Archive for April, 2011

Wandering around the Fox Lot taking photos at night…

April 28, 2011

Had another great day in LA today.

Someone's got to be passed out on a bus stop. Even in LA, the city of airbrushed glam, humanity persists.

Wound up at Fox for a panel discussion later in the day.

I can't help it. I was overcome with fanlike feelings.

And afterwards, just didn’t really leave. Wandered around the lot, taking photos of strange stuff in the dark.

I'll never forget my first episode of The Simpsons. Me, that very bad boyfriend, sitting cross-legged on Rob Amato's floor with Ben, Bianca and Carlos Amato and the very bad boyfriend, watching this NEW show.

These are real trees, but they don't look like they are.

These are not real penguins.

Someone chills in a room, reading the paper under floerescent lights...

Student crafty is better than this. It's got mountain dew in it.

This clearly isn't Philly.

I felt like a kid who’d sneaked into the school grounds with friends. Except without the vandalism, and without the gun-toting Math-teacher thing.

A mural. And a trailer with a skull and crossbones on the toilet door.

Right at the end, we found ourselves in New York. Or something. Basically we’d wandered onto the set of Bones. The editor guy I was with asked someone when they started shooting, commented that they’d be wrapping soon, allowing them to think we knew our way around or in some way belonged. Then we stood there, gaping. And after watching about 45 minutes of shooting, I can give you the scoop on Bones! In a forthcoming episode, a guy will talk to a girl in front of an old building and look really surprised.

I can’t tell you who the actors were or anything. Not cause I’m being secretive but because I almost never recognize famous people when I see them. I guess I just don’t care about fame, deep down. I want it, so I can make stuff, but I always forget how important it is to know who is already famous, so that you can get them to like you.

Safe my mate… a giant chicken claw waves goodbye

April 27, 2011

Nobody believes me about this chicken farm in Worcester, Cape Town, South Africa. Road safety is a huge issue in SA, so a lot of companies on dangerous routes use it in their advertising. This advert is by Rainbow Chickens, who “grow” chickens a bit more healthily than they’re farmed in the USA, but definitely mass-produce the meat.

If this makes you hungry, you're weird.

Their farms look just like prisons.

I’m alternating work on the final pages (first draft) my feature script, which involves a hippie with Aspergers and a mission to save the world from a Tyson’s-Style mega-meat-producer, with watching Food, inc.. I am once again seriously considering vegetarianism, because even free range organic chicken is slaughtered and scalded in its own shit. Unfortunately, my favorite meal in the world is roast chicken. What will win, I wonder? Brains, or the power of pure human greed?

PS: Actually the legs and head of the chicken are a delicacy in SA. The dish is known as Walkie-Talkie. How awesome is that?

No blogging. Filming in progress.

April 22, 2011

I haven’t been blogging. I’ve been working instead.

The door to the set of the short I wrote and directed. Each person in our group of five made one, worked on each others and on other people's. It's been a busy Spring "break". Thanks Alex Griffin for the photo.

Back next week.

Planned Parenthood gets stiffed by Boehner

April 9, 2011

Healthcare costs are too high. The Republicans seek to solve this problem by encouraging unwanted population growth. It’s all in the hands of a guy called Boehner. I think this is what they mean when they say “I’m laughing through my tears.”

As I write, America is threatened by enemies from within, with conservatives and not-quite-as-conservatives locked in a battle of lies, name-calling and mudslinging that mostly involves them accusing each other of being “extreme”. It seems like being “extreme” is much worse, here in America, than being “asshole”, “murderer”. Everybody’s desperately trying to prove that they’re “moderate”, which seems to be analogous to “fair”, as if being fair were about “not taking a side”, ever, for or against anything. By the time I’ve finished having coffee at a place opposite Amoeba Records (I know, it doesn’t seem real to me either!) a Government Shutdown may be in effect. It’s pretty much all NPR‘s been talking about all day – they interrupted it briefly with traffic reports and a story about the National Whistling Festival. Oh and a story about a priest in Poland building the world’s biggest Jesus statue.

