Tuesday, November 28, 2006

We'll Say It Again: PUT HUSSEIN BACK IN POWER NOW!

We said this before, and the LA Times said essentially the same thing the other day in their Editorial pages. There's no time to be too proud to do the only effective thing to stop the civil war in Iraq: Put the seasoned strongman (HUSSEIN) back in power.

That's right. Send him back, re-install him with Special Army to help him re-consolidate power, and before you know it, things will subside. Will not be pretty or democratic, but at least the slaughter will stop.

** SPREAD THE IDEA THE MORE YOU THINK ABOUT IT, THE MORE SENSE IT MAKES **

Thursday, November 09, 2006

F*CK YEAH!

I'm sure I'm not the only one saying this after the elections...Jesus H C the American People FINALLY saw through the lies and BS and booted those shleps out.

Anyway, voted here from Cambodia, sending my ballot to Santa Fe, NM, home of my most recent official US address.

Whew...let's see if the Dems can clean up the mess those embezzlers and crooks left behind.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Update: Sneak preview of SUSAN HERO and HOLLYWOOD BLACKOUT in Cambodia!

Quick post:

Sneak preview of SUSAN HERO and HOLYWOOD BLACKOUT at Pannasastra UNiversity, South Campus (Norodon South of Sinnouk), rooftop amphitheater Sunday Oct 29, 2006 [Exact time to be deternmined]

This is not an official premiere, just a sneak preview of the essentialy finished films for audience feedback purposes, etc. ** Any other filmmakers who want to show work, please contact me, you are invited to do so **

Contact or inquiries at camerado@camerado.com

See you there!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

My final reply to NYU re: the termite eaten diploma/SMACKDOWN

Herewith, my final reply to NYU regarding the diploma:

From: "J Rosette"
Subject: Re: Replacement Diploma
Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2006 18:26:30 -0700
To: Christopher L James

It's OK, actually if I need it I can get a counterfeit one
next time I'm in Bangkok for $10.

Best,

Jason

=========>>>

And last but not least, the ad I placed in the Cambodia Daily, it ran today with great fanfare (hope it uplocasa, dont know why blogger doesnt always upload)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Reply from NYU regarding my Termite-eaten Diploma

Recently asked NYU to plaease waive the $50 replacement fee for the diploma I had here in Cambodia which was regrettably eaten by termites (as described in earlier post)

Here's their response:

============>>>

Dear Mr. Rosette:

Your request for a waiver of the $50 fee for a replacement diploma was reviewed administratively, and, I am sorry to say, denied. We don't make money on replacement diplomas. The diplomas cost us money, and there are also shipping costs. Probably the biggest cost is wages paid to our employees, as it really does take a fair amount of time to process an order for a single diploma - it's hard to say exactly how much time, but all told I think an hour would not be an exaggeration.

Sincerely,

Christopher James
Supervisor, Graduation Services
NYU Office of the University Registrar
7 East 12th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10003
Tel. (212) 998-4803
Fax (212) 995-4587
Email: clj1@nyu.edu

==========>>>

There you go...an hour to replace a diploma. Hmmm. Does this mean the staff gets paid $50 an hour?

Anyway also was shocked to find that my cell phone was stolen yesterday by a visitor, her name is Da, the surprising thing is I've known her for quite a while and she's been over here manhy times to hang out: she's a simple farm girl from Battambang, who recently went back up there to harvest rice for a month. She just came back.

It really shocked me, because I actually trusted her; I can only imaging that her mother, who had been sick recently, needed some money or medication desperatly, and so she took what she could, no matter what the consequences...

Here's how to put it into context for yourself. Imagine a friend of yours, well you've known this person for say 6 months or more, they've been over to your place maybe 5 or six times before no problem, comes over to watch TV and hang out one day. Then this person suddenly gets up and walks out the room, you think maybe she's gone to use the toilet, whatever.

But no: she's gone, her cheap plastic shoes are gone, too. And so is your cheesy Nokia mobile phone which was sitting on your desk, and maybe a pile of a few dollars worth of Riel.

