Thursday, January 18, 2007

DBCV15: Snow!

To truly embrace the student (deadbeat) life, I have been walking all over the place. No car for me, no sir. It is a little bit harder to get around now that there is snow everywhere but it is oh so nice to look at, even as my fingers are going numb and my glasses are fogging up.

Here is a montage of pics I took on one of my frequent walks around town. Keep in mind that my fingers nearly fell off from the cold while taking these pictures:

The song, "20 Years of Snow," is by Regina Spektor and it has some haunting lyrics:

He's a wounded animal
He lives in a matchbox
He's a wounded animal
And he's been coming around here

He's a dying breed
He's a dying breed

His daughter is twenty years of snow falling
She's twenty years of strangers looking into each other's eyes
She's twenty years of clean
She never truly hated anyone or anything

She's a dying breed
She's a dying breed

She says I'd prefer the moss
I'd prefer the mouth
A baby of the swamps
A baby of the south
I'm twenty years of clean
And I never truly hated anyone or anything
Twenty years of clean
Twenty years of clean

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

DBCV14: Scott Walker

Scott Walker is an American singer/songwriter who has been making dark, tortured, brilliant music since the 60s. Years ago, I was given a mix tape of his work by someone who worked at Amoeba Records and it changed my life.

Walker has avoided fame and keeps to himself. He is a loner who makes music he believes in outside the limited confines of the music industry. He has lived in England for much of his adult life and he has experienced his fair share of suffering.

Walker's own original songs of this period (late 60s) are a late, last flowering of a dark Romanticism tinged with Surrealism and Existential angst. They are influenced by Brel and in some inchoate way, the writing of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus and early twentieth century European thought, poetry, art and music (despite the fact that by then Existentialism was waning as a philosophical and literary fashion).

Walker explored European musical roots while paradoxically expressing his own American experience and alienation. He was also inching to a new maturity as a recording artist. This would bear incredible fruit with his marvellous country recordings in the early seventies. - Wikipedia

Walker, who is 63, has one of the greatest voices in pop history, and in his younger days, when he battled orchestras as part of the sixties pop group the Walker Brothers, he was not afraid to use it. What he has lost—not much—in fullness over the years, he has more than compensated for by developing a unique, quasi-operatic style. He will twist a word, and a line, inside out, stretching vowels, leaving syllables to die in the air, gliding imperceptibly up and down his register. It is theatrical, designed to wring shades of meaning from diamond-hard lyric fragments. And also purely musical—if meaning remains elusive, and it often does, well, confusion still sounds gorgeous.

If it is rare to find artists working at their creative peak into their sixties, it is rarer still to find one releasing his most radical work yet. The Drift is Walker’s first album in ten years and third in 30, after 1984’s Climate of Hunter and 1995’s Tilt. It will be followed by a documentary, Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, in which everyone from Radiohead to Brian Eno lines up to sing his praises. This extraordinary trilogy exists entirely in Walker’s own, self-invented musical world, and it is not an easy world to enter. The music is dark, velvety, and almost motionless, yet full of tension. Sometimes, it sounds like an aria; at others, like industrial noise.

- The New York Times, Ben Williams

And did I forget to mention, he looks super hot in tight jeans! Also, he seems to have a love for this one red scarf that he wears in almost every picture taken in the 60s. Hmmm.

Here is a vlog I did on him for the January episode of The Deadbeat Club:

Friday, January 05, 2007

DBCV13: Happy New Year

William looks up, head still full of sludge, so that he can only stare dumbly at the sudden apparition of his two best friends, his inseparable Cambridge cronies, Bodley and Ashwell.

'Won't be long now, Bill,' cries Bodley, 'before it's time to celebrate!'

'Celebrate what?' says William.

'Everything Bill! The whole blessed Bacchanalia of Christmas! Miraculous offspring popping out of virgins into mangers! Steaming mounds of pudding! Gallons of port! And before you know it, another year put to bed!'

'1874 well-poked and snoring,' grins Ashwell, 'with a juicy young 1875 trembling in the doorway, waiting to be treated likewise.'

