Where did all the weekends go?

Recently I've been out on film sets again! Yay! The past three (four? five? I lose count... it started in October) weekends have been spent holding a microphone above my head, and tweaking a DAT recorder's sound levels on my friends Matt & Scrapper's film production. It's great to get back into the swing of things again. It also reminds me just what a superbly talented bunch of people I work with. I love 'em all to pieces. And the people I don't work with who are doing this are great too. Gosh, I'm getting all emotional.

Here's a photoblog of sorts of the film shoot so far. Stars Jerry Lloyd. And criminy, Jerry's last film (Bullets, Blood and a Fistful of Cash) just got picked up by a distributor. Woohoo!

By the way, if you're in the Seattle area, Jerry is part of Verotica143, which (and I know this is hard to believe, but please bear with me) is an erotic mime show. You can pick your jaw up from the floor now. Go check it out.

For some reason I'm always happiest when on a film set. You end up doing nothing for hours at a time. Nearly everything is just waiting. And in my case, I'm usually holding a microphone above my head at the end of a long pole (which magnifies the weight) for hours at a time. But I love it like nothing else. Why? Who frickin' knows. I don't care - I just love doing it.

However, next time I do sound for anyone, I want to pick the DAT package and the microphones we need for the shoot. I swear, if I do one thing in the future, it will be to rent a multitrack recorder of some kind, and rent a bunch of lavaliers for dialogue work. So much better than just using a shotgun if the conditions are awful.

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British Food That Doesn't Suck

part 1 of an occasional series to prove that British food isn't all about boiling everything into mush, and that there are great things that come from it...

The Trifle

Sponge cake and fruit soaked in jello. Atop this, a layer of cold yellow Bird's custard (you know, it's just eggs, milk, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla... it's not hard... you can make it yourself). And finally, on top of that, freshly whipped cream. With sprinkles. And maybe halved strawberries.

My mum used to make it every year for Christmas. (She'd make two or three). I made it last year for Thanksgiving for a bunch o' Merkins1 who'd never had it before.

It went down well. Next time? I need to figure out how to make a Sherry trifle. I've never tried - it can't be that hard though, can it?

Side note: It appears that a trifle (while definitely a British invention) encompasses a large number of desserts. It basically appears to cover any kind of multi-layered wet cake. Requirements: Must be a sponge layer, the sponge must be soaked in a liquid. Seems to also require that there's fruit of some kind involved. The top layer is always whipped something-or-other (preferably cream - if you're going to eat dessert, at least do it with style). The middle layer appears to be optional - but it's usually there, and it's usually some kind of custard or pudding. So... erm... there you go.

The Recipe

Ingredients:
Lady Fingers
Strawberry Jello
1 can, fruit cocktail
Custard (see below for recipe + requirements - or buy Birds' custard)
Heavy whipping cream
Sprinkles (or as they're called back home, 100s and 1000s).

Sponge Layer

Break the lady fingers into pieces and put in the bottom of a big glass dish. Drain the fruit cocktail, and add to the dish. Make up the jello mix, and pour into the dish as well. Allow to cool, then refrigerate until set.

Custard Layer

Here's a couple of recipes ready made for the Custard. I'd try the thicker one, as it's going to need to set somewhat. It should still be liquid after everything else sets though - just not runny, and not set.

http://www.joyofbaking.com/CremeAnglaise.html

Once the custard has been made, cover with saran wrap (to eliminate any air, which will form a skin) and cool until cold but not set. Pour the custard onto the set Sponge Layer, re-cover with plastic wrap, and return to the fridge to set some more (this step may be over kill).

Whippy Topping Layer

Whip up that whipping cream, until it becomes, well, whipped cream. Add to the big dish and use it to cover the custard layer. Sprinkle on the sprinkles, and serve immediately.

You could also try adding some strawberries, slivered almonds, etc. if you wanted. Go nuts! Heck, do two different flaor layers of jello, or use jam swiss rolls instead of lady fingers. Or try it with coffee cake in the bottom. Or use Egg Nog instead of Jello and skip the custard step. (Seriously, do a search - there's room for thousands of variations).

1Theatre folk and Terry Pratchett fans alike will know what a Merkin is. Go ahead. Look it up. I dare ya.

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Photos!

I'm finally getting around to putting some of my archive of photos online. You can find them at Flickr.com.

Cool photos? Sure! The NSA ones are exceptionally cool. You don't often get to see an Enigma machine up close, never mind play with one :)

There are also photos from the Good Samaritan film shoot, the premiere of said short film, people I work with, and more.

I'll try to expand this over time.

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Movies I Miss

There are some films I've only seen once or twice, which I've never been able to get a hold of. Unfortunately as time rolls by, it's looking less and less likely that they'll ever get released in the US (and my Sony HDTV won't display PAL, which is Really Lame - hopefully my XBOX 360 will be able to play it and transcode it for me when I get it).

What are these movies? Well, they're kind of classics. You may have seen them - and you might not have. And some of them are just shorts. But anyway... the list:

The Quiet Earth

This is a classic apocalyptic Australian film from the 80s. A scientist on the team responsible for a Tesla-like Microwave Energy Transmission wakes up the day after the system is turned on to find himself to be the only man on Earth. The shots of empty towns, complete with the burning wreckage of 747s are haunting. The first half of the film is better than the second (a fate which also befell the - at first - similarly themed 28 Days Later - for some reason, protagonists wandering around deserted cities is always incredibly compelling).

12:01 PM (Short)

This short film starring Kurtwood Smith (That 70's Show and Robocop are his most famous appearances) won an Academy Award for Best Short Live Action Film in 1990. Following a similar line to Groundhog Day (which it predated by 3 years), and the remake (12:01am - which sadly does not hold a candle to its progenitor), the protagonist Myron Castleman is stuck in a repeating period of time. Unlike the other two films, which repeat a single day over and over, 12:01 is unique in that Myron is stuck in a single repeating hour. It's a beautiful film, which again you can buy on DVD in the UK (as part of a compilation). But not in the US.

Hopefully Showtime will show it again some time, or release it. (They produced the original as part of their 30 minute film series).

Miracle Mile

OK, so this one is out on DVD. It's yet another piece of beautiful 80's apocalypsia. Mare Winningham and Anthony Edwards paint a romantic love story against the backdrop of LA while the bomb is about to drop. With a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream that helps build the tension and despair as Edwards' character gets more and more desperate, a city under siege as riots and looting break out when everybody else finds out, and the fact that after the first 30 minutes, the movie runs in absolute real time, way before Timecode or 24 were even a twinkle in anyone's eye, it's just a beautifully put together film.

But the DVD you can buy on Amazon was released on the cheap, with no extras (which I can handle) and as Pan and Scan (which I can't). Of course, it could have just been filmed on Super 35, and they went full format for the release, but I have the horrible feeling that this film was meant to be widescreen. Thus, I'm still waiting for a transfer that will do it justice.

Threads

All I know about this film is that it's another 80s nuclear aftermath film, and that I shouldn't have been awake when I crawled downstairs and saw 15 minutes of it with my parents - before they shooed me off to bed. I still want to see the full version.

Max Headroom

The original film that was made to kickstart Channel 4 VJ Max Headroom's talking head career. The American TV show was much better than the Channel 4 music video chat show, but this is the film that started it all. Sure you could watch the TV pilot from the US show and get the same story, but somehow this was so much grittier and darker.

I'm sure there are more - I just can't remember them right now. If I do, I'll post 'em.

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