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‘life’ Category

  1. a dream I had on 8/13/01

    March 27, 2011 by jjosh

    just flipping through old dream journals…came across this one, it's a doozy:


    Spring, a bunch of us out running. Running from Thor, who'd taken the form of a wolf — a giant wolf, white.

    Somehow I realized that I was the one to be sacrificed.

    Thor yelled out – "I'll take the new green!" which I knew to be me.

    I ran up a tall tall tree and Thor started to come up after me.

    I had no choice but to jump… …and I began to fly. Not all graceful, but hard n fast like a jet.

    I realized that it had all been Thor's way of making me fly!

    We flew to a boat and some other stuff happened.

  2. A Lot of Good Stuff

    February 25, 2011 by jjosh

    Ok, let's follow this path a little bit, and see what we're talking about as far as unlocking creativity.

    First off, there was this short short film that I really wanted to make. Got an invite to submit a film to Moviehouse a few weeks ago, and so we made A Minor Revelation, which I have linked to before, but will do again for the sake of completeness.

    A Minor Revelation from josh granger on Vimeo.

    So that played at the Moviehouse film night, and there was a vote to see which of the 14 2-minute films would win. The vote was decided by applause, and we won, which was pretty exciting. Such a democratic way to vote too, it was a blast. What did we win, you ask? We won the first swing at the pinata they had for the rest of the party. So they handed me a big wooden stick, and told me to give it a go.

    I took one crack at it, and decapitated the thing. Done. One blow. It was fun as hell. Someone got a great pic of it:

    Then, it keeps going. Unbeknownst to me, friend HB and MRT made off with the head and hatched a whole plan to hit me like that scene with the horse's head in The Godfather. Last weekend was such a monster — we were out trying to see an event at 3:30am on Saturday morning, then had guests visit for Saturday & Sunday (and they are guests who like to drink), so it was late nights all round. Monday I knew I was staring at a full day of work, so really Sunday morning was the only time I had to try and sleep in, recover. Went to bed late Saturday night after a heavy round of drinking, so stoked to turn off the alarm and just sleep as long as I wanted…

    And was awakened to the pinata head, and MRT filming me and giggling. When you watch this, look at me, look at how I'm hiding from the camera, I'm in so much pain, both physical and spiritual. All I want to do is hide.

    I don't know if you caught it, but the only way I was able to get her to turn off the camera was by saying "You wouldn't want me filming you when you wake up in the morning." Because believe me, she wouldn't. Let's put it mildly and say she's not a morning person.

    So she left me alone, and I was lying in bed, frying my brain because I couldn't get back to sleep after that crazy experience. My brain was on overdrive, and I hit on the idea that what we needed to do with our afternoon was to shoot a remake of that Godfather scene, shot-for-shot. And since MRT had put me through some pain that morning, I was pretty sure I was in a good place to demand that this happen.

    We loaded up the scene from youtube, had it on the iphone, and made a shot-for-shot remake. It was a good time, 'cuz our friend who were visiting were tv folks too (an AP and an editor) so we all got really into it. Loaded it up, put the original sound under it, and AK who was staying with us dialed up an awesome sepia color-correct to try and match the original…it came out well…

    But the real fun is with youtube doubler, which I have come across a number of times, and with which you can run the original and our remake at the same time to see how close we got…not bad for just an afternoon…you'll know it's in sync if the audio sounds normal (no echo)…if it won't sync up, try going to the original page, and if it still won't sync there, try hitting refresh a bunch…

    YouTube Doubler

    Yeah, that's a lot of good stuff.

  3. This Race is Amazing

    February 12, 2011 by jjosh

    We shot a short short film yesterday morning — remind me never again in one day to attempt to shoot a short, edit it, then watch the Superbowl, then finish the edit — and got it all polished up today. It came out pretty well, and was a blast to do. It’s been ages since I’ve done a small film, shooting for no reason other than the fun of it. And this was actually even a bit above that as it was super simple narratively, but we did rent a bunch of equipment (7D! doorway dolly!) from rental places in Manhattan to make it look really good. And I think it does. Maxine did a stellar job with the camera work, and Vince was so solid in the main role.

    The reason I felt we had to get it done yesterday was that there was a deadline for a 2-minute film submission today. We got it all done, I burned the DVD and then rode a bike over to 3rd Ward to drop it off. Sunday is the 4th anniversary of Moviehouse, a kind of film art collective screening night (or something) and they had an open submission for 2-minute films to potentially show at their event. I didn’t really read too much about it, just saw the open submission, knew I had been desperate to make something fun, and put the plan in motion. At one point I said to Vince, and realized it was true, that with this kind of project, “a deadline is almost as good as getting paid.” And it really is true. Having a deadline helps so much, gives you that push.

