In Praise of Audio

I’ve produced quite a bit of video in my day — well over a hundred programs, though probably less than a hundred hours all told. I don’t do much video production these days, but I’m called upon routinely to advise people who want to make a video, or think they do.

My most frequent advice: don’t.

That’s because, most of the time, what people really want is audio. In most of the cases I encounter, the subject in question is a single speaker, or perhaps a panel discussion. What is the crucial component there: a static view of the speaker’s head, or the words that are being said? If you said the latter, congratulations, you’re right.

We can prove this with a simple thought experiment. Imagine you’re watching a video of someone making a speech about a topic that is simply fascinating to you. Imagine that it’s poorly shot. It’s dim, and the image is grainy, and the camera is shaking all over the place in a way that induces nausea. But by some miracle the audio track is pristine — crystal clear — you can hear every word in the highest fidelity.

That’s a good video. Even though it’s bad. Back in the days of analog TV broadcasts, people would squint through fuzzy reception as long as they could hear what was going on.

Now, by contrast, imagine the reverse. The image is crystal clear, the lighting is beautiful, you can see every twinkle in the speaker’s eye in high definition. But the sound is off. The mic wasn’t plugged in, or something. It’s muffled, barely audible.

That’s a bad video. Do you get my point?

In short, for many programs, the audio is the most important component. Obviously there are exceptions, programs where the audio is virtually irrelevant. Sports come to mind. But for the vast majority of programming, the audio is more important than the video.

People think they want video because it’s got a certain techno-luster. Video is, in the common parlance, sexy. Good video can indeed convey crucial information with great economy and clarity. But by the same token, producing good video is hard work. Even producing a bad video is hard work. Trust my years of experience when I say that for most people, most of the time, it ain’t worth it.

Even if you’re willing to do some work, it may be counter-productive. Video is such a headache, and such a distraction, that all the effort gets sucked into the video aspect, and the audio is totally neglected.

Also, remember the following: No one really wants to watch your video anyway. Life’s too short. But they might just put your audio recording on their iPod and give it a listen during their morning jog.

So I advise people to focus on what’s really important, and aim for a decent audio recording instead.

The advantages of focusing on audio are manifold. Audio tools are cheaper than video. Working with audio is easier, both in production and post-production. Moving audio around is easier. You can buy a Zoom H2 Handy Recorder for about $140, and you will have a recording device that is easy to use and produces really good recordings in the form of digital files which you can transfer to your computer via USB.

Perhaps most important of all, audio is doable.

So: forget the video, and focus on the audio; you might actually get a quality product.

Dear Netflix

Dear Netflix,

After many years of loyal patronage, I will be canceling my Netflix membership at the end of December.

As we’ve shared so many delightful years together I thought you deserved an explanation, so I’m writing this letter to spell it all out for you.

I’ve been with you from almost the beginning. I think we first subscribed in 2000 or 2001. We took a break after our DVD player went on the fritz, but we reactivated in 2004 and embarked on a mad alphabetical odyssey, watching almost 300 movies I’d always wanted to see. I reviewed them all on my blog. When we finally finished the list three years later, we started all over again with another alphabetical list, which took us a mere thirteen months to complete. Since then, parental responsibilities have cut into our movie viewing time, and the alphabetical approach has broken down, but we’ve continued to enjoy the service.

We’ve been through some tough times together. In 2005, when our home was flooded and much of the Gulf Coast lay in ruins, I was impressed that you handled our account in a sensible and humane fashion. Not every corporate entity was so enlightened. That led me to believe that perhaps you were that most elusive of chimeras, a corporation with a conscience. But perhaps I was projecting my wishful thoughts because of all the pleasure I derived from those movies. Several recent developments have made me question your integrity.

First, you phased out the Friends feature earlier this year, despite vocal protests from many of your most loyal members. I was disappointed, but decided to hang in there.

Next, you announced our subscription fee would be going up. The reason? You’re wanting to plow more resources into delivering streaming content. You’re also offering a new streaming-only plan which would actually save me money. But here’s the rub: Of the 34 movies currently in my queue, only 12 are available for streaming. I’m perfectly happy to get a DVD in the mail instead. But I’m not happy to pay more for it.

