Sunday, March 27, 2011


Okay I don't know what the fuck happened to this damned blogger place, but fuck it, I'm going to tell you what I need to tell you here, and then post the videos above. What a waste of e-paper... Some time ago I started hoisting images, for various reasons, off the Internet and inserting them into photo-manipulation software and displaying (or "posting") them in various places for various reasons. I did this alot when Everybody was using MySpace; and that's one of the reasons I hate facebook [still don't know what that word is supposed to mean]: a bunch of people who can't spell anyway being given free rein to say anything about everything. But of late -- especially generated by my so-far year-long infatuation with Orson Welles -- I've been wanting to make movies. Once I read the interviews and saw F for Fake and the documentary Orson Welles: One-Man Band, I saw this as not only a possibility, but infinitely desirable for me personally. I have a long way to go on that score -- like owning a camera, going to need to do that one of these days -- but in the mean time, I've started making these videos with Windows Live Movie Maker. At the very least, I am, in practice, learning the principles of editing; and as Magister Welles saith: Editing is not an aspect of filmmaking -- it is the aspect. Hence I don't consider these "movies," but rather "montages." Consquently, you will find above the three montages I did this past week. With each one I learned something new, and the first two, you'll note, are very experimental. But really, it's all experimental. I don't know that there is a such thing as "non-experimental" art; if there is a formula involved, there is no seminal idea which gives life to the form being made. I have to keep rambling on because, apparently, paragraphs are no longer allowed here [?]. The first introduces a concept I hope to go places with in the future using, very possibly, a dramatic adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land." The second is an obvious attempt at a romp in badassistry; I'm now convinced one would need actual "motion" pictures for this sort of thing to work right. The third is most important to me, I think. Formally I employed some neat tricks, including optimal video/audio timing and some iconographical dissolves; in content, I just love poor old Jack Bauer. Will there be a Part Two? I don't know yet.

--Update, 22 April 2011: As you'll note, I've added several more videos to the "three" I mentioned here. I think the above will be my permanent video posting "thread." Just f.y.i. and all.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

the parable of flitcraft

-- from The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

[Sam] Spade sat down in the armchair beside the table and without any preliminary, without an introductory remark of any sort, began to tell [Brigid O'Shaughnessy] about a thing that had happened some years before in the Northwest. He talked in a steady matter-of-fact voice that was devoid of emphasis or pauses, though now and then he repeated a sentence slightly rearranged, as if it were important that each detail be related exactly as it had happened....

A man named Flitcraft had left his real-estate-office, in Tacoma, to go to luncheon one day and had never returned. He did not keep an engagement to play golf after four that afternoon, though he had taken the initiative in making the engagement less than half an hour before he went out to luncheon. His wife and children never saw him again. His wife and he were supposed to be on the best of terms. He had two children, boys, one five and the other three. He owned his house in a Tacoma suburb, a new Packard, and the rest of the appurtenances of successful American living

Flitcraft had inherited seventy thousand dollars from his father, and, with his success in real estate, was worth something in the neighborhood of two hundred thousand dollars at the time he vanished. His affairs were in order, though there were enough loose ends to indicate that he had not been setting them in order preparatory to vanishing. A deal that would have brought him an attractive profit, for instance, was to have been concluded the day after the one on which he disappeared. There was nothing to suggest that he had more than fifty or sixty dollars in his immediate possession at the time of his going. His habits for months past could be accounted for too thoroughly to justify any suspicion of secret vices, or even of another woman in his life, though either was barely possible.

"He went like that," Spade said, "like a fist when you open your hand....

..."Well, that was in 1922. In 1927 I was with one of the big detective agencies in Seattle. Mrs. Flitcraft came in and told us somebody had seen a man in Spokane who looked a lot like her husband. I went over there. It was Flitcraft, all right. He had been living in Spokane for a couple of years as Charles -- that was his first name -- Pierce. He had an automobile-business that was netting him twenty or twenty-five thousand a year, a wife, a baby son, owned his home in a Spokane suburb, and usually got away to play golf after four in the afternoon during the season."

Spade had not been told very definitely what to do when he found Flitcraft. They talked in Spade's room at the Davenport. Flitcraft had no feeling of guilt. He had left his first family well provided for, and what he had done seemed to him perfectly reasonable. The only thing that bothered him was a doubt that he could make that reasonableness clear to Spade. He had never told anybody his story before, and thus had not had to attempt to make its reasonableness explicit. He tried now.

"I got it all right," Spade told Brigid O'Shaughnessy, "but Mrs. Flitcraft never did. She thought it was silly. Maybe it was. Anyway, it came out all right. She didn't want any scandal, and, after the trick he had played on her -- the way she looked at it -- she didn't want him. So they were divorced on the quiet and everything was swell all around.

"Here's what had happened to him. Going to lunch he passed an office-building that was being put up -- just the skeleton. A beam or something fell eight or ten stories down and smacked the sidewalk alongside him. It brushed pretty close to him, but didn't touch him, though a piece of the sidewalk was chipped off and flew up and hit his cheek. It only took a piece of skin off, but he still had the scar when I saw him. He rubbed it with his finger -- well, affectionately -- when he told me about it. He was scared stiff of course, he said, but he was more shocked than really frightened. He felt like somebody had taken the lid off life and let him look at the works."

Flitcraft had been a good citizen and a good husband and father, not by any outer compulsion, but simply because he was a man who was most comfortable in step with his surroundings. He had been raised that way. The people he knew were like that. The life he knew was a clean orderly sane responsible affair. Now a falling beam had shown him that life was fundamentally none of these things. He, the good citizen-husband-father, could be wiped out between office and restaurant by the accident of a falling beam. He knew then that men died at haphazard like that, and lived only while blind chance spared them.

It was not, primarily, the injustice of it that disturbed him: he accepted that after the first shock. What disturbed him was the discovery that in sensibly ordering his affairs he had got out of step, and not into step, with life. He said he knew before he had gone twenty feet from the fallen beam that he would never know peace again until he had adjusted himself to this new glimpse of life. By the time he had eaten his luncheon he had found his means of adjustment. Life could be ended for him at random by simply going away. He loved his family, he said, as much as he supposed was usual, but he knew he was leaving them adequately provided for, and his love for them was not of the sort that would make absence painful.

"He went to Seattle that afternoon," Spade said, "and from there by boat to San Francisco. For a couple of years he wandered around and then drifted back to the Northwest, and settled in Spokane and got married. His second wife didn't look like the first, but they were more alike than they were different. You know, the kind of women that play fair games of golf and bridge and like new salad-recipes. He wasn't sorry for what he had done. It seemed reasonable enough to him. I don't think he even knew he had settled back naturally into the same groove he had jumped out of in Tacoma. But that's the part of it I always liked. He adjusted himself to beams falling, and then no more of them fell, and he adjusted himself to them not falling."