine behaviors’… a character who had been ruined in all masks and faces by Michael Cera… Eisenberg plays in the same style with  “The jarringly high, almost soprano voice and gawky turtle face, the ironic wimpy despair, the whole (sorry, but I can’t put this any other way) utter lack of a manly bone in his stringbean body.” but somehow blows Cera out of the acting cesspool by doing this all with dignity, character, dynamic humanity and a believable yet vulnerable strength that strikes the chord of my own truth in a way Cera’s acting denied. I’m not exactly able to communicate this … but I’m glad that at least one spineless wimp character finally showed some backbone.

Looking back at it, sure there were some obvious gaps for deleted scenes or directions the film didn’t take that it wanted you to think about and then didn’t maybe do something or anything with that supposed created expectation or shit… whatever, it may not be perfect…

but this movie is the perfect zombie movie.

Harrelson is great. Abigail Breslin rocks out. Hell, even the extras are awesome.

It’s the funniest movie I’ve seen in years, and it’s not heartbreaking like any of the other movies I’ve enjoyed in as much time have been. It’s phenomenal.

And yes. Emma Stone didn’t do anything for me in Superbad, but she totally stole my heart in this.

Addendum One:

Normally I hate really loathe fucking puke dislike girls with overdone eyeliner. I rage about it. Wichita can walk all over me; i’ll lick her boots in ecstasy and I think it’s because of that fucking black shit on her eyes. I _hate_ this, but it’s true.

Addendum Two:

Honestly I hate guns. I hate gun nuts and I hate gun violence. But this movie would have SUCKED if it didn’t bust so many caps… and I really have no defense for liking this about it. It’s American as shiiit and after watching this I wanted to shoot bullets through just about everything in the world that didn’t have a place in my heart already. Good thing that feeling lasted all of four seconds.

Anyway, go see the motherfucking show. It’s phenomenal.

‘dendum threeve, I cuss when I like stuff.

MATERIAL::souldierstraps

http://www.souldier.us/

its a strap on... your camera.

it's a strap on... your camera.

Made from salvaged seatbelts…

In Chicago…

With cool designs available…

It’s comfy and sweet. I’m a fan. Mine? It’s hounds tooth, black and white.

STUDY::strictlysexual

FUCK THIS MOVIE.

It’s everything that I hate about socal and then some. Horrible writing, extremely terrible cinematography and direction… it’s even got blocking problems. It’s full of likable characters that say some very unlikable things and do some very stupid things because the plot tells them to. If I could stomach another screening, I’d count the objectiveless actions as an escape from the unbelievable-as-fuck and bile-on-tongue plot.

The only thing that redeems it is that Kristen Kerr looks a ton like Olivia Wilde … only slightly less hot and with 1/500th of the acting talent… and there are some very well done, if not wholesome or extremely tasteful, sex scenes. But really, apart from just somehow being trivial and grandiose at the same time, it’s nothing more than a waste. The production quality is way too high for the screenplay and directorial worth. Whoever greenlighted this should be tased, systematically.

Hulu, you done did steer’d me wrong.