The republicans are attacking two things simultaneously: Planned parenthood and healthcare, in order to give more money back to business in tax cuts. Yes, you heard right. They feel that healthcare costs are too high. Their solution is to ensure… UNWANTED POPULATION GROWTH.

And this email just hit my inbox…

Planned Parenthood
Dear Jean,
The unthinkable is happening today in Washington, and we urgently need your action.
As I write this, Representative John Boehner is caving to extremists in Congress and preparing to shut down the federal government because of their outdated and outrageous ideology, devastating the daily lives of millions of Americans. They will not rest until they have closed every single Planned Parenthood health center in the country, no matter the consequences.

Why am I getting mail from them? I was trying to make friends with them in the hope that they’d let me shoot my short film at their clinic. No chance of that. Thanks to crazy right-wingers who don’t want to pay for a child’s healthcare once it’s born but DO want to make sure every fetus gets popped out, Planned Parenthood is like a fortress, and they won’t so much as give you a form to fill out until you make an appointment.

Thanks to America's aging population problem, the streets are littered with creaky protesters who have nothing better to do than complain about stuff that's none of their business.

So I gave up on that. But I do still support their mission. And I can’t believe they’re under attack from a guy whose name sounds suspiciously like the slang term for an erect penis.

It’s the big things that count: 80s hair and “brick formation” seating

April 6, 2011

“It’s the little things that count”. Sure… keep telling yourselves that. But it’s usually not true. Here’s a great example of how much big things matter, as illustrated by the ways in which 80s hairstyles changed the design of move theater and theatre-theatre seating.

I learn something new every day, and not just because I live in a new country now – America, instead of South Africa – but also because I live in a new country where it’s possible to surf the web very fast and pick up new and useless information at lightning speed.

Today, while idly googling “Rwanda Liberation and Entrepreneurship”, I wound up on sites about “Rwandan Refugees threatened by South African coke dealers”, and from there traveled to “cocaine: history of” and next thing I knew I was looking at this photograph.

80s hair. It was designed to be big enough to hide your actions from overhead cameras while you snorted coke in public toilets. Which you needed to be on to get your hair cut this way. And so, the addiction cycle is born. For a more recent example see: Amy Winehouse.

One of the pictures took me to another site, where I found out all about why theater seating has changed so much. You see, before people had massive hair, theater seating looked like this.

Verona - Italy. By being raised slightly, you could generally see over your neighbor to the action on either side of them, or simply over their heads. Pigtails occasionally got in the way, but it wasn't too bad.

Then things changed. 80s hair was born, and suddenly, it was very, very important to create gaps in audiences. While theaters had already offered individual seats, in their efforts to be orderly, they’d lined the chairs up in neat, matching rows, assuming that people would simply be able to look through the gaps between the people in front of them. With 80s hair, that all changed.

You're going to need a lot more drugs than they're on to see through them. And they're on a lotta drugs.

To solve the problem, architects designing theaters during and after the 1980s combined two techniques. The old European technique of tiering, and the “brick formation”.

The creation of a slope just like those used in Greko-Roman amphitheatres gives the people in the cheap seats a hope in hell.

Brick Form Theory: Imagine the horizontal cement is an audience member. Now imagine the brick is their hair.

By raising the rows towards the back, they enabled people to see over the 80s hair. By staggering the seating, they enabled people to see between the 80s hair. The effect was satisfactory. However, years later, you’d still pay more to sit at the front of the theatre, where you were protected from the unexpected lingering effect of multiple rows of 90s hair. (Studies have proved that the cumulative effect of inhaling the perfume contained in cheap hair gel may be as, or more dangerous than passive smoking.)

Interesting, right?

Since the 90s, seating hasn’t needed to change. The movie theatres are so rarely filled to capacity that it’s no longer necessary to worry about people’s hairstyles, or even whether or not they choose to continue to wear headgear while indoors.

But the theaters remain, tiered and staggered. A quaint reminder of our ‘hairitage’?

What would you do for love?

April 4, 2011

Since I can’t answer that question I offer you, instead: 5 things I wouldn’t do for love, ever again.

