Saturday, March 6, 2010

dial up test

I'm catching up with 1995 by using a dial up connection in my house. There are no usable wireless broadband connections in the area and $50 a month is too much. So I opted for the $9 option but the high speed accelerator isn't working so this is the basic version. This is a test of how long it will take to upload a ten second video. Judging by the way the pages load it should be ready to view in about 5 hours. Also, if you call the 3301 number here in Portsmouth then you might get a busy signal. For those of you who have never heard a busy signal it is an annoying throbbing blast from your phone. It means I'm busy watching a page that says "Loading"

I did manage to get the high speed accelerator working but it's still pretty slow. If I can't stream music or porn then really there is no point.

Rabbit is Rich

I wonder if there really is a middle class man who thinks like Harry Angstrom. I think not.

"Why is my glass empty?" Janice asks.
"Losers buy," Harry virtually shouts. Such loudness years ago would have been special to male groups but now both sexes have watched enough beer commercials on television to know that this is how to act, jolly and loud, on weekends, in the bar, beside the barbecue grill, on beaches and sundecks and mountainsides.

You see? beer commercials on television training people about social norms. I found this very very interesting and perceptive because just last night I was waiting for my date to arrive at the bar (she never arrived or called) and a girl walked up to me and rambled something like, "Blah blah blah, I'm so fucked up. Sorry, I'm the douchebag tonight."
I said, "I'm the asshole. Nice to meet you, douchebag."
And she said, "I know you're a hippy,"
and if you could've seen my costume last night. Man, it was one for the ages. Someone has not walked into that tavern in plaid pants since 1978 and I strutted in with my Beatle Boots and grandfather necklace and crochet alpaca wool tam hat and every UNH ballcap turned around to look at me, hissing, "Hippy" I wish I had worn a Robin Hood cape. Actually, here's what I looked like...
I know, it's a real shock my date didn't show up (she probably saw me and did a quick 180)
"A hippy? What gave it away," was my reply.
She mocked Obama "I married a marine. I'm conservative, so fuck Obama." assuming I voted for him and I just laughed, "Uncle Tom got a constitutional law degree. That's all." She didn't think that was funny.

But more than that I observed the microcosm of the tavern and wondered what was going on. Then this morning I read Father Updike..." Have watched enough beer commercials... to know this is how to act."
And that really made me quiver because that was how I felt last night, like I was in a cliche drama and my weak attempt to throw a hiccup into the workings with a halloween costume did nothing. The karaoke "Finally, it happened to me right in front of my face and I just can not hide it......All By Myself, just wanna be...all by myself....And be a simple...kind of man....Let the music play....etc." and the drinking and the bartender's "What can I get for ya hon?" and all these parts being played so well without cameras and I wondered if we just rehearse the scenes we see on television. Even Jim was there and said "Feels like a scene from Cheers." because he knew everyone by name and was going to pick his son up at a school dance but didn't want to leave because he was feeling buzzed. I even saw Jeff and we discussed the proper way to clean a multi-story building.

And after watching Shutter Island I started to freak out thinking that indeed this was an elaborate movie set where we are all playing roles we learned on television and I actually got scared as I walked through the dark of night (too tipsy to drive) and had forgotten about being stood up by my date and I thought, Here's an idea for a documentary...I will film my life for one month, how it usually goes, and then for one month I will act completely normal. I will play along. I will do what the beer commercials have asked me to do because that's conventional and accepted. And we will compare them. It'll be Hippy Makeover. I'll go be a greeter at Walmart and direct people to Hannah Montana products. That would be so funny.
"Personally, I like apple ipods. I own dozens of them."

If you asked me why I live an unconventional life I would say it is because I'm pretty sure "convention" and "tradition" are being manufactured in marketing board rooms on whiteboards by coked out philosophy majors...and I can not be a part of it. Since I am smarter and better in every way than these grotesque corporate pawns I will sabotage their strategy by exposing it, perhaps by simply beating them at their own game, by reinventing convention. I'm a dissident. To those who called me a hippy I thought, "Keep your store-bought conventions."

So here's what I wrote when I got home...

Movie idea: A loser makes a bet that he can pretend to be a winner for one month. He meets the girl of his dreams who is love with a loser-ish person but is really meant for him. SO HE HAS TO PRETEND TO BE A WINNER TO WIN THE BET AND then win the girl back by being a loser.

Do the same thing in real life. Film it. Principle vs Practical. The animal vs the man.
Dilemmas include work, insurance, sex, meeting people, drugs, trash, diet, recycling, foods, stores, clothes.

Is an experience imagined the same as an experience? Are chemicals the same once you strip away the meaning? I would dance and sing if told I would die. But I’m alive and I don’t dance and sing. But I write about dancing and my words are songs sung with my fingers. I’m a translator.

The ceremony becomes an anecdote unless you observe it. That was my gift, I don’t know if it was a choice. I could see the anecdote as history, and not fable. But it becomes fable if you let it go. But it consumes you if you hold on. But it survives. And survival is our immortality.