- The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber

Well, there goes another year - glug, glug - and here's to hoping that 2007 brings all sorts of new exciting life lessons to this lackluster deadbeat - clink, clink! As per usual, this New Year's Eve was a mixture of all things good and bad.

NYE highlights: Suzanne using her savoir faire to slip to the front of a 200+ drinks line; Scott slyly spiking our drinks underneath security guard's watchful noses; my sister tipsy (always a pleasure); Lani's impressive sass to the snooty doorman and her stunning lace dress; Suzanne's bossy drunken side that forced a group of girls to do schnapps shots; Suzanne tipsy (hours of entertainment); checking out the hottest trends among today's youth; watching the bottom feeders looping around their tank over and over again with their droppy mustaches; people watching from a variety of vantage points; learning about Champ and ships that sunk in Lake Champlain; hiding in a sunken shipwreck; watching the fireworks from a killer vantage point.

NYE lowlights: shitty music; shitty white rapper-wannabes; shitty people; shitty DJs; shitty doorman; shitty flashbacks to awkward middle school dances; not enough booze; no desire to dance due to shitty music; only baloney to eat; too cold and snowy for high heels; freezing rain at 3am.

What can I say, I've never much enjoyed NYE. This one promised to be especially wretched but with the help of some good friends, fireworks, booze, Prime Suspect and late night popcorn, it was not all that bad after all.

Here is my first vlog of 2007, DBCV13: Happy New Year, featuring the fireworks on the Burlington Waterfront:

Check out my pal Molly's shot by shot detailing of her pre-New Year's Eve Day with her drop dead gorgeous baby Ivo - seriously, what a dreamboat! Molly's blog post, lots of hot tea, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and knitting have managed to get me through this long New Year's Day.

DBCV12: VCAM Shoot

Seth had a great idea to make a VCAM (Vermont Community Access Media) commercial that will eventually air on local channels. So they asked some of their producers to come down and shoot some bits at the VCAM studios. Bill even blogged about it here and here (the second is a post about THIS post! PGUON).

Saturday was rainy and the sky was dark and overcast. Inside the cozy VCAM studios, Seth, Bill and Brad were working like busy bees to get each shot set up to perfection. My bit was pretty simple. I sat at an IMac and uploaded videos to YouTube. What, no lines?

The funny thing was, doing nothing was really hard to do! When you have a face like a clown and energy pouring out of your eyeballs, sitting still at a computer without making any faces is really tough! So if I make it into the final cut of the commercial, I will probably have an awkward pained expression which is what happens to me when I try to appear "normal" (just how does one do that anyways)?

The other amusing thing about this shoot was how professional it was. Each shot took much time to light and set up. This was especially humorous when compared to the final installment of The Offasty that we were shooting haphazardly at work last week.

Because we were in the process of moving offices, attending Xmas parties and "working," we had to shoot little bits here and there on the DL. In my head was a vague rough draft of the plot and I tried really hard to check off shots mentally and keep continuity roughly in check. Each of us took turns holding the camera, including my mom who happened to be there.

So the final scene has awful coverage, crappy ass lighting and is being held by a 72 year old hand. Still, we never would have managed to get this thing done if we had played by all the rules, lit properly, locked off shots and set things up perfectly.

I guess in the long run, I am more of a guerrilla filmmaker than a fancy professional. Granted, I know I need to learn the "right" way to shoot things so then I can actively choose to do things as I please. I hope to learn the "right" way to do things in school this year!

In the meantime, here is a vlog displaying this funny juxtaposition of shooting styles:

DBCV11: Christmas!

DBCV11: Christmas! in which the deadbeats unwrap their presents and discover many goodies: slippers, yoga clothes, Urban Decay make-up, books, paper supplies, lots o'socks, Ab Fab and lots of old fashioned love!

It is pretty good to be a deadbeat and even better when your sister makes a feast fit for a king. This deadbeat spent Christmas day relaxing with some Absolutely Fabulous, left-over Christmas present knitting, and her brand new foot bath!