There’s something awesome about sitting on a bench at campus making out. Just dark enough to be intimate. Just public enough to make it a little dangerous. It’s kink for good girls. It’s really, really, really-nice. I’m a fan.

People showed a failure to be witty in response to this sign, posted on a campus bench I hope to frequent one day. "I don't like the word love", and "Not that". C'mon.

While making out on benches on campus at night, I don’t like to think about the sad side of it all. What would I do? Who wants to ruin that feeling with the fear of what could be to come. What have I done for love? Oh, many things of which I am not proud – not because they were wrong, but because they were wrong for me. So I guess I’d only be able to answer that question when you put it in the negative: What would I never do for love, again? EVER.

This calls for a list. I’ll keep it brief and exclude “run in front of a car”, or “keep my mouth shut” or “stop drinking out of the milk carton in the fridge” and other obvious stuff like that.

1. I will never clean up after some guy: If a man needs a maid, he should hire one. Also it fills me with boiling resentment. After living alone for three years and learning to love it, there’s no way in hell I’ll ever compromise on this one again. This is particularly important when it comes to toilet etiquette – which precludes me from dating most women, too.

2. I will never fool myself again: Telling the truth about how I feel and demanding the truth doesn’t make me happy in the short term. It doesn’t make anyone happy. But it does save a lot of time. And I’d give anything to have those wasted years back. I’ve learned my lesson, and learned it the hard way.

3. I will never put his career before my own: My work is one of the things that makes me who I am. If a guy cares about me and digs me, he digs me for that too. The times I’ve stood behind a man have never been worth it. If anything, it’s been a problem for him too. For all the many awful faults almost all my serious exes are guilty of, loving weak women isn’t one of them.

4. I will never put my life at risk: This may seem weird, but it’s not uncommon for women to put their lives at risk. I stopped doing so the day I went off the pill 12 years ago, so that I would have an excuse to use a condom with my boyfriend, who I didn’t trust. This decision may have saved my life later on. I could put this another way: I’ll never kid myself about what love is, ever again. It is not patient, it is not kind… individual people can be on occasion. But love is vicious in the end. You play. You pay. Eventually. Even if only because you end up together for so long that you wind up changing his diapers. Massages have happy endings. Relationships don’t.

5. I will never wait til I am angry to pick a fight: When I wait til I’m angry, I do things I feel bad about, wind up apologising for them, and lose the argument not because I was wrong in the first place… but because I put myself in the wrong by the end. Such a waste of a good argument.

This sign wouldn't exist if people didn't do it... I came across in the video preview booth of an Adult World store. I was researching a column for, about a South African Porn film called "Kwaai Naai". Too cheap to buy it, I bought 20 minutes.

Here’s a link to “Deflowering the Bouquet”
“PLEASE DO NOT URINATE IN THE BINS”, a sign on the wall of porn booth No. 3 politely requested. What was a nice girl like me doing in a place like that?

That’s only five things to remember. I think I can do it.

Nothing like a bit of overshare to round off a Sunday, right? Hey, just be grateful I also keep a journal. You are being spared the worst.

…cause if God chooses to speak to humankind, hesheit’ll sure do it through you, Random Cracker #7

April 2, 2011

Just sharin’ – a friend of a facebook friend posted this. Reminds me of a massive sign I saw in West Hollywood on Wednesday that said JUDGEMENT DAY IS COMING! THE BIBLE GUARANTEES IT! Now that’s one page-turner of a book. Although the question is not so much “how” it ends but “when, God, when?”

People are so weird.

Have you noted that Twitter has never, ever verified the @god and @jesus twitter accounts. Coincidence?

Brothers and Sisters of America* – The overflow of the News24 Column

April 1, 2011

So it’s that time of the month again. Yes, you guessed it. My column for News24 hits the virtual stands. This latest is sure to lead to an online hazing for me, as they all do. Last time people got so mad they started insulting my teeth. Is it true? Are straight teeth more important to most Americans than the words that come out of my mouth? I kind like my skew teeth, along with my lumpy nose-profile. Screw you guys. They’re cute. They’re unique. They’re… cheaper. My parents spent the braces money sending me for music lessons instead and I’m glad they did. I also changed my column photo…

Grade this! I give it an A for Attitude and a D for Doggy. Whatever... I got your attention right? The only connection with my column topic is that the guy is a member of a Fraternity that got into trouble recently for a sexist email circulating... And no, that is NOT me in the photo. Don't you even read the like, news in South Africa? OMG WTF ROFL.