Huh. At first I was angry, but then I was puzzled and then sort of sad--for her. What the fuck man? Wil lshe ever have a decent connection with another foreigner like m yself...was it worth the $45 dollars (actually, $20, that's what she's get when she takes the phone to a shop to sell it back)

So for $25 bucks she gave up a friendship, a good connection with a good dude. Huh.

The scary part is, I trusted her. Now I don't feel like I can trust the Khmer people so much, at least not in the city...too bad really, I think, as I've seen the place develop over this past almost two years, as I saw the number of Lexus landcruisers on the streets gow and mulitply, I've also seen the materialsm set in, and with that comes more crime, etc: the same bitter functions found in Western big cities, ala NYC.

More later, but I am at a crossroads here in Cambodia, think I will be making some kind of adjustment soon, not sure what that may be...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Termites ate my Diploma

Yep. Came back from the research trip up North to continue clearing out my office space downtown. I'd placed my Diploma, framed nicely, on the floor near the corner out of the way in case "something were to happen to it" while I consolidated things for the move. P{aid $50 bucks for it, a replacement for the original, which was MIA long ago. $50 bucks to get a replacement from NYU, as if they hadn't already taken enough of my money!

Anyway, found that termites had invaded the framed glass, had eaten through the dimploma itself in many places, so it now resembles an old pirate map or Civil War battlefied document. Needless to say, I can no longer use it to try to get teaching work, soi now wil lhave to shell out another $50 to the good old Alma Mater for another one.

Took the frame outside, broke the glas swith a brick in the garbage basket, and lifted out the remains of the diploma...an army of fat white Cambodian termites, rejoicing at their unexpected imported treat of fine paper, were running in colums along the edge of the frame.

I smashed the frame , kicking it savagely with my boot, then shook off all the termites.

They fell to the flat tiled driveway, where roaming ants rushed to gather them. Saw one small ant, not even as big as a Diploma-eating termite, run off with one wriggling in its jaws.

Aww, f*ck it. That's just entropy anyway, things coming and going. Why, we all have termites eating away at something as we speak. My Diploma, today, is just a turning curl in the Big Bang, whooshing itself out in the form of a termite feast.

Of course, no explanation will convince NYU to waive the $50 bucks for a new Diploma, I can gurantee you that. That fifty bucks is a thing of this earth, a device of men to wield their way 'long the turning earth, as long as they still can.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Anyone for BREAKFAST?

No, not at Denny's--up at Base Area 353, near the town of Memot in Cambodia, not far from the Vietnam border. The US bombed the hell out of this and other suspected sanctuary areas during the undeclared, secret war in Cambodia during the Vietnam War era, in an attempt to destroy NVA and other enemy forces using the area to stage offensives against the South.

Anyway, BREAKFAST was the name of the first mission, part of Operation Mennu, devised by Nixon and Kissinger, to accomplish that very task.

We're heading up to BREAKFAST on Monday, will possibly also visit DINNER and DESSERT on the same research trip, all for the sake of developing Camerado's next [third] feature, "Snack, Breakfast, Dinner".

Will post blog and photos as soon as we get back; in the meantime, since we're completely self-funded at this point (although now that I'm living in Cambodia, airfare and language isn't really an issue)

((( ** WE WELCOME ANY CONTRIBUTIONS ** ))

We're clawing away at any grant opportunities we can, but you know how that goes...so any assistance will be put to very good use in this imprtant social issue feature film.

