Return from India

…this was my best trip to India yet!

I got there with two days to get ready before teaching.

I ate like a pig for about 4 days and then got very sick. Fortunately it happened on the weekend so I had the chance to lay in bed and recover through the worst of it.

I taught well and made a few contacts that may last me for a long time.

I got footage while riding around that supported my intention to make a short movie for the folks at Motorola who’d loaned me a phone/camera with the request that I generate some material for them. I did finish the movie later on and turned it in by their deadline.

Here’s a look at it.

I watched a lot of movies on this trip. I have a comprehensive list elsewhere, but I’ll list a few of them that come to mind right now.

Up In The Air – watched this for the second time, all with the sound off. learned a lot from that.
Raiders of the Lost Ark – never saw this before. needed to see it

Wow! I thought I could remember more of the films I watched on that trip. Will have to dig up my notes and make a more comprehensive report here.

While I was in my room in Bangalore, I did a lot of troubleshooting on the logistics of ArtShots. (A jointly organized filmmakers’ competition for Bay Area filmmakers matched up with prominent local artists.)

Also, my friend Varun gave me a copy of Shantaram — an extraordinary novel that had me want to become a regular reader again. (I mean I read thousands of words every day, but not too many of them from books and only a portion of that for recreation.)

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Headed for India

…on this day, I returned to the International Terminal at SFO after a long absence. I was bound for India where I would teach a 6-day course cycle for Cisco.

The trip was from SFO to Frankfurt, then on to Bangalore.

It was an uneventful trip. I read Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point” on the way to Frankfurt, then while I had my breakfast in the airport there, a gentleman from San Jose sat at my table and after a nice talk, he gave me a copy of “Outliers” to read on the second leg of my flight. Excellent stuff!

I love travelling, especially to India.

Giants are Undefeated!

…I love to say that because it’s ironic in the world of baseball and it means that the season is very young.

The Giants have won their first four games including an amazing 13-inning win tonight for their Home Opener.

It looks like the boys will be pretty good this year and that they’ll have both the pitching and the run support they need to give us a great season.

In the end, I don’t need them to win the World Series — but I want to be rooting for them and have a hope of success as late as Sept 15th. With a start like this, it seems like maybe they could do it. They have the pitchers in the bullpen, and the bats on the bench to make this a great year.

Hurray! Baseball is back.

—v

Beauty, Color, and Spices

…watched The Mistress of Spices last night and fell in love! Several times.

The film was lush with brilliant color and lingering closeups. The story was engaging and delightful, and the experience was one that left me enthralled and satisfied. How could it get any better than this?

I think that maybe Oprah called Aishwarya Rai “the most beautiful woman in the world” and who am I to quibble? (She did win the “Miss World” title in 1994 so the claim is not without substance.)

Cinematographer Santosh Sivan clearly thought so as he brought the camera’s eye lovingly up into Rai’s face on numerous occasions to give us a very personal experience of being in this woman’s story.

Bay Area residents will enjoy the Presidio and San Francisco locations but my favorite sequences were those that revealed some of the back story in India for two of the characters.

I just love this.

—v

What your Word will create

…there are a number of games to play on Twitter for those with the presence of mind to detect them and tune in.

One widely known game is #followfriday in which people broadcast messages naming others who are worth following.  The impact of the game is that people who are not following you on Twitter may see your messages because they are monitoring the hashtag. (If you don’t know how to monitor a tag on Twitter, try http://search.twitter.com and then search for #followfriday or #film or #edchat) Players of the game may be adding followers, in which case they are likely to follow you if they deem you interesting, or they may follow others you recommend for a similar reason.

Another game that I like to play is called Manifesting Mondays (the tag is #MaMo). In this game, participants declare a creation (such as Community, Abundance, Connection, or Love) in a Twitter message and include the hashtag. Other community members declare intention to create that same thing, and then something happens.

Maybe that sounds a little California woo-woo, and you think, ‘You gotta be kidding…’

Well I’m just sayin’

A trail of movies

…we went into to City on Saturday to accomplish two goals. The first (and overt) goal was to see the movie "Remembering Playland" and the secondary goal was to check out the Balboa theater to determine its suitability for the San Francisco 48HFP.

It was a lovely day and I got a lot out of going. Most of it had to do with leading me to history of SF and of film itself.  So yes, I’m feeling nostalgic.

Nostalgic for what, Vincent?

Not a doc, not a drama, and not that funny

…The 48 Hour Film Project put the genre list up for a vote this year. Each year there is a list of genre types that are put into a hat for the season, and filmmakers will draw from among them at the beginning of their competition weekend.

This past year, the genre “Stoner Film” was on the list and the few times I saw people draw it, the films were not that great. If we look to history, we can identify some of the great Stoner Films of all time — Yellow Submarine, The Wall, Up in Smoke, Animal House, Half Baked, and … well, I can’t remember any others.

There are also movies about stoners but that have a different purpose. Blues Brothers, The Big Lebowski, and Ang Lee’s most recent contribution, Taking Woodstock.

But today’s movie on Hulu, Johnny Appleweed just didn’t make the grade in any way that I could see. Spacy (but gorgeous) guy, hippy-dippy girlfriend, and smelly obnoxious little brother with a camera — the ingredients seemed good but the thing isn’t funny and there isn’t a threat of redeeming qualities by 1/2 hour in and I don’t think I’ll be staying for the rest.

Call this one a walkout…

Followed that up by watching Charles Bronson in Mr. Majestyk. I thought that I’d already seen this, but really I hadn’t. In a way, this was the beginning of a genre. Including Walking Tall, Cisco Pike, and later stories like Red Rock along with a whole host of others about ordinary guys who’ve been pushed too far, this was one of those feel-good movies where you get to enjoy the bad guys getting what’s coming to them.

The fights, shootouts and car chases in this one were pretty exciting and a welcome contrast from the seemingly never-ending chase in Dark Knight, or the excessive splatter fest in Robocop 2. This is how you make a movie when you don’t plan to spend 14 million.

The dialog in this one is a little cliche’ and the story lacks the cleverness that later emerged in the genre. But this was there at the beginning. I liked it…

—v