Jacob: February 2004 Archives

Oscar predictions are for wimps. Sure, your usual fancy-pants film critics have lots of big talk about who they think will win, but if they're wrong, what do they lose? A big fat nothing.

I, however, am a dangerous man. I live life on the edge. I'm not just talking about who I think will win the Oscars: I'm betting on it.

Is Irony Un-American?

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The BBC recently tackled one of the great questions of the modern world: do Americans get irony? And, no, they weren't joking. Or, at least, not as far as my feeble, irony-deprived American brain can perceive.

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By popular demand, I've started dating entries based on when I posted them, not on when the events occcurred. Sorry for any confusion I might have caused.

On a side note, I've always hated those very special episodes of TV shows, where the writers of "Punky Brewster" would suddenly decide that the burning question on the nation's mind was, "What do the writers of Punky Brewster think about the death penalty?" I'm therefore a bit reluctant to lure people to Yankee Fog with the promise of amusing stories of life abroad, and then, in a sort of aesthetic bait-and-switch, provide you with political commentary instead. However, as an American, I cherish my God-given right to believe that nobody in the world is willing to make up their minds on a given issue until I have weighed in on it. As a compromise, therefore, I've let myself write a piece that offers yet another opinion on whole gay marriage debate, but I am posting it as a Very Special Saturday Bonus. I'll have my usual Something Interesting About Life In London to post on Monday.

The Privatization of Marriage

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Although he has never met me, President Bush is deeply concerned about my marriage.

He is particularly concerned about the threat posed to it by one Julie Goodridge, who manages a $50 million socially responsible investment fund. Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Supreme Court affirmed Ms. Goodridge's right to marry her partner of nearly a decade, Hillary, who is a program director of a charity that gives away nearly $1 million every year.

The 48 Hour Film Challenge, Part II

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(Continued from Part I)

When I discover that my film is not on the screening schedule, I write a panicky note to the event organizers. They respond by telling me that a number of films failed to follow one of the challenge's few rules--all films must begin with a title card featuring the assigned film title and the team name. If my film wasn't included, I must have disqualified myself by leaving off the title card. I write back to assure them that I did, indeed, include the title card. I ask them to check again.

To be honest, though, I am beginning to wonder whether I want my film screened at all. I have now had the chance to watch it again with a good night's sleep, and it is, frankly, pretty crappy. Everybody else's contribution is just as good as I remember--the acting, the music, and the backpack wrangling all hold up extremely well. The only problem is the writing and the directing. The first 30 seconds of the film are nothing but a slow pan over a still image of a garden. That's 11% of the film's entire running time, taken up with the dullest possible image. The next 30 seconds aren't much better; it's not until a full minute into the film that one of my actors actually appears on screen. And once the action starts, the shots I've chosen often aren't the best ones to tell the story.

The 48 Hour Film Challenge

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In just a few minutes, the clock will start ticking, and I will have 48 hours to write, shoot, and edit a complete short film. But that's not the hard part.