And here’s what sealed the deal: I read Jessica Thurber’s post on the Deaf Politics blog. It seems the Achilles heel with streaming videos is a lack of support for captions. Oh, it’s technically possible, it’s just that you’re not doing much of it, not are you indexing which movies have captions and which don’t. I don’t generally use captions, but I understand their value. When my parents were visiting for the holidays we watched movies with captions so that everyone would catch the dialog.

Therefore, in solidarity with the hearing impaired, and to protest your fee increase, and because I don’t like the way you got rid of your community features, I am going to cancel my membership.

I will probably check out one of your competitors such as GreenCine. I think they may have a better catalog of obscure and artsy films anyhow. For example, they’ve got The American Astronaut which has been in my Netflix “saved” queue for a year now. They’ve also got Don’t Need You: The Herstory of Riot Grrrl and The Ipcress File and a whole bunch of flicks you haven’t seen fit to acquire for DVD or streaming. As a matter of fact GreenCine is looking better all the time.

But don’t worry Netflix. I’m sure you can lure me back if you address the issues I’ve listed above.

What’s more, I am posting this letter to my blog, and encouraging anyone who feels as I do to follow suit.

Sincerely,

Two Videos

Here are two cool videos that have bounced into my life over the last 24 hours.

Hola, B!

This comes from someone I’ve never met, a guy in Philadelphia. Sometimes with all this “cultural production” I do — not sure what else to call it — I feel like I’m whispering down a well. Why do I bother? Feedback like this reminds me.

Drypoint Printmaking

Drypoint Printmaking from XULAneXUS on Vimeo.

This is a basic introduction to drypoint printmaking. I shot this video, but all the rest — script, voiceover, editing — was done by Nile Lang who is also the star. I did a little advising but Nile did the work, and I believe it’s the first video he’s ever edited. Well done, Nile. I’m happy with the result and glad to have been a part of it. This is a project for XULAneXUS.

I should stop here but because I’m a firm believer in the “Rule of Three” I’ll throw in one more, which doesn’t have any connection to the above or to me, except I find it amusing.

Got Satanists?

Dead Time

Over the last few weeks I’ve been fiddling with constructing my family tree on ancestry.com. (Thanks to my old high school friend Georgie for getting me hooked.) I managed to trace one line back as far as Torvild Ljøstad, my great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great grandfather (that’s 17 greats) who was born in 1370 in the Norwegian county of Aust-Agder, possibly at the site of present-day Vegårshei.

I take that with a grain of salt. The further back you go, obviously, the more chances for error. I haven’t double-checked every link in that lineage. Still it’s interesting to think about.

At the same time I was playing with that, I seemed to find myself making more trips to the local graveyards, which led me to contemplate the untimely demise of a young woman named Virginia. I even started actively searching for certain graves. And generally I have just been enjoying the cemeteries.

T

We also discovered the shrine to Santa Muerte — Saint Death.

Sheer coincidence? Perhaps. But this is, after all, the time of year associated with such matters. The Day of the Dead, All Souls Day, All Saints Day, Hallowe’en, Samhain — many names, many cultures, many traditions, but sharing a common theme of remembrance and reverence for ancestors, those who have come before, those who are no longer with us.

Fittingly, Persephone had the idea that she wanted to be a ghost princess. That led to a costume idea for the whole family.

Ghost Royalty

We attended a Samhain ritual. It was focused on remembering ancestors, and it was quite beautiful — or at least I think it was. I was distracted by a certain toddler who was getting antsy. The “Samhain for Kids” celebration was fun, even though our girl was the only child there, but by the time the full grownup ritual was underway, well, it was just too much, too long, for a two-year old, and we were not familiar enough with the surroundings or the proceedings to really cope effectively as parents. I hope our daughter’s behavior was not too distracting to the other celebrants. It became more of a “learning experience” than a spiritual one for me. I wish I could have been more fully present, but in this case I guess you could say my descendant trumped my antecedents.

Nevertheless I got a good snippet of video from before the ritual began.

Here’s the moment I want to hold in my memory of that night: dancing barefoot on the grass with my wife and daughter dressed in ghostly white robes while a dead geisha played the drums by a bonfire. That was magical.

We cut out early and got back home in time to receive several troupes of trick or treaters. I was surprised by the number of kids making the rounds (under adult supervision) despite the big Saints game underway at the time. But the all the kids were home by the time the second half began, and that was a much more exciting half as it developed.

And so yesterday morning, on the Day of the Dead, Persephone and I visited the shrine of Sante Muerte.