    There were a lot of factors contributing to the fact that I hadn’t made a fun film in a long time: moving to New York meant kind of a social reset and it took some time to find like-minded folks, Maxine and I have been pretty swamped trying to take Hitman to the next level, and working on Musicwood at the same time, and — and this one was a tougher realization — it’s been secretly hard for me to get into the swing of things because this was something that Mike and I always did together, and with him gone, it’s kind of a tough reminder. It’s been 6 years (really, 6 years?) and it’s definitely dialed down a bit, but it’s still tough. Last Wednesday, Mike’s birthday, I finally got around to digitizing all the films we made in the 90’s (those VHS’s are getting close to crumbling) and I’m in the process of getting them up on vimeo. I’ll post the link when they’re up.

    There’s an even weirder thing, which is that I have this raw footage for a film Mike and I shot in 2001 or 2002, and have since lost the finished piece. You have to understand, we were making little films whenever we could, although, since neither of us had a camera or any kind of editing equipment, we had to find people to borrow it from all the time. So at one point we decided we were going to apply to be a team on ABC’s Amazing Race. We made up this whole narrative for our team, where Mike and I had been best friends but then he stole a girl I was really into and we hated each other, but then they broke up so now we’re trying to patch our friendship back together. You know, the kind of stuff that reality tv eats up with a spoon.

    For the application you also had to send in a video of the team, so they could see how you did on camera. And for some reason, we thought it would be best for us to make this completely bizarre video where Mike was this shirtless guy living in an old abandoned shopping center in Annapolis (Parole, now a crazy mall/America place), and I was his friend who used to live there but somehow got out. He phoned me, and I was imploring him to leave the crazy shopping center, and finally he does, extolling the fact that “there’s a whole world out there!!” The implication being that Amazing Race would allow him (and us) to experience that world. It was totally bonkers. I was working as an editor for TLC at the time, so we cut it on the AVID I had access to, and recorded it out to VHS.

    And sent it in, and I think I saved the project for ages, and then somehow it vanished. No trace of the finished film has ever turned up, but I have the raw footage on a miniDV. I know at some point I’ll try to re-create it — although it won’t be 100% because I know there was music of some kind, and I had MIke do some voice over for it — but right now, I’m too too busy to think about it…

    At some point though, it’ll be a blast.

    Oh, and no shock, we didn’t get into the Amazing Race, although I remember Lee K was really digging the film.

    And then hey, Thursday I got an email that said Moviehouse is going to screen it Sunday Feb13th as part of the mini festival we submitted it for! Amazing! Stop by 3rd Ward if you’ll be in the area, it should be fun…looks like about 10 films, so it’ll be great to see our film projected large, and with an audience…I will report how it goes…

    A Minor Revelation from josh granger on Vimeo.

  4. Bison Pete and the Pants Trick

    January 31, 2011 by jjosh

    <all right chaps, put the meat on the head!>

    I was working late one evening, assistant editing for the production company I worked for. We were working on a show about buffalo that we had produced for a late 90's series that was on TNT called "Wild! Life Adventures" (yes, they did have that "!" in there). The conceit of Wild! Life Adventures was that it was a nature show, but it was hosted by a celebrity! GENIUS!

    The first one we did was about the return of the wolves to Yellowstone, and it was hosted by Matthew Fox. It was an amazing shoot, going to areas only accessible by horseback, and carrying the camera equipment on a mule. The mule would go on ahead of us with these handlers, and by the end of the shoot it had gotten to the point where they were doubling as grips, and would have the camera and tripod set up for us by the time we got to the location.

    The second one was not as glamorous, but it was definitely weird. It was about Bison, and was hosted by Harry Hamlin. You know Harry Hamlin, right? The star of LA Law, and, more importantly, the original Clash of the Titans. I was a PA on the shoot and got to spend a lot of time with Harry. Once he found out I was geeking out over Clash, he began to tell me all these tales of working on the movie. Which was a hoot, because it was a low-budget b-movie shot in Italy, but it had Lawrence Olivier in it and all these other surreal touches. I remember he told me about the Medusa head prop having all this raw meat on the bottom of it to make it look shredded and bloody, but it was so hot that the meat kept rotting and stinking the place up. So in between takes they would take the meat off the prop and store it in a cooler. Then before each shot, the British AD would intone over the walkie talkie "Ok chaps, put the meat on the head!" For a while, making the Bison film, we would say "put the meat on the head" all the time.

    Anyway, we were editing this show, and it wasn't going that well. Partly because Bison don't really DO much (although we had an amazing shoot in the middle of a rut!), and partly because Hamlin was only available for half the shoot. For the other half of the shoot (and show) we were focusing on a character named Bison Pete, who was a ornery old cuss out of Wyoming who got his name because he dealt in Bison furs. Since the production was trying to save money, they had me sharing a hotel room with Bison Pete. Which was fine, in theory, I mean I've shared rooms with lots weirder than that Bison skinner.

