“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Monday, January 30, 2006


At the moment, in the street outside my window actors are strolling around, clothed in what looks like some vintage 70s gear. The trucks showed up Saturday. The dressing truck, I suppose. A truck from which wires extend. A house up the street has black paper tacked up on the front, and cameras in the yard. In the back yard, this morning, there was a picnic atmosphere.

As far as I can tell, there are no name stars – although I might have just missed them or not recognized them in the cruel natural sunlight. Moviemaking seems to consist largely of people wandering up and down with cell phones held to their ears, making self conscious dialogue. The best thing I’ve heard so far was a young woman saying they have to be naked in this scene. Both of them.

I’m not sure what I dislike more: the businessman’s approach to cell phones, which is basically to carry on in public spaces by an astonishing immersion into the mechanics of private conversation – yelling, a lot of “fuck” this and that, and an imperious tone – or the actor’s more self-conscious use of the cell phone as a theatrical prop. I am pretty sure that the cell phone is not my kind of technological advance. In the old days, you could pretty much bet that a man yelling to himself in the street was off his med pac. Now, you can pretty much bet he has one of those hard to spot cell phone gadgets. The pod people aspect of wires coming out of people’s ears also rather scares me. But I am sure that these aren’t pod people…

I’m pretty sure…

If they were pod people, there’d be weird things happening in the land. Cities would flood, and nobody would respond, or they would respond like zombies after valium overdose. Nations would be invaded for reasons nobody could tell. Governments would unilaterally claim the right to eavesdrop on you, spy on your computer use, and pry into your correspondence. All of these would be symptoms of a pod person invasion, right?

Never happen.

Anyway, I asked a good looking blonde gaffer (I imagine she was a gaffer, which I’ve always thought was Hollywood for go-fer) what this movie was about. She told me it was about a man who is on the skids. Wow, and they are filming it in my neighborhood. Makes me feel very South Bronxish.


Patrick J. Mullins said...

Do you really not have a cellphone? I don't, and people act like it's an abnormality. There's this graph in Kurzweil' 'Singularity' that shows the incredibly faster acceptance cellphones had than almost any other machine. The strangest thing to me is remembering when people said they didn't like to talk on the phone. Now they like to talk on the phone.

Brian Miller said...

I have one. But, part of the reason is my close family is all a "toll call" away (in Oakland and San Francisco, or Indiana instead of the outermost California 'burbs like myself). So, calling them, and I do so frequently, is more epxensive via the land line than haveing a cell phone plan. Plus, although this is changing now :(, no telemarketing. So, when AT&T took four days to tell me the line problem with my land line was in the walls, I killed the land line service entirely.

roger said...

Am I being unfair about cell phones? I don't know, I'm just not a phone person. I can understand the attractiveness of cell phones, and if I were a drug dealer, a salesman, a trucker, a fisherman, a lineman for the county, or a sheepherder, I'd probably get one. Being a lowly editor/writer/freelancer, I don't need one, so I can sneer and feel superior.
I do find the psychological effect of cell phones unnerving.

Patrick J. Mullins said...

roger--no, obviously I don't think you are being unfair. The professions you listed, and Brian's practical reasons (and I'll get one if I have to too, of course) are the only sound bases for cellphones. Worse than half the street talking on them is waiting areas at airport gates with 75% of seated passengers on them. It's hideous all that jelly-bean jabber. maybe they'll do 'whisper phones' so it can be horrible in a ghostly new way.

Also, by the way, the squatters in 'Rent', that dead and loud movie, all live in lofts that I think are actually in SoHo--huge arched windows and gigantic spaces. So slum verisimilitude in movies is also becoming less reality-based and more regime-coordinated.

Brian Miller said...

Ah, my use of cell phones is pretty ghastly, too

at least I don't drive 55 mph in the far left lane of the freeway jabbering while driving the Cadillac Escalade.