So, this week’s column is about Sororities, and Fraternities, and other Greek stuff. Greek means something totally different here to what it means in SA, although you wouldn’t guess that by looking at the picture above. What… you’re still looking at the picture. Oh, I’m sorry. Whenever you’re done… (Perezhilton has all the details but one: where the girl goes to school. The answer is UCLA – who also have a pretty good film school. Personally I don’t see what the big deal is. I mean, they’re consenting adults. And I bet having sex on a roof is awesome. I bet you’re all just jealous. Nothing this exciting ever happens at my school, Chapman… although we did just score some film school brownie points thanks to a recent announcement that we’re going to be making and distributing five low-budget student features every year. For more on that, go to this LA Times link.)

So, I did do my research, as you can see. Only joking, I also went to Wikipedia. And I googled it. And I didn’t watch Dying to Belong cause I know it’s a bunch of bullcrap. And I asked people what they thought. Most of them declined to comment, probably because they’ve read my column before.

Here’s this month’s column:

Brothers and Sisters of America
I was driving to a movie date with another student when a girl without pants stumbled in front of my car.
Read it on news24

Here are some of the things people said on the topic.

Michael McClelland – @magicmike1313 on twitter
Michael may let me publish his full comment. Here’s part of what he said…
“I enjoyed your perspective on fraternities and sororities. I would caution, however, that the more sensational stories about them tend to get most of the headlines and are often untrue. Hazing is universally banned in the Greek community, and though it still obviously occurs, that is almost always the fault of the school’s policies and not the fraternity/sorority. The second hazing is reported in any chapter of any nationally (“internationally” haha) recognized Greek institution, it is shut down, usually with a zero-tolerance policy. We had two chapters in our region accused of hazing and both were closed for five years, at which point they could be invited back on – but on probation. Similar punishments occur for drinking offenses, low GPAs, or any kind of sexual misconduct. I had to jump out of the window of my own fraternity house with two bottles of beer taped to my hands (Edward 40-hands) so that we wouldn’t lose our charter.”

Right. So it happens, but not legally. And it’s the school’s fault for not stopping it. All I want to know, is what kind of misconduct he was being punished for. I bet Perezhilton wants to know, too. Unfortunately I only got Mike’s stuff after I’d submitted. I encouraged him to publish a full version somewhere, if not on my blog.

Rose Cohen @rose_cohen on twitter
Responded to my question to South Africans. I asked whether we had anything comparable to sororities. She said:
“Hmmmm. Can’t really be much help here. I went to TUT (Tswane
University of Technology). It’s an Afrikaans institution in Pretoria.
We had horrible HKs (short for Huis Kommittee/House Committee) in res.
There was one per floor and there were 12 floors in our res. They were
like prefects. They met every Monday evening and then came back to us
minions with news/rules from the front such as:
1. Thou shalt not sleep over at a men’s res.
2. Thou shalt wear a dress on a Sunday (true story I fucking HATED
that, eventually I stopped getting out of bed on a Sunday).
3. Thou shalt choose a theme for your floor and decorate it. (Hated
that too, so childish. We did under the sea  one year and a space
theme another, whoo hoooo).
So our HKs wore a uniform: navy skirt, navy high heels, navy blazer.
They were voted into place by us minions to be holier than thou,
because they DID sleep over at the men’s res.
Not sure if that ties in with sorority.”

Kelebetsung Scheppers (@kelescheppers on twitter) says
“Nope, we didn’t have sororities that did any of the below-mentioned things. In fact, that list sounds like something about of a bad American horror movie. At Rhodes, we just had societies – students joining up to chat about social issues and raise funds etc. But seeking approval on whom you date? Not so much.”

