Friday, October 31, 2014

Ghetto Bathroom

So I've been working on my bathroom.  I had to replace the tub spout, redo some of the walls, put up a tub surround, install a new shower curtain rod, and I still have to install a new light and paint.

I didn't take any "before" pictures because it was truly awful, but here's a "during:"
It's just a glue-up plastic tub surround, nothing fancy.  Someone else can tile it if they want.

I've just got the finishing touches left, a new coat of paint for the whole room --No more blue-- and some caulking.  I ordered a new shower curtain, too, one perfect for a bachelor of questionable taste.

It has a ouija board on it, as well as a couple of Dia De Los Muertos skeletons and scrawled across the top, it say, "Drop dead motherfucker."  I'll prove it next week.

You thought I was kidding about the ghetto bathroom thing.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Everything You Wanted to Know About the Australian Film Industry

One thing I'm becoming more aware of as I get older and the world shrinks ever more is how much of my perspective is an illusion of circumstance.

 Take, for instance, this article about the Australian film industry in the Sydney Morning Herald.  It's an interesting read, but it contains some sentences that floored me:
Homegrown films are likely to account for less than 3 per cent of the domestic box office in 2014.
To translate that into American, that means that Australian films account for less than 3% of the Australian box office.  What the hell?

I thought they had a film industry down there.  All these Aussie actors, all these big movies being filmed down there.  But I had it wrong. The Aussie actors move to America because there's no work back home, not because they're cultivated from a thriving film culture.   (You know, like our beloved Brits.)  

The big Hollywood films being produced down there?  It's not because their film infrastructure is cheaper, per se.  It's because their film infrastructure doesn't exist.  It's an untapped resource, the tar sands to L.A.'s depleted oil pump.

The article has more:
It has become a truism recently to say Australians are staying away from Australian films at the cinema.
As an American, this is almost inconceivable to me.  I mean, I've seen a lot of foreign films, but for every film you

Hollywood has truly colonized the planet.

The article goes on to explain some of the reasons Australians don't like Australian films.  They're too dark, they're too stereotyped (or the wrong stereotype), too critically disdained, too limited in their release.

But eventually it gets to, for me, the most interesting part:
Australian films generally hit the cinemas, garner whatever scant attention they can, then disappear. Around 120 days later, they crop up on DVD, Blu-Ray or on iTunes or video on demand (VOD) platforms. But by then, the audience has moved on. For many in the industry, closing this release "window" so that titles are available to view at home on or very close to the day they hit cinemas is the best, perhaps only, chance many Australian films have to succeed. Expect to see some major developments in this area soon.
The ultimate point there....don't go long on Australian theater stocks.  I can be honest about this:  That release window is the only thing keeping theaters alive.

As a business, they are too stuck in their ways, unwilling to change, or --like so many other businesses struggling in this day and age-- unable to change.  Oh, they make a good show of it:  building all the 24-screen multiplexes in the 90s, introduced flashier sound systems, better seats.  Now we have digital projection and, more importantly from a business perspective, digital film distribution.

The release will inevitably shrink, and when it's gone...the multiplex theater will follow.


Light blogging as of late.  You'll have to forgive me.  I've been hiding in my crawlspace, avoiding not just ebola but offensive Halloween costumes and the pot candy police are saying people will be handing out this year.

By the way, if you hear someone worry about pot candy being handed out on Halloween, you should be comforted by this fact:  That shit is expensive.  We're talking, like, five bucks per gummy bear.  No one's going to be giving out pot candy this year, at least not on purpose.  Don't be silly.

And now, the rest of the story.

Received Wisdom I'm Not Sure I Buy

From a review of Amy Poehler's new memoir:
(Tina) Fey reportedly netted a near-$6 million advance for her book, and (Lena) Dunham more than $3 million; Poehler’s fee is undisclosed, but she fits the bill. Women are still underrepresented as writers, directors, and stars of comedy, but the few women who have clawed to prominence on TV can find a comfortable perch in the publishing world.
This "women are still underrepresented" stuff is starting to take the sheen of old or bad information that just keeps getting passed around unchallenged.  I suppose it might come off as a little sexist to ask, "But are they really?"  I mean, I won't pretend to have an answer.  I'm not sure exactly what the acceptable level of representation is, so I can't say if women are "underrepresented" or not, but this is getting a bit absurd.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler "represented" about half of NBC's valuable and highly-rated Thursday night block for, oh, I dunno, years.  Shonda Rimes is on her way to "representing" Shondaland 7 days a week over at ABC.  Show me the 28 year old dude who is writing, directing, and starring in the third season of his HBO show.

In other words, if you're saying "women are still underrepresented," it's not because you've run the numbers.  It's because you haven't been paying attention.

Why We Need Net Neutrality

A lot of supposedly smart people say we don't need net neutrality policies.  This from Matt Yglesias points to why that might be a bit naive:

Over the past year, the company reports that it lost about 155,000 pay television customers. But during this same period revenue from pay television customers actually rose one percent due to higher prices. That's a sign that Comcast isn't really trying to save pay television as a long-term business proposition. The company isn't lowering prices to try to beat reduced customer demand, it's accepting that this will keep shrinking and they're simply trying to squeeze the customer base for all their worth.
I mean, at what point will these economic theorists pull their noses out of their textbooks and see for once and all that these telecom companies don't want to innovate or compete with each other.  They can argue for a "de-regulate" approach all they want, but it's the regulations that are keeping these companies honest.  Not market discipline.

And finally, some wisdom from David Simon, creator of The Wire.
Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and until very recently American television didn’t plan the end. You just tried to keep the franchise going for as long as you could. That lent itself to mediocrity eventually, because you need to be thinking about your last page as soon as you start filming your first.
Damn straight.


This is a reflection of a lack of effort more than anything, but my primary source of "new music" these days is commercials.

This song came up on a Youtube ad, and bam....loved it.