Archive for May, 2013

“Off-color”, as in humor: Where does the term come from?

May 30, 2013

Can anyone tell me the origin of the term “off-color”? Not the wikipedia history (I read it) but why the term was coined that way? Does it refer to “blue” as in “blue movie”? In India, apparently, the same kind of humor is called “non-veg” humor… a lot of the population is vegetarian there so meaty is not to all tastes. In Philadelphia they say “green jokes”… as in feeling a little green? And in Australia “‘A bit crook’, means “… a little ill/sick or a little ‘off colour’.” Source: The Free Dictionary Word of the Day discussion. Link also includes an off-colour joke.

All in all, it seems to refer to jokes that are slightly sickening and make the face turn a different color. However, the fun thing about origins is that nobody ever agrees. Seems that the first recorded use of it refers to diamonds. Those that were not pure white were “off colour” and less valuable, according to the online etymology dictionary.

I like to think of my own humor as “unpasturized”. It is generally better for you than the lifeless boiled-to-death variety, but occasionally it may contain diseases that eat away at your face.

I feel there’s a big difference between “off color”, even physically revolting,  humor, and humor that is just hurtful, stupid hate speech.

I have never understood people who write "wash me" on other people's car windows. Why do they care? But this is much worse. "SWAG". "Homo". "I <3 Farts"... even if this is just a few straight friends teasing another straight friend, it's stupid, homophobic and purile.

I have never understood people who write “wash me” on other people’s car windows. Why do they care? But this is much worse. “SWAG” (secretly we are gay). “Homo”. “I heart farts”… whoever did this thinks there’s something wrong / embarrassing about being gay, even if they are just teasing a straight friend, or kicking it in the dorm parking lot with some drunk buddies at night.


“Nobody cares about your stupid stick figure family” and “My zombie ate your honor student”. Yes, this I like. I would be proud if my kid did well at school. But only an annoyingly proud mother puts a “My child was student of the month at blah blah blah” sticker on their people mover. It’s sorta nausiatingly sweet and I enjoy seeing someone making fun of it.

See, the person in the SUV above is clearly a mother… there’s even a child seat in the back. The difference is self-consciousness, or context. For example, a Jewish person making fun of their family’s oddities is funny. A Christian talking about the same family as a reason why “they” are “different” is another. Satire mimics the target to expose their hypocrisy. Mockery is bullying.

… and that’s 90 minutes I should have spent writing a script I spent blogging instead. Gone!

Assumption: Jou ma se poes se f*&kup

May 29, 2013

So apparently I stereotype Americans, even when I don’t mean to. In class today I was talking about minibus taxis. My professor said oh, “How many do they carry?” We have a couple at our disposal, apparently.

I replied “Well, about 16 plus people in South Africa and about 12 people in the USA.”

Taken during the world cup, 2010, which explains why there are so many SA flags. I miss the bumper stickers inside taxis. I miss taxis. I miss home...

“Certified to carry 16 passengers or less” But likely to carry more, and unlikely to contain any seat belts. Taken during the world cup, 2010, which explains why there are so many SA flags. I miss the bumper stickers inside taxis. I miss taxis. I miss home…

I had some trouble figuring out why she then went on about how huge South Africans were, because they’re “descended from the Dutch”, leading me to believe that she probably hung out mainly with white South Africans or in the Cape Flats while location scouting in SA.

“You’re generalizing about white South Africans for Dutch descent” I said. I find that a lot of Americans who went to scout the kind of films that were prepared to shoot in SA during Apartheid didn’t hang out with a lot of black people while they were around.

“Well,” a classmate piped up, “You’re generalizing about Americans.”

“Yeah, we’re not all fat.”


It took me a second to figure it out, and explain that no, I mean that in SA we are less concerned about safety and we don’t sue each other all the time. So you can pack more people into a vehicle than you can in the USA. Anyone who thinks South African taxi customers are thin has never ridden with 18 mamas down main road at rush hour. South Africans are not, by any stretch of the imagination, slender.