    But the weirdness quotient increased because Bison Pete liked to sleep naked. Fair enough, sure, but also the man wasn't just called Bison Pete because of his job, youknowhatI'msayin? And he snored like a freight train! I didn't get any sleep, and when you're on those shoots, they start REALLY early and run REALLY late. And when you're the PA on those shoots, you get up even earlier to get everyone breakfast, and you run even later to make sure the next day's shoot is prepped. So I was completely shot. That day was brutal.

    The next day I told the producer that I didn't care, she could take the hotel fee out of my pay, but I NEEDED MY OWN ROOM. And they got it for me. Very considerate. I continued to ride from location to location in Pete's truck with him, and had some great conversations.

    ME: You know, it's amazing being out here in the West, it's so open…

    PETE: Sure is.

    ME: But I guess there's houses up there on that hill, and I wonder if you've seen it change in your lifetime?

    PETE: Sure have. Didn't used to be houses up there.

    ME: So do you think it's inevitable that everywhere will eventually just fill up with people?

    PETE: Sure do.

    ME: Why, do you think?

    PETE: Cuz there's more and more people. And there's more and more people 'cuz people just keep on fuckin.

    ME: Sounds right.

    Anyway, the show was having a tough time coming together and we were having to put in some late nights. The producer and associate producer had rented an AVID and it was in the AP's house. She lived on a street in Annapolis in an ok area, across from the library on West St. So it was a bit late at night, like maybe 10:30, when there was a knock at her front door. Which was kind of weird.

    The producer, AP, and editor all got nervous, and were like, hey Josh, you're the only man here, why don't you answer the door. Which seemed a bit like bunk, but ok, sure. I went to the door and opened it, leaving the screen door part closed. It was summer, and outside was standing a medium height black guy with a beard, wearing a backpack and no shirt. He looked a bit distressed.

    "I'm really sorry sir," he said, "I know this looks weird, but I was wondering if I could just come in and use your bathroom for a minute?"

    When I balked, he continued, "You see, my friends left me here, they drove off without me, and they played a trick on me, they put something in my pants."

    And it took my mind a while to process what the hell this could all mean. It certainly didn't sound right.

    "I don't know buddy, I'm not sure about that."

    "I know, I know, but look, my friends drove off! They put something in my pants…"

    "Well, it's kind of late, that's a strange story…"

    "I know, I know, but if I could just use your bathroom for a moment…"

    And I was in this strange mindset. I felt a little guilty, I kept thinking if this was pioneer times I would let the poor guy in, what if something happened, what if they really did play a trick on him, what if they —

    and then I would hit the part where his situation just rocket blasted off into weirdness, and think, all of that might be the case, but what in the world does it mean that they put something in his pants?! Why would he mention that?

    I eventually had to close the door on him, and he was pretty disgruntled about the whole thing. I tried to explain that it was too late, that I just couldn't, that it wasn't my house. What I should have said was, maybe if you had kept your pants out of it, we could make something happen. What I should have said was, alright chaps, put the meat on the head!

  5. Raygun Theatre for SGA Secretary

    January 25, 2011 by jjosh

    This is weird. I was going to write a story about Raygun Theatre — the band I played with in college — and googled it to see if I could get a picture of the band or something for this post. I was going to write a reminiscence about the time we played a show and were getting paid something liked $2 and this irritated us so much that we did an extended version of one of the songs where we played the last two chords for 10 minutes. We timed it, and just did those same two chords, over and over and over. It was trance-like, and funny at first, and then weird, and then I kind of got into it. The band I'm in now pretty much only plays one note, so it was sort of foreshadowing.

    After that show, our lead guitarist Mike Lyxx wrote a song about that whole experience called "Fuck You All" which was a pretty great song. We recorded it with a slew of other songs over a weekend recording with Rob (from the band Eggs) in Arlington, VA. Then we pressed 300 (I think) records, Jack (lead singer/songwriter) screen-printed the covers on paper and we laboriously glued them to all the record covers. I still have a couple of the records, but most have been given away at this point.

    So I'm googling "Raygun Theatre" and I'm seeing some gig posters from college which I now remember having found before and being kind of amazed that they were online. And then a couple of hits down there's a link to a German Ebay auction that just ended Dec 28, 2010 for one of the records! It was sold from Paris, and it went for $60?! Wha?

    How did it end up in Paris?

    Why is someone trying to sell it now?

    Why is someone else paying $60 for it?

    And there's no real info listed either, just "genre: punk" and "label: LS1" which is actually wrong, it's supposed to be SL1, which stood for Senior Lounge, referring to some kind of lounge that Jack had in his high school where only the seniors could hang out. Did you ever hear of such a thing?

    Also, this auction claims that the record is in its original shrink wrap?! What the what?