Here's the link to make an easy contribution, [look for the PayPal Button on the following Contributions page]:

============>>>>

http://www.camerado.com/contributions.html

============>>>>

AGAIN: THANKS TO EVERYONE AND ANYONE WHO CAN HELP OUT--AS WITH OUR PREVIOUS FEATURE, "SUSAN HERO", WE'LL BE SURE TO LIST YOU IN THE CREDITS AS A SUPPORTER

Monday, September 11, 2006

Hey What a Coincidence: Oil Prices Falling (Just before the elections)

Hey, what a coincidence: the price of oil happens to be falling RIGHT BEFORE THE UPCOMING ELECTIONS! Better buy now while the price is low, because you know what might happen after the elections are over. ;)

Hey, but what the heck: as long as enough Americans momentarily forget the crooked embezzlers who are in office now, those same racketeers who have set up a very elaborate and convincing front (the war in Iraq) in order to line their pockets and those of their cronies while they still have two years left...as long as enough Americans forget those years of crookedness during these intoxicating two months of cheaper [but not cheap] oil, then there's no problem.

Nope. No problem at all...

=====================>>>

By the way, there is a solution to the Iraq situation, though it would involve "loss of face" and some folks essentially admitting they made a Big Mistake. It's called:

Putting Saddam Hussein Back in Power.

Sound off the wall? Think about it. Who else knows how to run the place better than he does, who else knows the intricacies of tribal politics, who else can reactivate the old control mehcanism within a couple months?

Yea, it would be a huge loss of face to one former cheerleader. But it would also mean saving thousands of lives, including the lives of troops who are yet to lose theirs. We would also be on the road to a more stable Middle East, yes the Middle east was more stable when Hussein was in control in Iraq (than it is now), and everyone knows this--many are loathe to admit this fact of course.

What's worse: loss of face...or loss of life?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Me So Bloggy!

Back in Cambodia. Now editing the wacky short, Hollywood Blackout, which pal Tim Merril and I shot up at the Hollywood Sign when I was in LA back in the US. You can find it at Youtube [the teaser}, just do a search for Hollywood Blackout.

Anyway, now submitting Camerado's second feature, Susan Hero, to more fests. So far, have sent recently to sveral notable domestic and one international.

Also replaceing/updating some of the Native AMerican audio with stuff we now have the rights to use.

Also just finished the TV version of "Have Forest, Have Life"(see Google Video and do a search there to take a look) according to the UNDP's specifications. Looks like they will have it play on TV here, and will relate any news regarding that as soon as that happens.

That's it--headind to Thailand tomorrow for a week for a much needed break!

Friday, August 04, 2006

What the hell, Israel, Come ON!

What the hell--??

Why do we have to sit by and watch as our "good friends" in the Middle East tear apart Lebanon? What's going on? I will not mention the US's own great debacle in Iraq...

But c'mon Israel, LIGHTEN UP. Scale things down. This is not the time of Jonah. This is a small, interconnected world and we must face and ACCEPT it.

There's a tendency to think that, just because we believe something to be true, that it IS true. That, because we feel a certain reaction is appropriate, that it must be. This is wrong, this is undeveloped thinking. This is the awful trapdoor of limited human perspectives at work, Aldous Huxley talks about it -- phenomenologically and emprically, we can't know, even through faith (as Paul Tillich points out) what is right and what is wrong.

But now we're watching as a nation, having suffered through a holocaust (a holocaust, as the Native Americans suffered, as the Armenians suffered, as the Khmer people suffered, as they suffer in Darfur), reacts, or more appropropriately, overreacts to a situation that might have been best handled by diplomacy.

Or at least, diplomacy might have been given a chance. [or is there something else at work here? ;) ]

Read more about Israel's excessive use of force in this report by Human Rights Watch:

http://hrw.org/reports/2006/lebanon0806/

Read an article from Foreign Policy Magazine about the unusual influence of the Israel Lobby in US Politics:

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3506

And, a famous essay by the same authors:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html

Friday, July 28, 2006

** Massive Update **

Lots of stuff going on; the truth is, just don't have TIME to update the blog so often.