And then over to Bill and Emily's for some treacherous Mafia fun (me thinks Margot is hooked) in which I managed to kill an entire town by accident. Oops... ;)

Aaaah, life is good.

And remember, like The Specials sing in the following vlog montage:

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think
Enjoy yourself, while you're still in the pink
The years go by, as quickly as you wink
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it's later than you think

DBCV10: Happy Holidays

For many years now, I've been busting my ass to send out hand drawn Christmas cards far and wide. I even managed to mail them in 2005 when I was working Sundance in Salt Lake City (granted, that was a crappy card).

This year was too hectic to get cards out in time so I made a video card (also a wee bit on the crappy side but think of all the saved paper!). It is more info than you would ever care to know about the deadbeats as they look back on 2006 and forward to 2007.

Like a pack of hummingbirds on crack, the deadbeats cover lots of ground: The Road Warrior, red giants, white dwarves, eye lifts, flat screen TVs, 250 woody plants, trees and shrubs, dancing with office supplies, peak oil, sunsets, The Pogues, the lake, clouds and amputated testicles.

It's just another average day in the deadbeat universe. What will the future hold for this family of deadbeats? Watch and see...

DBCV9: Montreal

Time for a trip across the border with Eva and Scott:

DBCV8: VT Sunset

Oh my, what a weekend. Is a new week really starting again...already? I need a weekend to recover from my weekend please! Sheesh, it seems I barely have time to have a weekend and blog and vlog about said weekend before a new week begins!? NOT FAIR!

Many thanks go out to the fabulous Seven Days crew for letting me tag along to my 2nd Seven Days XMas party (also thanks to my sister for bringing me!). Those cats know how to throw a damn fine holiday bash with tasty food (thanks Plan B), booze a plenty and a gift exchange to rival all others.

Just how does Diane the Santa do it: handing out gifts, engaging in witty reparte and keeping her drink fresh?! Duh, in leather pants of course! Tee hee!

Thanks Pamela and Paula! You guys and your gang are the best, no wonder your paper is so damn good!

A fun Saturday afternoon trip to a junk shop in Richmond lead to many musty smelling finds, some of which will be under the Christmas tree this year. Scott walked away with a bunch of Life magazines from the 20s and 30s to collage with. We marvelled at all the happy faces contained within - were people happier in the old days or were they just better at faking it?

I left decked out in fine jewels and laden down with many mildew covered books about the human body and true crime. Nothing like a day spent driving along snow covered VT roads and poking through dusty piles o junk that no one else wants (vlog to follow later, me hopes).

It is a funny thing about auditioning. It never gets any easier, at least, not for me. I can count on two hands how many auditions I have been to in my lifetime and they still fill me with apprehension. Even though I know and love Lois Trombley, my amazing and wonderful dance teacher, I was still dreading auditioning for her dance troupe, Speilpalast Cabaret on Sunday. Wouldn't staying in bed with a nice book and a cup of tea be a far better way to spend my time? Eh?

Of course, I was being totally silly because I auditioned for Spielpalast last year and had a blast. Definitely a fun way to spend a Sunday and far more fun than most uptight auditions, it is more like a happening dance class with improv to boot!

So after dragging my butt out of bed and down to the Rose St Coop, I was pleased to see that I knew most of the other people auditioning, small world! And we had an entertaining afternoon acting, dancing, singing, making funny faces and playing make believe. So thanks Spielpalast for the fun audition and I am glad I got my butt out of bed!

Finally, time to unwind after the auditioning adrenaline rush with beer and burgers at VT Pub and Brewery and then down to the waterfront in time for the magnificent sunset over Lake Champlain. And to commemorate, here is another vlog which is dedicated to Nelson Muntz of The Simpsons (who knew he had such a complicated backstory?):

"HA HA! I touched your heart!" - Nelson Muntz, The Simpsons

DBCV8: VT Sunset

DBCV7: Dating Tips

Yes, yes, I know this is too long to watch (Steve) but what can I say, I am learning how to self-vlog-edit, slowly. This here is a video response to a dating dilemma posed by "Marti" on my "Introducing Fuchsia" post.