Riekie Human, Freakflagmedia says
Eish. The only knowledge I have of those things are what I’ve seen in American flicks! We didn’t have sororities or fraternities where I went.” And she went to Stellenbosch, which is famous for scary initiations – and drinking. And high academic standards.

Shaheema Barodien @Shaheemab on twitter
“@JeanBarker In SA they’re called rugby teams and, er, their girlfriends.” (I quoted her in the story).

Dave Chislett @bigdavesee on twitter
“@JeanBarker Rhodes has a long history of ‘drinking clubs’ similar though not quite the same scale or influence of fraternities.”

Kelsey Marie, a producer/MBA at Chapman says (only got this post-publication – I forgot to mention my deadline)
“I went to a small, private, liberal arts university called Whittier College. It is located in Whittier, CA, in Los Angeles county, and has about 1500 students. At Whittier we had societies instead of sororities and fraternities. It was the same idea, just not national and not Greek. This meant that we could be more specific to the needs of our students and our school, rather than having to answer to a national organization. This also meant very inexpensive dues (around $100 a semester as opposed to around $2000 a semester that members have to pay in the National Greek system). Lots of people think that being a part of a sorority or fraternity or, in my case, a society, is about partying and getting wasted and having lots of sex. While that isn’t completely untrue (I mean, come one, we were all young once) there is a lot more to it than that. People also think that being a member of a fraternal organization is like buying your friends; it isn’t like that either. First of all, to address the “buying your friends” rumor, yes, we do pay dues every semester. Thing is, these dues are used to pay for activities and events for the society. Fun things that we’d have to pay for anyway if we did them. In this case, however, we are just paying for them in advance. Therefore, the “buying your friends” argument doesn’t work. As far as what a society is about, and why I pledged… well… that’s a great question. When I was a kid I got made fun of a lot. I am kind of a quirky person and not everyone knows how to accept me. When I first got to college I thought that I didn’t want to join a society because I didn’t want to be labeled. I didn’t want to be stuck in a box and not be able to hang out with other people or do other things. Well as time went on I got to know some wonderful people. It turned out that most of the people that I was becoming friends with were in societies. I decided to at least check it out. I went to two societies rushes: the Palmer Society and the Thalian Society. Now rush at Whittier College is a bit different than at other schools. For us it is a day where the active (current) members of the society take out prospective members for a day of fun. The Palmer Society took us to Chinatown. We were put into teams and were given a Scavenger hunt. Then they took us out to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. In the afternoon we went to an alumna’s house where we saw a slide show of the Palmers and looked at scrapbooks and photo albums and ate cake and drank Palmer punch (the non-alcoholic version because prospective events and pledging are dry). At the alumna’s house we also heard from all the actives and alumni why they pledged and what Palmers means to them and what they do now. For the Thalian Society rush we went to the horse race track. I was only able to stay for the morning, unfortunately, but I had a great time. After careful consideration I decided that I fit in better with the Palmer Society and, thankfully, I was given a bid (asked to join the society). When I pledged the hazing was VERY limited. Basically just a lot of information to memorize and a lot of late nights. It’s stressful because you are tired but really, I’d do it all again. I decided to pledge because I wanted a place where I could be my quirky self and people would still love me. That’s why I love Palmers. Sure, we are like every other family, there are times when we fight and don’t all of our sisters all the time. In the end, though, we are a family and we love each other and we have each other’s back. That’s what sisterhood means to me.
You may credit me as
Miss Kelsey Marie
“RMO Linus FHC” (we all get big drinking mugs after we pledge with coded nicknames on them)
Palmer Society of Whittier College
NME 2004 (NME = New Member Education –> Whittier’s name for pledging)
Class of 2007

Anyhow, Chapman is huge on Greek Life. I learned tonight that about 65% of people at my school are members of a sorority or a fraternity. Compare that to NYU – about 10%. But then I guess NYU is traditionally a cooler school. *ducks*.

I wish they all could be alpha phi california girls, I wish they all... I'm tired.

This girl's packing it in, with Jesus and the sorority. What's the bet she's also on the cheer squad?

* For those of you who do not know… the title is a play on how Mandela addressed the nation as president.