In short:

1) Did a group screening at a robotics workshop in NYC to get reactions to Susan Hero
2) Returned to SF to do yet another pass on the movie, incorporating that feedback, burt same to longform DVD
3) Went to LA and met with consulting producer and others
4) Dropped off latest (basically FINAL) cut of Susan Hero at Sundance Fest on Wilshire, in person
5) Did a bunch of LA promotion for SH and other projects, also went to Screen Actors Guild to see how I can reactivate my membership (became "Financial Core" when I dropped out to act in Susan Hero, as I couldn't afford to pay myself my own workman's comp insurance)
6) Went to visit old buddy Tim Merril in Hollywood, where I did some more networking and we made an interesting off the cuff movie, HOLLYWOOD BLACKOUT

Take a look at ((** Hollywood Blackout **)) here:

http://www.camerado.com/items/hollywood_blackout_1.mp4

More later, almost done here in the US, was a huge trip so far, many, many more things done and progress made--probably obvious by now that I'm not the most devoted blogger...just don't have time (plus am making most entries in the hard copy production diary, HURRICANE)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Final Edit of SUSAN HERO in Tribeca

A long way from Cambodia...have been hauling ass on the final cut of Susan Hero in Robert Deniro's Tribeca Film Center here in NYC (where I am now cutting and visiting friends)all week;though burned out from the edit in the Bay Area, have now finally been able to collaborate in person with G,co-editor of Susan Hero, for the first time in two years.

Prior to now, all collaboration had been limited to DVD cuts of the movie sent by snail mail to Cambodia, where I've been living for nearly a year and a half.

Now I truly believe the picture is pretty much as good as it will ever be,may need a pro mix and color correction, but not much more can be done. Thus, soon, will begin submitting in earnest to agents and fests, including Sundance.

Tomorrow, a likely meeting with Dr Alan Rice who played cloning expert Dr Kurt Morell in the movie. He's based here in NYC, works at the Museum of Natural History...where they now have an exhibit on Darwin.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

** More Editing **

Still in Mill Valley, CA, in Marin...been editing away for the past week or so and making what I thought would be a minor adjustment/polish edit on the new machine. But it's actually been more intensive than anticipated, have made significant and numerous changes, about 25-30% different than before!

Picture is better now, much stronger, and now I wonder how I expected it to get snapped up by a fest when it was only 75% there. Now, in this new pass, have been startled and amazed by the edits that are taking place, they almost seem to be coming from nowhere, as if the movie is editing itself. That is, certain sequences are getting tweaked in ways that I did not anticipate, and it's as if I'm just sitting here doing the cutting....

Anyway, final scene today, then titles, then wil set aside for color correction and mix.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Back in the US for a visit...

Just came back to the US day before yesterday to visit for a couple emonths before heading back to Kampuchea. Haven't been in the US for a year and a half.

Lots of new cars, cars everywhere. No people on the streets, and no old ladies selling chili snails. Lots of hamburger places. Nice clean bay without plastic bags strewn everywhere. But no kids playing "The Shoe Game".

No cripples or thin bums with handcranked wheelchairs. Not too many people smiling or saying Hi, especially not so toothily and goofily.

Fresh air off the Marin Coast, able to hike without worrying about landmines or robbers...many plump women with blonde hair wearing fashionable, loose fitting black clothes. They are well educated, and they mean business. They drink Big Coffees from Starbucks. Clean streets, big houses, shiny California State Troopers. Price of gas very high, but no one seems to mind too much, lots of cars whizzing by with one sole occupant.

IPods, shiny new things, very plump new clothes.

Dogs well fed, well groomed. Ears pointing straight up, versus their flat-headed and careworn, titty dragging third world counterparts.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A Meeting with Two Top Khmer Rouge Leaders

(copied from HURRICANE, the uncut ongoing production diary of Camerado)

Went to Pailin with Long Heng and Hi, his colleague who used to visit former top KR leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, and met with both through great luck, with the hopes of getting their participation in an innovative, non journalistic documentary portrait about themselves.

Anyway, strange meeting with Nuon Chea first, aka Brother Number Two (Pol Pot was, of course, Brother Number One) After a long hard day on the road by bus and shared Toyota Camry, we arrived in Prum, the small town where he lives -- LITERALLY right next to the Thai border (so he can still make his escape if need be). The taxi let us out next to a Casino on the border, then a few motodops arrived to see where we were headed.

