Saturday, August 27, 2005

More on the Strange Object

Anyway, just thought I'd post these, a couple interesting observations about the metallic object I found in the jungle near Kebal Strung:

1) the compass on my Swiss Army knife spins wildly whenever I get within 4 or 5 feet of it

2) This morning when I woke up, I found a great deal of condensation on the surface, and a pool of water had formed around the base. It was cool to the touch--whereas everything else was room temperature (that is, warm to hot)

Planning on taking it to the Royal University of P P next week, to have it looked at, determine at least the source of the inscriptions, its composition, etc.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Strange Find in the Jungle

Was back up North in the jungle near the Sesan river doing some reshoots fro the NGo video, and one of our assistants came across what looked to be some wreckage of a downed American plane from Kissinger's Cambodian bombing days in the jungle...

...the perplexing thing is, the material looked very new, was very lightweight and--I know this sounds cliche--was covered in strange markings.

It was neither Khmer nor English, nor Russian. No one had any idea what it came from, but none of the guides would touch it.

Anyway, we took it to the local border station, but I brought a piece back here with me and I hope to post a picture of it online tomorrow.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Flashes of Life Behind

As I ride the humble Daelim motorcycle through the streets of Phnom Penh at night, perhaps on my way to Zeppelin Rock and Roll cafe, I catch glimpses of some shuddering moments I left behind: travelling all the way from New Mexico to New York for two job interviews, one with my Alma Mater (NYU--a mediochre use of bucks and time)the other asa potential DGA Trainee.

The first, I went and interviewed buyt never even heard back from them, never even received a "thanks for coming", this again from my own Alma Mater...

The other, well I made it to the next round of the very selective process, bu tthey kept asking me, based on my resume:

"You like to make films, do you think you'd be happy in this program where you'd just be supporting a production?"

YES--I thought and said, dying for a break, a gig in my field after starving for so long out West trying to push the picture forward.

I remember the anonymous, mean highways of time, Rich and aI slid off the road in his Plymouth Sattelite just after a short rain, there was a hairpin turn on the road and we blew it. Thus we skidded through a farmer's fence and into his muddy cowfield.

We stood at the side of the road for a long time, trying to get one of our fellow "Leave No One Behind!" patriotic Americans to stop their minivan so as to at least help us call a tow truck, dice. They all swooshed by with their Big Gulps in hand and stared at us, dough faced, out their windows.

Finally a big pickup stopped. It was full of Mexican farmworkers. They immediately uncoiled a big chain from the back of the pickup and with one sprightly yank, plucked us out of the mire.

I remember these thoughts and more as I look back on my times in the USA...

Stayed up all last night loading the second half of the footage for Susan Hero. Will now haul ass and leave a monkish existence getting it finally cut together.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Ye Olde Kicke Affe Motione Pictures

Yea, verily I chip away at the indigenous doc whilst I continue cutting Susan Hero; as for the latter, now figuring out how and when to load the second half of the material (15 more hours) which will be the final batch of material needed to make the picture ocme together.

Will I make the Sundance submisison deadline in October? Hope so, but if not, then f*ck it, the movie's ready when it's ready.

Some limitations are: very few NTSC decks to be had here, and I need one to load this NTSC footage. The Windows machine functions well, though Quicktime is a more robust format I think than .avi.

Besides this: no more teaching, that gig ended as mentioned ( I think), some late night sessions at Martini's restaurant / girl-garden, installing software, troubleshooting back to the Internet cafe since we're changing our service provider, over here in Kampuchea you have to pay by the Megabyte for web traffic and this can lead to the usual corruption and overcharging on the part of the service provider.

Peanut butter, bananna and blackcurrant jam sandwhiches for breakfast; seafood soup or Lok Lak for lunch; pork shishkebabs for dinner; pasta and tuna fish when money's tight; pineapples and papayas from the fruit man's wagon; Special Three Ply sandwhiches from Mondo BUrger when I'm busy editing or too lazy to go out (delivered for 500 riel).

Sounds like the old days in New York! (Except my rent, office included, is ONE FOURTH what I was paying, and I'm actually being paid at last to work in my field, on commission.)

By the way, and this is mentioned at length in HURRICANE, the hard copy version of this Blog, seems like the Cheerleader and the Embezzler (GW and Cheney, respectively)
are finally being found out for what they always have been: shams, deceptive con-men who have latched onto the teat of America for far too long.