Satsumas

When I posted about the shrine to the Mid-City discussion group, a neighbor reacted as follows:

I’m don’t really want to judge any religious beliefs but just so people know, the SANTA MUERTE (Holy Death) is considered almost devil worship by most of Mexico. It is used by most criminals in the narco trafficking, kidnapping, & underground Mexican world to legitimize their activities. It is why the country of Mexico has not recognized it as a legitimate faith. Like all religions or political idealogies, extremists can twist anything to legitimize their activities. Just thought people would want a little perspective. For Americans who don’t know better, in Mexico, it would be similiar to glorifying Islamic terrorists & their warped string of Islam…. I travel to Mexico a lot & enjoy studying the history & culture of the country. But I admit, the statues & shrines are pretty weird & cool.

I’m not sure what to think of that reaction. I do know that I misquoted the sign when I wrote about it the first time. It actually says, “Welcome! To the Shrine of La Sante Muerte and the Dead.” I had forgotten that last part, “and the Dead,” but it’s crucial. Clearly, whoever erected the shrine is thinking about the same thing as the Wiccans who devised the Samhain ritual we attended and the Catholics we saw at the cemetery whitewashing the family tomb.

We left three satsumas.

I wonder what Torvild Ljøstad would have made of it.

What Goes Around

It’s not just a sign — it’s a kinetic sculpture.

This was constructed by Peter Hickman and friends at the place where the Jeff Davis neutral ground intersects the Lafitte Corridor at the foot of Bayou St. John.

It is propelled by the wind. In my personal opinion, it’s a perfect expression of community desire for the greenway which we hope will be created here soon.

For more info about the Lafitte Corridor and the greenway see folc-nola.org

Post Dance

Perhaps I was inspired by all the art we saw yesterday, because when I got home I made a video by pairing a clip I shot Thursday night with a serendipitous musical track.

I’ve embedded the video below, but I had to make it smaller to fit my rather narrow template. You’d do better to watch on Youtube, and crank up the resolution.

Cinematic Weekend

My wife and daughter went out of town with some friends for the holiday weekend, leaving me here in New Orleans to fend for myself. After they left on Friday, it dawned on me that I had a perfect opportunity to go see a movie in a theater, something I’ve only done once since our daughter was born.

I checked the local listings to discover there was only one movie showing that I really wanted to see, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a Swedish-language film. (Swedish being the only language I can sort of speak, besides English.) It was showing at the newly redone Theatres at Canal Place. I could even eat dinner there. I called their “movie line” and confirmed it was showing that evening at 6:30 PM. But when I visited their website to buy a ticket — no dice. It wasn’t listed. So I called their “info line” and learned that the projector for that film was on the fritz. “It should be fixed by Tuesday.”

Tuesday!

Of course they have other screens, with functioning projectors, which were showing Sex and the City 2 every forty minutes or so.

The only other theater in biking distance is The Prytania, which has Shrek 5 in six dimensions, or something like that. Ugh.

Why don’t we have more screens in Orleans Parish? Then I remembered the Zeitgeist. I ended up heading over there for an early showing of The Secret of Kells.

On Saturday, just for kicks, I checked the Theatres at Canal Place website again, and to my surprise The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was listed. I called and they confirmed the projector issues had been resolved — only the showing was sold out.

So I stayed at home and watched a movie on DVD.

Sunday I contemplated The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo again. There was an early show but that would conflict with the protest. The only other showing was at 6:30 PM. I checked the running time and discovered it was two and a half hours. That would cut into the new episode of Treme. Can’t catch a break.

But finally my luck turned. After the protest I learned that there would be no Treme that evening. So to make a long story short, I finally saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Sunday evening.

It was a good thriller. I enjoyed it. The Secret of Kells was enjoyable too, and very beautiful to look at. But ironically enough, the movie that made the biggest impression on me was the one I watched on DVD at home, alone, Saturday night — Last Year at Marienbad.

As for the Theatres at Canal Place, it’s very nice but I’m not sure what I think about their age limit. They only admit people 18 and older, no matter the movie. I’m sure that maintains the classy upscale atmosphere they’re aiming for, but it also means that there’s only one theater in Orleans Parish that I can take my daughter to once she’s old enough to actually behave herself in a theater, namely the Prytania. Well, there is also the Zeitgeist. But once again I have to wonder why we don’t have more viable screens around the city, and why no one has been able to engineer something like the old Movie Pitchers.