Hi told them we were headed to Nuon Chea’s house, and of course everyone knows where it is…headed down the small dirt road, now muddy a bit from the rain, mountains nearby fully wooded and shrouded in fog which rolled from the peaks.

Arrived at a small house, the house of his daughter. She greeted us at the door…first thing I recall is the beautifully manicured garden, neatly trimmed bushes, mindfully cultivated.

Anyway, she told us at first that we should come back later, since it was getting late, now almost 5PM, but somehow Long Heng convinced her that we needed to meet Nuon Chea and that we only had a short time. She asked us to sit and we waited on the porch, next to an empty glass case at a big wooden table.

A small boy rolled around on his bicycle, it still had training wheels. I nervously mutterd a few things, not wuite sure what I would say when it came time to try to convince hiim to be a part of our picture.

So the woman comes back and tells us it’s okay to go meet him; we go down a small path on the side of the house, towards a nother more modest Khmer house, traditional looking. An old woman waited on the poorch for us.

“Jiumpripsu” we all said, and she smilingly raised her own clasped hands to meet ours. Inside, through the open wondow, I could make out the dim form of Mr Chea himself. He wore his trademark dark glasses and his hair was neatly combed back, Godfather like, and slowly he sat forward so that we could now see him and talk to him through the window.

Long Heng introduced us, and then turned to me:

“It’s okay, you can talk to him in English, he can understand English.”

So I began—

“Ahem, yes, hello, uh sir, we have come here today—“

Nuon Chea interrupted, saying something to Long Heng very quickly, his square jaw working well. Of course I could hardly follow his Khmer, cause my Khmer is still not fluent, and my voice stuck in my throat in any case. The forms of all objects--leaves, the rail of the house, stood out defiantly against my eye, the objects conspiring against me and smooth speech.

Nuon Chea stopped talking and once again turned his attention to wards me.

“Go on” Long Heng said, “he’s listening”

“So, anyway, we’re here, you see because there are important things that we wanted to talk about. I’m his teacher, and he is my student. And hey don't worry, we're not journalists —“

At this word, journalists, Mr Chea suddenly broke in again and said a few more things, very quickly, began his own quick speech.

I turned to Long Heng

“Go On” he instructed.

So I peered up again at that square face, the dark glasses peering down at me, studying me, all of us, the smiling face of Hi quietly nearby. The kindly face of Nuon Chea’s wife, the old woman, up on the porch.

So I continued to try to make my case to him, that we had come such a long way to meet him, and that he should take part in our movie. But then, just as I was getting on a roll, just as I wa warming up and my old persuasions had risen up, Nuon Chea slowly faded back and into the shadows, saying something matter of factly and quickly to Long Heng, saying it with cold precision and concrete finality.

And I knew, alas, we would not be able to convince him to be in our movie.

Indeed, when he raised his hands and said “Arkun Ch’ran” , then settled onto his bed, his face now lower in the window and deeper in the shadows, I knew we’d been given the brush off.

I stood there dumbly a minute, looked over at Long Heng.

“He says thank you”
“So we should go?”
“Yes. We should go now”
“Oh. Okay. Arkun Chran” I said a bit numbly, raiseing my clasped hands and bowing slightly.

Mr Chea’s face was stony, unimpressed. But his kindly wife raised her clasped hands to us and smiled.

And so we left, to head back to the trail and think of how things might have gone if we had done things differently, if I had done something different with my delivery, my speech…

But Long Heng was convinced when we left that nothing would have convinced Mr Chea to be involved in our picture, that he could not have been moved in any case. And at least we had tried.

We headed backdown the trail, without motodops, past curious families who also knew their neighbor well and wondered what we might have said to him.