I do not know who "Marti" is or even if she/he is a boy/girl, straight/gay, American/British or perhaps she/he is just spam? Still, it is an interesting question, one many of us face:

What to do when the fellow you fancy stops calling?

Below is my long, rambling answer with some help from my favorite films and Animal Husbandry by Laura Zigman:

DBCV6: Junk Shop

Buy, buy, says the sign in the shop window;
Why, why, says the junk in the yard

Paul McCartney

In which Eva and Scott explore a junk shop in Richmond Vermont and find many obscure, mildew-covered goodies and ancient remnants of the past.

Best of all are the Life Magazines and their ads full of sickly sweet, forever-smiling happy people. Some of my favorites are the Camel ad which joyfully proclaims that "More doctors smoke camels than any other cigarettes."

Oh, you don't say! Not to mention the fact that Camels do not cause throat irritation. Lung cancer, maybe, but no throat irritation! Hurrah, pass me that butt!

And I especially love the bandaid ad which proclaims, "Never neglect a thorn stab." You would think the population was full of thorn stab holes! Perhaps we are? And of course, every fellow wants that "Just combed look all day long."

The great thing about these ads is that they are not all that different than the ads nowadays. It is all the same crap being sold: Coke, Bud, sugar, cars, bandaids, hair gel, underwear, shoes. And they are selling it the same way they always do: Your life is incomplete without this insert product here.

On that note, the junk shop is the ultimate weapon for the anti-consumer this holiday season. Junk shops collect all the worn out, long forgotten items that supposedly should have been thrown out long ago.

The old magazines, books, dolls, knick knacks and doo dads that you are supposed to replace with something new and shiny - if you are a proper Capitalist that is. I mean, COME ON, you want to get ahead, right? You want to be the successful envy of your neighbors - then get out your credit card Buddy!

As we shop ourselves to death this holiday season and buy bigger cars, smaller phones and even tinier IPods, you have to ask yourself, when will it all end?

In a big bloody Mad Max style oil crisis revolution? And long after this day comes, what will the residents of the future think of our sick consumer fascination with the "new" and the "better?"

In the future, perhaps only junk will remain. And the new things we currently hope so desperately to own will be piled high on our big pile o' junk. And the planet will be just one big junk shop with bartering and trade our only way of owning things.

The junk shop as revolution, dig it man:

Note to self, next time, bring my video camera and interview the cool old guy who owns the junk shop, or better yet, his neato wife!

DBCV5: Light My Fire

I am still trying to work out some sort of a format for my fledgling vlog (sheesh, I can barely get the hang of this here blog and now I am attempting to vlog - this is sure to end badly). DBCV5 is a little shorter (thanks Steve) and instead of making one big monster vlog, I tried to break it up into parts (the next 3 parts are upcoming and involve Scott Walker, Regina Spektor and most important of all, my new glasses).

I figure if I just keep on making them, some sort of a structure will work itself out eventually. That is sort of what happened with my cable access show, The Deadbeat Club. As unsure as I was when I was throwing together the first episode (at the last minute, what else is new?), I went through with it and turned it in to the station because I knew no one was going to watch it (talk about no pressure).

Over the years (we're coming up on our 3 year anniversary!), I shaped and molded the show into its current form and it is always evolving. It has been really fun watching the DBC reruns play because I can see what worked better then and what works better now. Some elements improved (sound transitions) and others changed drastically (more polished).

For instance, in the episode that played tonight, DBC9 from December of 2004, there were WAY too many movie clips and they interrupt far too often. The rhythm of the show suffers because the film clips keep busting in. Nowadays, I try to let the show play out more organically with longer talking bits and fewer cuts and edits. It feels better to let us mess up here and there and to keep the "fair use" clips to a fair minimum.

