I'm just coming down from my Oscar party. Did you think Brokeback Mountain got robbed,—or are you just as happy that Crash won?
This past week, I wrote a piece for a round-table discussion on "what people don't say about Brokeback."
I thought some of the other participants were fascinating, especially the therapist who has a lot of "clients" like Jack and Ennis— and the porn guy who made me burst out laughing at his critique of the rather unrealistic portrayal of anal sex implied by the movie. It just goes to show how Hollywood can put that only-on-celluloid spin on any kind of sex! Good reading, all around.
I'm going to write a separate bitch-fest on the fashion side of the red carpet, that I'll post tomorrow. I'll just say for now that I wore a silver lame number with impossible decolletage, my "Carmella Soprano" fur jacket, "diamond" bunny necklace, a wiglet straight out of Valley of the Dolls, and matching Birkenstocks.
May I ask your advice, on some projects that have been bedeviling me? I have a little blog news, too.
1. I need a reel-to-reel tape recorder. I want to make some digital copies of music my father lent me — fabulous old tapes of music from India, California Indian songs and stories, and even some young-as-a-spring-chicken Doc Watson.
I have the Harmon-Kardan CD Player/Recorder that converts analog to digital— for example, from a cassette deck, or a turntable— but I cannot find a working reel-to-reel, that I could either have for free, for pennies, or to borrow.
I don't want to buy a new machine because I won't use it again, and this is going to take some hours of recording and editing... I don't have the budget for a luxury hobby! Any leads? Let me know.
2. I need to scan some of my old books and manuscripts which were written in the Stone Age, before digital files. (Sensing a theme here?) I need them scanned with OCR software, so they will be text documents that I can then edit and convert into PDF's.
I Google'd "book scanning" and such, and found a long list of companies that profess to do this very thing. They were pitching themselves to corporations and schools, but I figure I'd call them anyway, since I'm accustomed to not seeing "For Starving Artists" written on the home page.
I have called FIVE of them... the top links on Google, and only one guy called me back. He was at a convention in Chicago and yelled, "Whaddya want?" like I was calling for a cab on a rainy night.
I said, "I might have some business for you, I need a series of books scanned," and he rang off, saying he had no time to talk. Never heard from him again. I could have been Melinda Gates, and now he'll never know.
I'm convinced there must be people out there who have the page-feed scanners, the OCR software, who do this for a living, small projects, whatever. Is there someone in the South Bay Area like this? Or anywhere? Please let me know if you've done this or have the perfect referral. I have copies which can have the binding broken, etc.
3. My dad is always recommending good things for me to read; I love his taste in books. So I asked him to write some book reviews, and you'll find them down my right-hand sidebar. It's called "Grandpa's Book Reviews, by Bill Bright." That was Aretha's idea. He'll update them every month or so.
On the left-hand sidebar, scrolling down, you'll find a list I made of my father's books in print. I feel so silly, I never looked at them in Amazon before. He got so many great reviews! No one ever says, "This ISN'T Linguistics! Who are YOU to talk about language!" ( Which is what many people say when one writes about "erotica" for example). Anyway, I hope you enjoy them, 'cause I'm very proud.
5. Oh, let's just go back one more time, to the issue of traditional mediums and what-the-hell-to-do. What do you do with hundreds, even thousands of beautiful photographs you'd like to immortalize online?
I know the negs should be saved for posterity, if it's art photography or legacy stuff. I'm not even talking about all the cute dog/kitty poses.
I have been completely flummoxed by this sort of thing. It's so labor intensive... I'll do a dozen photos, and wonder where the day went. And I'm not even doing particularly great quality. My Valentine project was one of those.
Here, I'll give you an example of something to cherish: my maternal grandmother was the first pianist at the first Nickelodeon theater in Fargo, ND. She played piano for all the silent movies, and was a HUGE fan of all the first actors and actresses to make their mark. This was the early 20s.
She would write away for autographed photos— and what lovely prints she received and collected! Gorgeous photography by the great Hollywood snappers of the time, beautifully printed on exquisite paper, signed in great gushes of fountain pen ink. Pola Negri, William Hart, Lillian Gish... a treasure trove of these jewels.
Of COURSE I want to scan them and make a little online museum of them, with notes on the portraits and players. I'm a huge old Hollywood buff, and this is the buff's great dilemma!
Have any of you been faced with this kind of project, where you didn't have piles of money or time, but you wanted to do it justice?