Geauxjira

I can’t take the blame for this one. That goes to Michael Homan. But if you watch closely you’ll see me a few times throughout this incredibly weird video.

Xy’s in there too. Also, Persephone makes her first appearance in a speaking role. I always thought that would be in ROX. Guess I’ve been slacking off.

I’m actually very impressed with the final product. Michael enlisted his whole family and a bunch of friends as well. It’s great to know such creative people. Most impressive: the costume which was designed by Michael’s daughter Kalypso. I wonder who the fool in the monster suit is?

Anyway, you absolutely have to watch this video.

My Introduction to YouTube Poop

AAAAAGH!!!

We played host over the weekend to an eleven-year-old boy whose mother (a friend of ours) had to make a trip out of town. But it was a trip for us as well even though we stayed here. I was reminded of what a radically different way children have of being in the world. They are not constrained by the same norms of social behavior that govern (some) adults. Our toddler throws me for a loop on a regular basis, but I’m not used to being around preteen kids, and it was a bit of a shock to the system. But most shocking of all was the crash-course in popular culture I received at the hands of our guest. Ever heard of something called “YouTube Poop”? I hadn’t. There is an entry on this phenomenon at Wikitubia which defines it as “videos composed of sentence mixing, sound distortion, repetition and other strange techniques.” Here’s an example that is probably the most popular to date:

Keep in mind there are apparently thousands of these out there. Many of them are quite short and violent. Some of our guest’s favorites seem to involve Sponge Bob blowing people’s heads off.

Like this:

Now imagine that played at loud volume repeatedly for hours on end, and you’ll begin to understand my fragile emotional state.

Helen Hill Birthday Fundraiser

Helen & Rosie

Of course I will be hiking Saturday morning, and I encourage all to come with us, but there’s another event that deserves your attention. The aim is to raise the funds necessary to finish Helen Hill’s final film. The hike may preclude my attendance, but I’ll be showing a video there featuring Helen — the vegan lunch segment from ROX #90.

Read on for event details.

DATE: Saturday May 8th
HOURS:  Two shows:  3pm and 9:30 pm
LOCATION: Zeitgeist Multidisciplinary Arts Center
ADDRESS:    1618 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd
Cost of Event:  by donation

Zeitgeist is pleased to present the Helen Hill Birthday Fundraiser, featuring a special short preview of the newly completed The Florestine Collection, Helen’s last film.  This one-day only event will be Saturday, May 8th, at Zeitgeist Multi-disciplinary Arts Center. There will be two screenings, at 3:00 pm and at 9:30 pm. The event is by donation.  Funds raised go towards finishing The Florestine Collection, to create sound and master prints in 16mm film, Helen’s preferred screening format.

Animator Helen Hill received a prestigious Media Arts Grant from the Rockefeller Foundation for The Florestine Collection in 2004.  The film was inspired by a huge collection of handmade dresses that Helen found in a garbage pile.  Helen was murdered during a home invasion in New Orleans in early January 2007, and her widower Paul Gailunias has been working to finish the film in accordance with Helen’s intentions. Sunday, May 9th (Mother’s Day) would have been Helen’s 40th Birthday.

Currently Helen’s films are archived in the Harvard Film Archive, and her film Scratch and Crow, made in 1995 and which will be screened at the Helen Hill Birthday Fundraiser, was named to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry in 2009.

Also featured at the Helen Hill Birthday Fundraiser will be the band The New Dopey Singers (3:00 pm), a Fresh Fashion Flash by Howl Pop (3:00 pm); and Cheryl Wagner, author and contributor to public radio’s This American Life, will read a short excerpt about Helen and her animations from her book Plenty Enough Suck to Go Around (9:30).  Helen’s DVD The House of Sweet Magic will be available for sale, and specially made viewfinders from The Florestine Collection will be given away in a drawing during both shows.

For more information, call Courtney Egan at (205) 393-5588 or Rene Broussard at (504) 352-1150. Information is also available at Zeitgeist’s website, www.zeitgeistinc.net

My Big Chill

By strange coincidence, I found myself watching The Big Chill Friday night. It’s one of those super-famous movies that I’ve just somehow never seen.