Still, who can say if The Deadbeat Club has really gotten better? In fact, as with the last time reruns aired, I got a nice email saying how the show was getting better and better. The only thing is, these are old episodes, so if they are better, does that mean we are getting worse? OK, too much thinking and nit picking is going into this here blog post and I have to wake up in 5 hours and deal with 3,000 little kids. Eeek! Time for bed!

So, after all that blabbing, here is another installment of the DBC Vlog. DBCV5 details the early December mood in Burlington Vermont, complete with our recent storms, our first snow, the holiday season and shopping galore.

And to cap it all off, make yourself a cup of hot cocoa, cuddle up with an animal and curl up by the fireplace (video monitor). This fire will keep you warm as the winds gust outside, Lake Champlain rages against the shore and winter creeps up on us...slowly...

DBCV5: Light My Fire

PS There are also some shout outs to Nathan in Austin, Texas and Tonci (and his dog!) in Split, Croatia!

DBCV4: Mix Tapes

I have wanted to do a weekly vlog for a long time now (thanks to Richard at Burlington Telecom for the idea!). Since I finally have some spare time on my hands (we love 4 day weekends!), I am playing around with different vlog formats and ideas.

Embedded below is experiment #4: a looong rant about mix tapes and how my musical tastes have been shaped by them and the people who gave them to me. Not to mention some readings from Nick Hornby's (whose name I butchered - egads, need spell checker!) High Fidelity about the art of mix tape making and its role in seduction.

If you have ever made me a mix tape, then you just might be mentioned in this video so beware! Most of the music is male but I guess that is cause most of these tapes were made by guys...hmmm...I guess the mix tape is a sort of dude thing:

Any comments are welcomed (such as, "omg, did you really stay up until 7am making this dumb ass video?"). I am still pretty unsure of what or where to go with this vloggey thingy (sort of how I feel about the bloggy thing as well!):

DBCV3: Office Monkey

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Late Wednesday night, most of our office had already fled the building as it was the day before Thanksgiving. As with most things I dislike, I had put off doing a loathsome invoice mailing all week and could put it off no longer.

Although there is something to be said for mundane, mindless jobs, I have a particular distaste for invoice mailings. Perhaps because I do them so often and it feels like each one brings me just a little bit closer to death's door.

To spice up the proceedings, I made this little video and asked the scintillating question, "Could a monkey do my job?" The verdict is still out. You be the judge.

Have a great Thanksgiving and be thankful that you are NOT a monkey doing invoice mailings!

Now this monkey can pig out and watch DVDs of The Office (check out this ultra dreamy montage of Pam and Jim), she's earned it!

Got no check books, got no banks. Still I'd like to express my thanks - I got the sun in the mornin' and the moon at night. - Irving Berlin

DBCV2: Apples

Mmmm, mmm, crunch, crunch, nnn, slurp, swallow. Nothing much can beat a fresh, crisp apple straight offa the tree. Tanner and Margot and I enjoyed a trip to Shelburne Orchards this weekend. Besides the overflowing bag of apples, the magical walk on forbidden land, the crazy ivy/tree sculptures and the colorful foliage, there was also hot pizza, fresh cider doughnuts and ginger spiced cider to boot!
Mmmm, munch, munch. We went home and made apple pie, apple crisp and pork chops with apple/gorgonzola sauce. Cannot stop licking my chops, hee, hee. Washed the whole day down with the Alan Rickman love-fest, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

And the question is, just how many apples can you eat until your tummy turns into an apple tree? Here is an Ink Spot's montage to celebrate the Fall Vermont goodness that was this weekend:

DBCV1: love

"Hello little do you do upon my back porch door?"

""I am hungry...where is my dinner?"

""Ooh, here is my appetizer! Fresh moth to munch on...chomp, chomp..."

""So fresh and juicy and alive! What a delectable treat! I can still taste her fluttering, paper-thin heart....mmmm..."

""She is mine, all mine. I will wrap my precious up tightly, snug as a bug, and slowly drain her of her life juices..."

""Oh - how I love you my tasty precious...munch, slurp, gulp..."