Later, at the Hotel of a Casino up on the hill we drank a coffee and some soy drinks, and we decided that we would approach Mr Khieu Samphan the next day, and that we might have better luck. (and indeed, as it would turn out, we did...more on this meeting later)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Important Materials Now Online for SUSAN HERO

Now that we're gaining momentum with our second feature, SUSAN HERO (is tough to put in the time, since I'm in the thick of completing a massive biodiversity doc for Wildaid, Cambodia), there are a few important items now online:

The SUSAN HERO PRESSKIT (3 MB)

The SUSAN HERO TRAILER

The radio spot for BIG VENDETTA
(the newly released, fictitious movie within a movie which is playing at the multiplex where Susan works)

An interview with BIG VENDETTA star, Chuck Wing


...more items coming soon, as we continue to polish the cut and begin to submit to fests!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Still alive...and still enjoying life!

Well,no further run ins for now with the psychoticmissionary,so for now at least I can breath easy and enjoy life once again.

On another note,no breakthroughs with SUSAN HERO, our cloning road movie, and I fear that I mayy have to go back to the US in order to oversee and assist with another edit to furthersmooth and polish it, hopefully nothingmore substantial than this.

Problem is I'm all tied up now with this new Wildaid biodiversity doc and I'm not sure when I'll have the time to go back tothe US. Has been almost a year and a halfsince I set foot there, somehwat ambivalent about going back.

My Khmer is improving and I'm now able to meet and chat with plenty more Cambodian women (see photo); still having trouble with the alphabet, but I find that editing amovie in Khmer, having to listen tothe words over and over again, helps tremendously.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Death Threat Surrounding SUSAN HERO!!

Don't have much time to post, but I had an intense discussion the other day with a representative from one of the local missionary groups here (many of these in Cambodia), and the guy had somehow heard about SUSAN HERO, Camerado's newly completed feature -- see www.camerado.co for trailer, etc

Anyway, as you may or may not know, SUSAN HERO deals with human cloning on a very non-sci fi, down to earth "what if" level. This cloning element does not sit nicely with most religious groups as you can imagine.

So this guy stops by to chat, after "learning" about my movie from some source he refused to identify. And we sat and talked for a while, and gradually it became apparent why he'd stopped by: his group disagreed with the message of SUSAN HERO and they would prefer that I do not move forward with the release of the movie!

Well I firmly but politely told him that there would be no way I could not release the movie now. Besides, I told him, the movie is a valid comment on our time, and it holds some social issue significance as well.

He sort of gave me a weird look, a very intense, quivering sort of expression on his face. He stood there for a long time, giving me this weird look, not moving. I shrugged and showed him the door...

A couple days later, I'm riding near my office at night and I hear what sounds like a large firecracker, but far more percussive -- definitely a gunshot. Almost simultaneously, I feel a jolt which sort of lifts me a little from the motorcycle.

Not knowing what was up, I headed back to my office and switched on the lights outside to take a look--

A bullet had passed right through the seat of the moto.

I suspect very strongly that it was the missionary, opr at least one of his coolies. I would say that I knew it was his handiwork, except that I didn't actually see him.

So now, what to do: hold back on the release of the movie, or throw caution to the wind and let it loose? I think the latter, but at what price?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Back from shooting in the Jungle (part 1)

Back from the first one week shoot in the Southern Cardamom Mtns, [for Wildaid] very remote shooting conditions -- generator and batteries strapped to motos, riding through the very narrow winding paths between villages (Thma Bang to ChhunNopub, Chun Noub to Chi Phat) walking sometimes because the inclines are too steep and narrow for our motos. My driver almost bought the farm as he was waling his moto over a rotting improvised log bridge over a crevasse, I grabbed his arms and steadied him from the abyss...

Wildlife, larger mammals at least, was not easy to see, but did catch some great bird activity on the mangrove channels near Bokum.

Only damage to myself: one tick on my ankle which I found wafter our kidney killing moto ride from ChunNoub to Kurtz-ian river town of Chi Phat, where I pulled the runt out with my medical tweezers, first time they've come in handy actually.

More later and more leisurely described in HURRICANE, but spent some time out with local rangers who showed us the incredible range of snares poachers use to catch picgs, deer, Pandolins, even Tiger. Rows of confiscated chainsaws, old captured sontraband Siamese croc skins on the wall. Herons on the trees lining the mangrove channels.