To wit: the other week I took worm pills to make sure I harbored no parasites. It's high time America took some worm pills to get rid of those con-men once and for all--the whole Iraq war being nothing more than an elaborate front from which to profiteer.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Late Night Loading Session

Rode merrily to Monirith's place to rent his deck only to discover that Allan' canon camera tapes wouldn't play on the Sony deck to to an incompatibility issue: thus, when my true nature required me to swing vine to vine, I was stuck as a computer geek AGAIN trying to figure out the problem. Finally Monrith and his younger bother showed up with a camera to use as a deck, but battery issues kept usdown.

He then calleda friend who brought a new camera--but itwas a Sony, and it suffered the same fate as the deck!

Finally, Monrith's friend bring s another battery and charger for the first camera, thus I can load the crucial footage--

But then the digitzer from Premiere Pro flunked out--

So then I fired up Sony Vegas andused it's digitizer, with the hope oflater importing those clips into Premiere--

But then I discovered the original clips wouldplay after all (sorry, iBook nowusedforBlog as windows machineis digitzingas Iwrite,and the iBookhas a bad space key)

Went out to the neighborhood beer stand, dranka coke and aBlack Panther stout. At the end ofthe break,as I left,I spied abeautiful girl fromthe dancehallsitting near the stand, but she said nothing tome,only motioned as I saidhelloand goodbye:

"She can'tspeak, and shecan'thear"

Ah...but herface wasso clearandalmond like, I made a gesture with my hand and suffered to find a way to talkwith her somehow.

She gestured tomeand madean eatingmotion.

"What'sshe want?"I askedmy Khmerfriend who tends the stand

"She wants 500Riel for somewater"

I gave it toher,but left,and thought of her the wholeway home.

"Howcan I meet her?How can I find outhername?"

Andstill,I think of her now...

[The oldKrung lady fromratanakiri, she looks likemy English/Irish grandmother ,she'son camera nowI can hear heras the tapedigitizes]

Monday, August 01, 2005

Welcome the New Machine

After much research and scraping, bought a new windows workstation which I'll use to cut the NGO gig; nice machine, fast Asus motherboard, nice graphic card, etc...problem is I'm a Mac guy and never owned a Windos machine, thus many quirks and annoyances...two hours spent trying to network them together til my eyes got sore from the screen, felt like throwing both into the bamboo pool...

Lots of stuff happening though, new gigs appearing based on the first one, which represents lots of cas$h if I get them. Paradoxically, I'm once agaiun down to my last few dollars after getting the machine setup, after getting my visa extended (another six months, in case I head up NOrth again to do something remote, want to have it already)...also offered a gig (tentatively) as a game producer for a reality TV show which will be shooting in Vitenam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.

The job of the game producer is to skip ahead of the rest of the crew with a technical sidekick and translator and set up the various games and challenges that are such an integral part of the realkity TV genre: decode the monk's hidden riddle; swim the swamp to the nearby temple; swing from vines til you reach the amulet; wade thorugh a pit of vipers til you exit the labyrinth. Etc.

Anyway, many new giigs sprouting, but I'm still teaching and shall derive much needed bucks from the next paycheck as the cash flow dribbles to a halt--unless the NGO can make a new advnace before the rough cut is completed. Wasn't poor planning really, just the back to back expenses of shooting and then setting up the edit system exceeded the estimate for the amount of advance money I'd need.

My BDay tomorrow. May my 37th year be less tough than the last, I honestly don't think I can survive another year like the last one...

Now I take a brake from grading papers and listen to Robert Johnson in my lair:

"Correct the following jumbled sentence: We had replanted after the garden the walked through it elephant."

Ah yes, almost as an afterthough. Had to separate the rough cut of Susan Hero in to four parts, since my laptop is still not fast enough to handle the whole thing otherwise. Making tweaks and sweeping through all the tapes from the first pass of digitizing in preparation of the second and last batch of tapes (another 16 hours or so).

My ultimate goal will be to migrate the cut from the Mac onto the more robust and faster Windows machine which is now running Premiere pro, and that will likely involved transferring via homemade network almost 200 Gigs of material from the Mac.

Fun fun fun. I think next time I'll cut with film again for old time's, tactile sake.