Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Requiem For a VCR

One of the most emotionally draining experiences I've had to face recently was the loss of my Mitsubishi 4-head w/flying erase head VHS VCR late last month. It had long expired before I abandoned it on the street - it's loading mechanism malfunctioning even before I moved - but I held onto it with the hope that someone would save it, breathe it new life. It's understood that VCR's die every day at an alarming rate and that the expense of this is minimal in the scope of our society's technological progress, but this VCR had been through thick and thin with me - it had truly transcended the working relationship with me as a video editor and became a... friend.

Acquired in the summer of 1993 for the astromical cost of $550 (helped paid for with a little help from my other "friends"), there had long been a need in my home of a VCR capable of frame by frame editing. And not only was this little baby frame-accurate (give or take 3 frames), it was capable of both video and audio dubbing - thereby giving this not so conventional VCR a big boost over its peers in the consumer market. I immediately put it to use as both Scott Greene and I would cut together movie montages and other sequences to our mutual delight. And let us not forget of course, the ability to record, seemlessly, both sides of a laserdisc onto a single videotape. Oh! The joys this VCR brought me can never be underplayed or denied!

Year after year, I was surprised to find that this VCR could keep going and consistently deliver the goods. Even as recently as 2004 as I was cutting The Family Tie, I found myself using this VCR over a new JVC VCR I had bought at circuit city because the picture quality was sharper and had better color balance. But one day, it was no longer interested in accepting tapes to playback. Sometimes it would try to work it out with the tape, it might even hold onto it and think over what to do, but ultimately it would reject the tape as a foreign body. It became renegade, and nothing is more threatening to a film maker than a renegade piece of equipment. It was time to accept that it's 11+ years of duty were done and it was ready to retire up in VCR heaven.

In honor of its passing, I am posting, in questionable taste, one of the earlier editing endeavors with the VCR entitled FRAGMENTALITY. Culled from the assortment of tapes recorded by myself and my friends during episodes in which drug-taking was involved, the piece was partly a love letter to my then fiance, Jen Yarling, and a meditation on the events leading up to my mental breakdown of said year. Out of respect for my former fiance, i've removed "the heart" of the piece which was a series of cuts of the two of us having an enthusiastic round of sex in front of the camera while NIN blasted on the soundtrack. If you'd like to see this in its entirety, I'd be happy to do so for you in my apartment on VHS in the nude. Until then, the PG-13 version of the piece will run, which you may still find in perfectly bad taste anyway. So caveat emptoir.

And to my dear old Mitsubishi VCR... thanks for all your hard work. Your playback heads will be missed...

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Ebby & Bun Eat Breakfast

Now you can see (and hear!) for yourself this daily ritual performed with my kitties. Notice how Ebby forces her way into Buñ's dish and Buñ relents and finds something else to occupy his mind (and stomach). This was shot with my Canon A80 still camera so next time I'll try upping the production value with a DV camera and a decent mic to capture all those grunts and slurps as they masticate on their chewy wet bits of processed meat.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

uncle jun fires

"Cazzata Melenga!" Uncle Junior exclaims before firing a bullet into Tony Soprano. The messageboard on HBO's website had a thread which explained that this meant "worthless sausage" in Italian. But what I couldn't get over was just how disturbing Dominic Chianese's face is as he fires away at his nephew. The mix of agitated delight brings a whole level of dementia and shock to the scene. Definitely worth a replay!

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

So the dinosaur read to me last night...

It used to be a point of pride in my circle to have outlandishly strange answering machine messages, but this one has gotta take some sort of cake. As I stumbled upon it in my video archives, I was struggling to remember what the hell I was thinking when i was recording it, or if even I wrote it, but sure enough... i did it.

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