I can’t win, I swear. I just. Can’t. Win.

PAST MEMORIES… and other Korean-isms.

May 24, 2013

We finally screened Formaldeyhyde, a film about a suicidal young man rediscovering the joy of life through the eyes of dead people in his father-in-law’s morgue.

We shot it in Busan, South Korea with the help of Dongseo University.


Past Memory. Park here. It will be different when you return. In a way it’s tautology. In a way it’s true. As humans, we really need to watch our version control… we forget a lot.

The film making and the trip were both amazing experiences. At the time, they were too, but I forgot how difficult they were. The past has a way of reinventing itself in softer light and prettier ways.

Alex Valencia, who documented the making of, reminded me of how it really was. Sure, there were moments of amazing. But when you’re going 35 setups a day with a tiny crew in tricky conditions, the wheels come off everybody now and then… specially if you only slept three hours the night before.

I laughed, at myself and the co-workers I know and love. I cried with embarrassment for my bad skin, the 16lbs I lost recently (captured on camera for all time), the sweat, and mostly, the lack of cool. And I swore to be cooler in the future.


The entry way: Already the restaurant name has changed to “past memories”. Plural. Inside, however, the kimchi is always amazing.

What’s best about it all in the end? I like the film we made. It’s strange but it’s beautiful.

No idea what it says, or what what I said translated as in the end.

No idea what it says, or what what I said translated as in the end.

“We will no longer accept money out of undergarments”

May 16, 2013

I love this…

In SA, a lot of people keep their money in their bra or panties rather than their pockets – less likely to get stolen that way! It’s not unusual to be in a corner cafe and see an auntie reach into her bra to pay for a half loaf of bread and some milk at the end of a long day.

Which means they have been up til now.

Which means they have been up til now.

So now people who store their money that way will have to remove it and place it in a wallet before entering the store. What’s next? Washing our hands before we touch money? Which by the way, is already dirtier than poo (worldwide). Read this if you don’t believe me.

(Found this sign picture, by the way, on a facebook group I reluctantly belong to called South Africans in the USA. What’s great about this group is it’s really pro-SA, friendly and not full of racists. There’s a theory that South Africans who go to the US rather than just running to the country that colonised SA and messed it up centuries ago are simply nicer people, although I’m told Florida has it’s share of gremlins…)

Female Ejaculation: So easy according to the LA Weekly Backpages

May 13, 2013

I don’t think equality is the same as “being the same” – not when it comes to orgasms. I have had entire orgasms without touching myself. I have known men to get hard while feeling nothing. I think this means we are different and this weird diagram stuff just inspires idiot guys with dirty fingernails to think they can follow a set of Men’s Health instructions and make us cum. It’s just not true. It’s more interesting than that!


I wish they included a diagram of my brain.

Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 3.13.25 AM

This is what the site you go to promises. Apparently some British guy knows it all. And he’s made over 300 women squirt. That’s a lot of laundry.

The Far-Out Factor: Los Alamos, CA

May 12, 2013

I stopped in Los Alamos trying to find a hamburger place and wound up booking into the cheapest motel in town … The Alamo. A shower. A bed. After sleeping in my car at a music festival campsite I needed that.

I also still needed a hamburger. So I crossed the street to one of the town’s three bars – the only place apart from Subway that seemed to be serving food. You can see the lights of it to the left of the motel sign.

A basic American Motel. $55 a night. Comfy and relatively quiet except that it's next door to a party with live tuba music tonight. Not complaining - I don't mind noise so long as it's not a lawn mower or a car alarm.

A basic American Motel. $55 a night. Comfy and relatively quiet except that it’s next door to a party with live tuba music tonight. Not complaining – I don’t mind noise so long as it’s not a lawn mower or a car alarm.

It’s a classic old place, called 1860, run by two very nice people. The woman is called Ana. The guy’s name escapes me. The Barman, Manny, is awesome. It’s a genuine old saloon and the hamburger was amazing. They have local craft beer on tap, and fast internet. After 36 hours offline during a time when I can’t really afford to be, it was incredible to be clean, showered, fed, sheltered and drinking cold brew.