Alas, when the flick was over and I turned in for the evening, I neglected to leave a trickle of water running, as I’d done Thursday night. This, despite the fact I knew we were still under a hard freeze warning, with potential record-breaking lows on the way. Sheer stupidity.

See, here in New Orleans many houses have pipes on the outside, exposed to the elements. You can get away with that here for years at a time.

Sure enough, when I woke up this morning, we had no water out the hot taps. The cold taps were working fine.

As I examined our plumbing with greater scrutiny, I concluded that most of our pipes are enclosed. The only place a couple feet of pipe are exposed is our hot water exchange.

Hot H2O Exchange

Those short little blue pipes leading into and out of our tankless water heater are what froze overnight. By the afternoon they were thawed and appeared to be no worse for the wear.

I tried to pick up some pipe insulation, but the local stores were all sold out. So I improvised, and wrapped the pipes in some foam which I cut from a mattress pad. I secured the foam with garbage-bag twist-ties. I’m actually pretty happy with the result.

As I was driving around Mid-City looking for pipe insulation, I saw the fountain in front of Schoen Funeral Home on Canal Street had frozen quite beautifully.

Frozen Fountain

It was quite striking. I only wish I’d had a better camera with me.

Meanwhile the Banks Street Bar is advertising that, indeed, they “Have Heat.”

We Have Heat

Now we are bracing for round three tonight. It will be nice when things warm up next week.

Oh, as for The Big Chill? Not bad. Fun to watch. But I’m not sure I understand why it has such a rep. To watch the retrospective featurette, you’d think they invented the ensemble film. I’m not sure that’s the case. Maybe its success is simply a matter of generational resonance? I’ll have to quiz my boomer friends.

Scratch and Crow

I recently got word that Helen Hill’s film Scratch and Crow has been named to the National Film Registry.

Each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the registry that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant to be preserved for all time. These films are selected as works of enduring importance to American culture.

We got out our DVD of Helen’s films and watched Scratch and Crow. Yessir, it’s a gooder, and I’m glad to see it so recognized. And it’s in good company — Dog Day Afternoon and The Muppet Movie were also named this year.

Dear Coby

One of the key tensions in my relationship with Xy has to do with television. To put it bluntly, she’s for it and I’m against it. I long ago gave up the battle to keep television out of our home, but at least we don’t pay for cable or satellite. We get our TV off the air for free. We switched to digital when our old TV got flooded, and we’ve been enjoying high-definition broadcasts ever since.

I use the term “enjoying” advisedly. I’m just enough of a video geek to think the whole technical aspect of getting high definition signals off the air is cool. I can watch a crappy TV show and still marvel at the gorgeousity of the image.

I was mildly horrified when Xy got a portable TV for our kitchen, but that’s another battle I’ve given up on. Her little $16 set will be made obsolete by the impending digital transition. So as a token of my undying love for her and my boundless magnanimity, I decided to get her a portable digital TV for Xmas. Who else can condescend so nicely?

Only problem, as anyone who’s shopped for such a product knows: It’s slim pickings. Portable digital TVs? I could only find three on the market, and they all cost a lot more than $16.

Ultimately I sprang for the Coby TF-TV791 7″. It arrived a couple weeks ago, and since we don’t believe in delayed gratification, it’s been deployed on our kitchen counter ever since.

It works pretty well. The reception is a little funny, as we can get some stations better than with our main TV downstairs, but others are worse. Xy’s just impressed that it’s in color.

There is one major glaring problem.

I’m going to need an illustration to make this clear. Bear with me.

Coby Comparison

A tip of the hat to the talented Jon Rawlinson for sharing this high definition video frame under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

The top image shows a 16:9 high-definition video frame in its proper aspect ratio. This is how HD video should look on a widescreen TV.

The middle image shows how HD video looks on our Coby in 16:9 mode. Note the black bars on top and bottom. As a rule you shouldn’t see bars on top and bottom on a widescreen TV. Note also that the video image is scrunched down, vertically compressed.

The bottom image shows how HD video looks on our Coby in 4:3 mode. Note that the image is no longer scrunched. It is actually displaying in its proper aspect ratio, but it’s not filling the screen as it should. Something is way wrong here.

I’ve written a note to Coby about this:

I recently purchased your TF-TV791 as a Xmas gift for my wife.

It works well except for one technical issue which is frustrating me.

The set displays 4:3 standard definition video quite well. However, it has a problem with 16:9 high-definition video.