I think someone spiked my drink. In fact, that douchebag girl did buy me some fruity vodka thing that probably had roofies in it. I woke up early this morning with a throbbing headache and stumbled downtown to get the car before it got towed. But that allowed me to refill my dishwashing liquid container for $1 with the good soap that doesn't smell like orange toxic chemicals. I'm going to do an energy audit of my house and determine ways to save resources. The first step is to use less plastic and purchase bulk detergent at the hippy store. It's cheaper and makes up for the overpriced almond butters.

Sandwiches of New England: Part III

I seem to be compiling a video record of myself eating my favorite sandwiches. I don't know when this started, but I remember in La Paz getting a torta de pollo on a grilled sweet bread roll and eating it with peppers on the beach and that was just about heaven for me. There's a video of that and I think that started my video review of sandwiches. There was a sandwich in San Francisco that was delicious too, I think it was called the Fo'Shizzle. It was a turkey club basically but I paid $2 extra for a cool name. Shaws makes one called "The Barnyard" and it doesn't cost more that $4.
Here's a home specialty that I make from time to time when I am feeling like haute cuisine. Croissant, grilled or toasted, fried egg or scrambled, usually a slice of swiss but I am reducing my cheese intake, and some ham. I eat ham instead of bacon because it's just easier to cook but if you are a bacon junkie then that works too.
I don't know if these kinds of videos are unintentionally repulsive or if I'm making some kind of political statement on the grotesqueness of America by eating on camera. You know, eating on camera is actually one of the biggest no nos in hollywood. Some actors will refuse to do it, like doing a scene without a makeup artist. There is no good way to look good eating food. A few exceptions occur with, I think, Brando eating some food in Godfather, but even in Goodfellas, food was everywhere, BUT NO ONE WAS EATING. There's a good reason for that because first of all it screws up the continuity of the amount of food on the table during one take to the next. See? There was one movie in Westwood I worked around and my job was to get Chinese food (Yes, that qualifies as a movie task) and the Chinese food was abundant because it had to be refilled any time someone took a bite or else they would spit the food out. You can't eat the food because it usually sits on a table for hours while light crews spill hydraulic fluid on the carpet of an associate producer's apartment. But when the director says "action" you have to pretend to LOVE the food. And if you have to do ten takes of a scene where you shovel pad thai into your mouth you see how any reputable actor would reject such an idea.
(That reminds me of a great great scene in Crimes and Misdemeanors by Woody Allen where he and Diane Keaton are watching...I forget the's like Singing in the Rain...anyway, they are eating Indian Food. Actually, eating it and talking with food in their mouths. Very very rare and that scene is an example of what it takes to make eating look like part of the scene: two experienced actors and a great director and a scene that is actually about bonding and how these two are comfortable around each other. So I guess, I'm comfortable around you to share my eating food with you.)
Anyway, that film I worked on will never be seen by anyone because not only was a black man forcing a white woman to sniff his leather glove, but the characters ate food at dinner. It was softcore porn destined for Hungary hotels. Awful. One of the worst scenes in cinema history in my opinion is in the movie 6 days 7 nights with Anne Heche and Harrison Ford. They catch a bird or ostrich and cook it and eat it and in the fire with grease on his face and as he laughingly shovels food into his face with his fingers, Ford plunges to the depths of humiliation. If you can think of another scene where Ford puts food in his mouth then let me know. It's rare is all I can tell you...for good reason. I don't think a person eats a single thing in all 6 movies of the Star Wars saga...except for Jaba the Hut eating that little lizard thing.

So, I think intentionally eating on camera is my statement of protest against the convention of showing people never eating. And also a statement on what it means to be an American. I'm eating. This is the man in the van eating food. We're going back to basics. Yes, it's a review of sandwiches, which is esoteric enough, but he will actually devour these sandwiches on camera without even trying to appear dignified. Food will fall out of his lips and he will suck it back in. It is grotesque and funny. But mostly, it is Warhol-esque because it is is performance art of me eating. I mean, if you want crazy then I'll give you crazy.
It's like, if someone asked you what you did yesterday you could say, "I watched a video of someone eating an egg sandwich." And that is a very funny statement.
"Why was he eating the egg sandwich?"
"He is reviewing sandwiches of the northeast. He eats them on camera and talks about them as he eats them."
"IS anything special about the sandwiches?"
"Nothing. Most of the time you can't understand what he is saying because his mouth is full. He rambles and eats. It's rather grotesque. He ate a meatball sub in front of a recently burned out hotel. All he could talk about was the marinara sauce."
"I'm intrigued. What's the link?"

See? It breaks down some kind of traditionally accepted norm of eating in private and recording and distributing worthwhile content. This is not worthwhile! NOTHING ABOUT THIS IS WORTHWHILE! It is my statement of irrationality. If someone asked me what I did this morning and I said, "Made a video of myself eating a sandwich." this is obviously absurd. And that is how I feel about everything these days.
So, this is part III. Part I was way back when I got the moes and bread box sub and ate them before the police rolled up on me. Then I had the meatball sub which is still fond in my memory.
And here is the croissant egg sandwich.
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.