Archive for November, 2012

Hot Button Tantrums

November 30, 2012

My next film is about how we overreact like little kids to certain things – rightly or wrongly or just because. I also wrote about this on News24 in my latest column.


The worst thing kids can be is intolerant. The other worst is open-minded to only one source. When they grow up and stop thinking completely, they can be dangerous.


It can get scary.


What is she building in there…? A speedrail slider!

November 28, 2012

I have a confession. I should have been a guy. My best memories of my dad from when I was a kid are all about the smell of sawdust. He tended to be stressed and grumpy in that garage, but he let me help, he taught me how to use a circle saw and a screwdriver and fit things together, and he bought me my first and only set of power-tools (they were stolen out of a friend’s garage when I stored them there after my 2nd big breakup.) He also made me my first crib, my first rocking chair, my double bed, my pencil case and various salt bowels – all out of cherry pine. I always think of him when I smell sawdust. And he’s not even dead.

He recently helped me improve on an Indymogul build for a rain machine, which I used in a movie. It worked out really well, and I thought of him a lot as I woke up this morning and set about making my own slider / speedrail for a directing project I have to shoot and edit by next week (or one of my personal heroes, Prof. Martha Coolidge is gonna give me her disappointed-in-you look. I don’t want that to happen.)

I know there are better, and quieter ways, to build a slider. I went this way because I wanted swivel wheels on the cart, so that when I need to do circular movements I can make that happen with just a flat surface or maybe a circle slider, if I can figure out how to build one. No luck so far finding something that curves and could act as track.

Thanks to Pete Vanderpluym for stapling the rail (cheap plastic edging from Home Depot) to the pine planks (also home depot) as well as for recessing and drilling a bolt hole and making me some starter-screw-holes. I secured the rest with duct tape and then screwed it together once I’d tested the placing, using a leatherman. The whole thing could have been done with hand tools… I just skipped that pain cause I could.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

November 24, 2012

This movie is like Napoleon Dynamite for adults, for people with pasts and hearts. Angst, joy, beauty, courage and despair. Two hours of pure experience.

If it were a book you’d stay up all night under the covers with a flashlight to read it. It’s likely to open a few old wounds. And make you laugh – at least, I heard other people laughing. Mostly, it’s really very moving. Imagine if Garden State had more concrete stories behind the connection between the characters? I guess whether you laugh or cry in that movie depends on your state of mind. In any case, the performances carry the story, carry the performances. Emma Watson (yes, the baby from Harry Potter) needs to star in Black Swan II, Ezra Miller makes a potentially silly role shine out, and Logan Lerman is full of still water that runs deep.

Some quotes:

Charlie: Right now we are alive and in this moment I swear we are infinite.

Charlie: I really wanna be a writer but I don’t know what I’d write about.
Sam: You can write about us.
Patrick: Call it ‘The slut and the falcon’ make us solve crimes

Sam: Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we’re nothing?
Charlie: We accept the love we think we deserve.

Patrick: Be aggressive Passive aggressive

Bill: You know they say if you make one friend on your first day you’ll do good.
Charlie: If my English teacher is the only friend I make today, that’ll be sorta depressing.

I know a lot of people nowadays only go and see a film in the cinema if it’s a spectacle – if shit explodes or you enter an alternate universe. The fact is that in the simplest of character driven stories, shit explodes (if only your heart) and you enter an alternate universe. I felt much more lost in the world of this movie than I did in that of Skyfall. Bond is fun in a camp kind of way, but don’t ask me to “connect to the characters”. We all know he’s going to live and we all know it doesn’t really matter whether the chicks he fucks make it or not.

The thing about going to the cinema alone, which I do a lot, is that you are locked in, committed. The lights are off and so is your phone. The screen is the world. And yet, you’re not alone. If you cry, nobody can see you yet you’re not completely (completely) alone. If they closed all the cinemas I’d have to start regular therapy. And I bet the popcorn would suck.

Life is not about finding yourself….

November 23, 2012

During the four-hour mammoth turkey cook, a friend of the person I was cooking with came over convinced we’re all doing to die on 31st of December and they’ve been talking about it for approximately an hour now.

I made this, answering the life question that’s always puzzled me: “Who the fuck has the time and motivation to make those stupid graphics and then upload them on facebook?”

Thanksgiving: A truce, with turkeys

November 22, 2012

It feels to me like the world has stabilized just in time for America’s best holiday – thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, not being religious, is more unifying than most and easier for me to like. Also it involves food and I love, love, love food.

Just in time for tomorrow, we get a last-minute truce between Israel (final kill score, 144, 77 civilians including 36 kids) and Palestine (final kill score, 5 civilians). But South Africa’s winelands seem to have settled down as well, with government intervention in the form of more enlightened labor legislation saving the day.

Not everybody is equally lucky. I know that I’m more lucky than most. I’m grateful for what I have.

If you’re thinking of celebrating like me, by killing living things and eating them, here’s a cautionary song about turkey fryers from William Shatner.

Here’s another cautionary tale about Fried Turkey.

Cause today I even went out and bought my first Thanksgiving Turkey. And fresh cranberries. Which taste like those “chinese (are they?) cherries” that you find in hedges all over SA, only much less edible.

And I took a day to be grateful after a couple of shitty weeks when international, local and personal events seemed to be colluding to depress me.