I am of course aware of how to switch back and forth between the 4:3 and 16:9 modes using the remote. The problem is that high-definition video is simply not displayed properly. There are black bars at the top and bottom of the screen when viewing a high-definition signal.

As a general rule, there should not be black bars on a widescreen TV when viewing widescreen video. I’ve been able to check the same broadcast on our larger Panasonic television and verify that the signal properly fills the screen without stretching.

Therefore I can only conclude the problem is with the TF-TV791 unit. Is there some way to correct this problem?

I wonder if they’ll get back to me.

Toss of the Coin

I think it was four years ago or so. Definitely pre-Katrina. I couldn’t sleep one night, so I was sitting up at the computer and I googled my name. I came across my entry on the IMDb which I hadn’t looked at for a while.

It puzzled me to notice I had a 2002 story credit for a flick called Toss of the Coin. What could that be? Some more clicking around and I discovered that an old buddy of mine, Patrick Steele, had made a short film based on a story I wrote in high school.

He sent me a copy on DVD, and I was knocked out. The quality of the production was high, but more than that, it was like I’d had a dream many years ago and suddenly that dream was made real. So strange, and definitely one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me.

I just discovered yesterday that Toss of the Coin is now online. If you’ve got twelve minutes to spare, check it out:

Or see it in full resolution on openfilm.com.

Continue reading “Toss of the Coin”

Gatherers of Light

I’m nearing the end of my project of excavating old images from the depths of my hard drive. There have been some interesting discoveries along the way. A few days ago, I found a set of photos I thought had been lost, from March 23rd, 2002. That’s when I made a road trip to Shreveport for an event called “Arts in the Edge: Gatherers of Light.” I was showing a video there.

I believe this was when I first met Paul Gailiunas and Helen Hill. Helen was showing a film in Shreveport too, as was Courtney Egan. Courtney was my connection to the whole event. I rode up with Courtney and David, then rode back with Paul and Helen.

I was particularly happy to find this photo of Helen and Rosie:

Helen & Rosie

People had been telling me “you’ve got to meet Paul and Helen” for a couple years. And on this day in March, I finally did. And I finally understood why they were so celebrated by all their friends. I’d never met such happy, friendly, loving people.

It was a good day.

Helen slept on the ride back to New Orleans, but Paul and I stayed up and talked the whole way, six hours I guess.

I’ve posted the whole set.

The Boboli Video

And now here comes a video from the unfathomable T Bill featuring Xy and yours truly at the Kroger grocery in Bloomington, Indiana, circa mid ’90s. I guess I gave this raw footage to T Bill when he visited years ago and then forgot about it. I never expected to see it again. But, lo and behold, he edited it together with some other appropriated video and posted it to YouTube yesterday. This was stuff we shot for ROX but never used. Never before seen! Enjoy.

Second Alpha-Cinematic Circumnavigation

We’ve finished our second pass through the alphabet. The first go-round took three years and was interrupted by Katrina; this second go-round took thirteen months and was interrupted by the birth of our daughter.

Out of 130-odd DVDs, my favorites were 28 Days Later, A.I., The Bridge on the River Kwai, Baraka, The Bicycle Thief, Cabaret, The Battle of Algiers, Donnie Darko, Double Indemnity, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Doctor Zhivago, Cinema Paradiso, Fanny and Alexander (TV version), Howl’s Moving Castle, The Incredibles, Hotel Rwanda, I ♥ Huckabees, Kung Fu Hustle, Knocked Up, Kinsey, The Life of Mammals, Life in the Undergrowth, The Lives of Others, March of the Penguins, Nirvana: Nevermind, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Take, Wages of Fear, The Wire (Season Four), and Whale Rider.

That gives you some idea of my taste in film and video. If you’re so inclined, you can add me as a friend on Netflix. Thanks to all y’all who helped us discover new and interesting works of filmic art. In some cases you may not even have realized it, but when I see a bunch of friends have rated a flick highly, I generally check it out.

And so we begin again. Will we make it through the alphabet a third time? Xy thinks so, but I’m skeptical.

Hillbilly Hercules II

I didn’t have anything to do with the production of this short video from 1994, but friend Rob Womack just advised me it’s on YouTube and it certainly deserves to be seen by more people.

Observant viewers will note Xy in the role of Athena. Bonus points if you can spot her other appearance.