Local people at the bar were friendly and through my travel-tired haze I managed to carry on a kind of conversation about whatever… you know. Touch typing. South Africa. The World Cup. Music Festivals. Motels. Beer. I was pretty happy talking to strangers and catching up with friends on facebook.

That is, until the town drunkard decided to take a seat next to me. He was drinking something bright red and seemed to have nothing better to do than ask me inane questions.

“Working hard?”
I shake my head and smile.
“No, facebook,” I say, ruefully, guiltily.
“Having fun, sweetie?”
His breath smelled of 20 toasted cigarettes and stale booze.
I smile nervously, and turn back to the screen, hoping he’ll go away.
He leans in, reading past my shoulder, one of the posts on my page.
“Why do you have it at that angle. Can you see better?”
His nose is packed with popping veins from what appeared to be his primary social activity: Drinking heavily.
I realise I have to answer him, or seem rude.
“No, it’s just to keep the light off other people, and for privacy.”
He scowls at me and almost shouts: “I wouldn’t want to look at that stuff. Why would I?”
So why do you? I want to say. Instead I just say “Okay.”

He keeps going, with one dumb comment after another, touching me sometimes as he speaks, and is really beginning to remind me of one of those old men who stare at your tits when you’re jogging and call out: “Having fun?”. I always want to stop, and say “No, but I’m glad YOU are!” And then smash their testicles with a rock.

I realise he’s not going to quit, so I wave at Manny for the check and shoot my boyfriend a quick message: Being harassed by a guy here, so going to go back to my motel. Will reconnect there. Small towns… ha.”

Distracted by another (very nice) old guy to my right, I lose track of Red-Nose Redneck for a bit. Next thing I know I catch his hand on my keyboard. He’s pulling a maniacal face and miming banging on my keyboard. I slam it shut. “Stop it!” I say.
“You stop it. Sitting here playing games and talking to someone in FRANCE. That’s not real life” he shouts.
His equally booze addled old buddy joins in: “This is a bar, not a coffeeshop”.
“I don’t think that means I have to talk to you,” I say. “Just leave me alone.”
“That’s not life,” the guy keeps shouting.
“So what is? Alcoholism?” I ask.
And that sends them both over the edge.
Manny tells me to take it easy, and them to leave me alone.
They ask for the check and say they’re never coming back. I ask for the check.
They keep shouting at me. I keep telling them to leave me alone. Assholes.

Manny brings me the check.

I pay and find myself suddenly in tears as Red-Nose Redneck leaves and his creepy old friend stays and keeps hurling comments at me. I shout back, calling them assholes. Why didn’t I just laugh it off? Don’t know. Overtired, I guess. And surprised. I know the type, you see, the type who’d call you rude for refusing to talk to a smelly old stranger in a bar one minute, then accuse you of being a slut for speaking to him at all the next.

Ana the host and the owner tried to persuade me to stay – and drink a beer alone in a lounge. Last thing I felt like… sitting in bright light alone. They’re sweet people though. Not their fault who drinks there.

Instead of staying to please them, I walked back to the motel, calming down realizing that tonight’s drama had brought me full circle. I needed really badly to get away from technology for a while. But the thing is, there’s only one thing worse than the constant assault of information, the noise of constant communication signifying nothing, the gaggle and the disconnect, and that, unfortunately, is being around people who use it as an excuse for their inability to function, who never WERE ON the grid, who haven’t liked a new song since they turned 30 – who’ve become their grandparents.

I hope that when I get really old I’m not old that way. I hope I don’t simply reject whatever I don’t understand.

Finding beauty

May 9, 2013

I just had to go somewhere. Screw classes. Screw film school politics. I can sleep in my car. Drove past Santa Barbara to a state park beach. $10 – I’ll nap til the afternoon and be on my way.