Also: timesless meeting with beautiful young woman in Tata, she was one of a group of basket weavers we stumbled upon as we made our way up the river bank, talking to locals. As she left, with her small daughter, rowing her boat across the river, she smiled at me--my heart melted and floated away.

I have the urge to return to the jungle as soon as I cut this doc to start a new race of moviemakers, with her or others like her, and there I shall stay for good. More than an urge actually, as I return to scrappy Phnom Penh...I will go back there as soon as I can, to roam the riverbanks and hills.

Still pushing SUSAN HERO which is being assiduously tweaked in NYC by co-editor "G". Next submission: Cannes, via priority, in a matter of days.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Same Same -- But Different

Lotsa things happening, too numerous to mention. No bloggae for a while, have been working on HURICANE instead, which will be pubslihed as a cheap Cambodian pulp novel upon release of Susan Hero.

Speaking of which, Filmmaker Magazine has posted a great update of our exploits, with the slight misinfo regarding our shoot (which took place in working class, run down locations in Albuquerque, not Santa Fe...oh well...the blurb is still highly appreciated.

Anyway, now gearing up to helm a biodiversity doc in the remote Cardamom Mountains, one of the last global biodiversity hotspots, and truly wild and in some places still uncharted (first biodiversity survey over was conducted there in 2000)

So, as we wrangle equipment and try to prepro as best we can here in Phnom Penh, myself now also having to move simultaneous to the prepro action _-not helpful-- my trusty Khmer Associate producer Chan Norn and I returned from the last gatherings of our essential items, esp mosquito nets as there is a very resistant form of Malaria in the Mt Samkos area where we will be shooting part of the time...also stocked good quantities of Malarine.

Thanks to Christine Rush, Cameradohad a booth at the Bangkok Film Market--the first ever attendee by a Cambodian company (myself and Chan Norn attending and eating free food courtesy of Jameson)

NOw tired and pecking belatedly here before we vanish intot he wilderness; will have a small generator and voltage regulator strapped to one of our motos for power during the shoot.

As if an omen of good luck, I rounded the corner of Long Ngeth and Sisowath to spy Sambo the elephant simultaneously jettisonning Wonderbread sized turds onto the pavement, while letting loose with a bucket like gusher of steaming piss--

And I saw the most blissful expression I ever have witnessed on her face (the elephant, I mean)

More later,

Thanks to Filmmaker Mag (again)

JR

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Okay Guesthouse

Just a quick clarification regarding the Okay Guesthouse, which appears in an earlier post and therefore seems to be a de fact positive report on the place:

I left the Okay Guesthouse originally because

1) my stuff which was being held there was stolen, supposedly in a safe room. But when I came back, I found my papers missing, English teaching materials gone and scattered, etc. Later, the owner found my PADI scuba card and returned it to me

2) the thin, suave Khmer guy who works there (and some others) can be a real prick, very insulting and condescending. This I personally experienced last March wqhen he was so rude that I nearly got into a scuffle with the bastard...yet, yesterday (which is why I must clarify today) a friend of mine who had stopped by to ask directions to my place, in the Local Adventures building down the street, was rudely waved away as the guy told her:

"what , do I work for you?"

*This is AFTER I set up a friend of mine to stay there for ten days two months ago, and thus bringing them $100 of business!

Finally:

3) We endured a six month wave of unbearably loud construction next door, coming from the Okay Guesthouse. When I went to ask the boss when he thought they would be finished, he indicated thast they would be done "when they felt like it."

There you have it, some other perspectives on the Okay Guesthouse, which often gets great referrals and reviews from various travellers and guidebooks.

If you like the ususal "hipster" travel scene and want to stay inside and watch movies all day long, this may be the place for you--as long as there's no construction going on.

Some of the people working there are very nice, don't get me wong. But overall, I had mixed experiences with the Okay guesthouse, and I would not automatically flock there just because a guidebook tells you (and a hundred other hipster travellers) to.