Bought myself this crazily blurbed Korean film at Salvation Army, just for fun.

How does the South African Winelands crisis look from the USA?

November 16, 2012

We don’t hear much on the news about South Africa really. The USA isn’t fighting a war there and we don’t produce anything they really need.

Except, possibly, great wine with a different swing to California’s good stuff.

This billboard is all over Los Angeles. “What can one person do?” Well, not everything, guys. Time to start doing a bit of the heavy lifting ourselves perhaps?

So what a pity there’s the possibility of international boycotts after the international community discovered just how little workers on farms earn?

I wrote this article about the issue on News24. Now, I know some people really can’t afford to pay more than minimum wage. I also know a lot of people who could pay workers more per day and employ them fewer days, or who can afford double what they pay, and still under-pay.

It’s not a question of whether or not the wine industry can afford to pay more than it does. It has to. End of story. If it doesn’t, the international community will stop buying our wines.

Anyhow, we’ll see how it goes down. I am almost certain I’ll get the usual death threats – hopefully from angry white people who’re too lazy to carry them out.

The image South African Wine wants.

The image South African wine is in danger of getting.

November 14, 2012

Signs (an anagram of “sings”, I just realised right now) can sometimes be improved by a few edits here and there. I love that people find the time for this sort of thing.

I found this collection of “signs that were improved by graffiti” via buzzfeed.

My favorite. Cause cats would do that.

Reminded me of this picture I took on my way home from surfing in South Africa, a couple of years ago. I can’t find it – I think it was on my old blog, which got colonised and then completely ditched / deleted by in the changeover to wordpress… Anyway, someone had drawn a heart falling out of the truck pictured on a no dumping sign.

Can’t get a date? Get a date shake instead!

November 4, 2012

I left something behind in Indio, CA, where I shot my film a couple of weeks ago. When I say “I” I mean my cinematographer Daniel Risk, and when I say “my” I mean our. Film is like a family. Might be your sperm/egg but you can’t do it alone.

Anyhow, of course, I have deadlines coming out of my ears and an exam first thing monday, so I lost my car keys when I stopped to take a couple of photos in the early morning on my way out.

After three hours of looking for them, walking up and down in the gravel in the hot sun scanning the ground for the glint of hope, I went back to my motel, showered, and walked to the nearest burger place. Where I took a picture of this sign.

“CAN’T GET A DATE? TRY A DATE SHAKE! YOU’LL LOVE IT.” Is that a “milkshake” reference? ‘Cause putting another 800 calories onto my ass is really going to help my chances. Mind you… I had a burger. With an egg on it. And I intend to get a shake on my way out of town.

And decided to drop the class and stay another night. Because no garages are open on Sunday here. But first, I thought, I’ll have one last look. It’s amazing the things you see when you’re looking for keys. Condoms. Burned up clothing. Vaguely collectable-looking rusted metal object. And then… boom. I remembered taking a picture of a junk yard and ran back. There were my keys, lying miraculously unharmed inches from where cars’ wheels wizzed by. Must have bounced out of my shorts’ pocket as I ran to snap the sunrise.

Things you see when you stare at the ground.

We have power. Please feel free to charge your cell phone.

November 3, 2012

New York… God I love you. Thanks for proving to me yet again why you’re one of my favourite cities in the world. Okay, granted, you’re sort of stealing the limelight from New Jersey, who are in much worse trouble. But it’s not hard to see why. From 911 to 2012, you’ve always risen above the ugliness of the world at the hardest of times. When others were responding with I hate Muslims, you responded with yes, a lot of sadness and confusion, and also: I LOVE NY.

And that’s why you’re great.

This gesture personifies the spirit of a city that I would live in like *snaps fingers* THAT. Los Angeles… not so much. Weather only gets you so far.

If one person goes crazy in New York, it’s only a matter of time before the whole city burns. Something tells me it won’t come to that, though. The only time I’ve been there (am visiting again soon) I was a bit lost, having walked about 70 blocks from East Harlem to the Village, and started walking back… then run out of time. I tried to get on a bus but I didn’t have the right change. A beautiful older woman I didn’t know at all paid for my ticket – just to get me through the line, but in a nice way. I thanked her. She smiled so sadly. I hung by a handrail from the ceiling of the bus.

Her phone rang. She picked up. Sighed.
“Yeah… Well… She was my mother.” She listened again. “Yeah. It’s hard. But she went gently.”

That’s what New York is about for me. It’s a city full of people where, more than you’d expect, people rise above the hardest, hardest things imaginable and yet still find the time to be kind to strangers like me.

Killer online election viral’s from USA 2012

November 2, 2012

I just wrote an article for News24 about the funny viral videos out there. Here I’ve embedded them for your viewing pleasure! If you know any that make fun of Obama and are funny please post the link in the comments. I looked and couldn’t find any… Do Republicans just not make funny videos?

Kid crying because she’s so sick of “Bronco” and Mitt fighting. Hilarious.

Kids react to election coverage on TV. Some really astute comments. Also nobody knows what the electoral college is. Which is good because if they did, they’d start crying.

Mitt Romney Style

Homer Simpson Votes!

My first time – the Lena Dunham version.

My first time – the original Russian version for Putin’s campaign.

The only funny anti-Obama video I could find. Thanks, NRA.