    I would love to know the story behind this record. The auction has some great pictures of the record (added below). If it sold for not much money, I would think it was maybe just some vinyl collector who thought "hey, let's check this out", but it's $60…granted, that's not a ton, but it's enough that maybe you'd want to have an idea of what you were getting? Or maybe not? I'm tempted to write the winner and see what the story is. Yeah, that's what I'll do! Let's see what the deal is!

    Ah no, a little look further reveals that it didn't sell for $60, that's what the starting bid was, and he didn't get any takers. It's since been relisted for $45, nuts, we're losing value! Well, I think I'll still write that guy and ask where he got the record, what the deal is, etc.

  6. notes

    January 17, 2011 by jjosh

    <above image is hit one when searching google images for "year of the dragon">

    For this week's post I'm going to type out verbatim one of the notes I have on my iphone….

    I was always overhearing good ideas, or being witness to some amazing stories, and I always wanted to write them down (tried many times with notebooks, tiny notebooks, etc.) but never really got a system that worked until I got the iphone…for some reason, always having the phone around, and the notetaking program allows you to type (instead of having to write it out longhand — which always took forever — you can type), combine to make it a way I'm actually using to note down when the golden ideas come around. Some notes are better quality than others, depending on how golden the ideas are…

    here's the most recent one, it's pretty good…some of them do have more context, but I think it's kind of fun to see them without any context at all…


    year of the dragon


    is it emotional or clinical

    don't have to tell whole life story


    Constance Garnett version of Dostoevsky 

    mark vessen. beasties


    write museum of mov I'm about star wars figures being mixed up…bib fortunata in empire section should be in jedi section…also if you want t be taken seriously your collection needs a boba fett.  seriously. 


    watch big lebowski


    trailer park boys


    dirge rock bank job


    generosity street

    reasonably cute


    jay bois story about trying to help dad with track lighting…ends with dad driving away…blown in insulation…


    use the music from aphrodites child when he's walking to the horse 


    we four get a cracker barrel franchise…vince hates it so much he commits suicide…right when cj gets the news we are the best cracker barrel in the nation…goes to tell vince and finds him…before hanging himself vince is still optimistic, even making positive suggestions at a meeting 


    watch the 86 mets on funny or die




  7. Fever for a Fifth

    January 11, 2011 by jjosh

    Somehow Ken got one of those portable flashing lights that undercover cops use, you know? So for a while in high school the fun thing for us to do was to ride around in his diesel BMW and head out to the country roads deep in Maryland where there weren't any streetlights. We'd find a car driving around, follow them, and then throw the flashing red on the roof. We'd pull them over. And then we had a couple of options: we could speed off, swerving all over the road like crazy people; we could pull up right next to them and look deadpan at them before driving away; we could roll down the windows and yell some nonsense at them.

    Ken's car tape player was broken, so he had this piece of junk silver portable tape player that we would put in the middle of the two front seats and play tapes from. It only had the one speaker, and I'm pretty sure it had a shortwave radio on it, it was a real antique. For a while were deep into the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, first as kind of a joke, and then we got it non-ironically.

    One night we were jamming Fever and pulling people over, and we pulled over some guys in a pickup truck. We drove up next to them and gave them the deadpan look. It was two Deep Maryland Rednecks who saw some high school geeks pretending to be cops. They got pissed, narrowed their eyes to slits and blew smoke out of their noses.

    We hit the accelerator.

    What I'll always remember is that as soon as we put the hammer down, the junky silver tape player started up with the Fever Soundtrack's "A Fifth of Beethoven". The energy was fierce. The rednecks were giving chase, really flooring it, getting all up on our tailpipe. And Ken was driving like a madman, giving it all he could. And the tape player was building, and building, and it was like a disco chase scene, country roads blurring by in the night. And at some point it actually got kind of scary, like what the hell are these guys going trying to do? We are miles and miles from anything, are we getting into some deliverance-style scene here?

    But the disco kind of keeps it light, keeps it exciting, keeps pumping it up, so when they pull up next to us we're pretty much ready to explode. One of the Deep Maryland Rednecks pitches a beer bottle at us and it smashes on the hood of the car. He's leaning out of the window and screaming like a banshee, a high-pitched wail, and he's tilted his head back like he's howling at the moon. And I mean this is too much, like what the hell is going on? How did it get to this? What are we doing with our lives? A Fifth of Beethoven is at fever pitch, and tires are screaming all over the road.

    And Ken takes a turn and pulls into some kind of gated community and the rednecks keep speeding down the road. There's still glass on the hood of the BMW and someone stops the tape player. Adrenaline pumps. How did it happen? We had been the cops, the pursuers, and how quickly we had become the pursued. The tables turned so quickly.

    I blamed disco.

  8. pulse generator

    October 10, 2010 by jjosh

    I made this youtube vid of myself messing around with a pulse generator that I got at a yard sale for $5…might be my best yard sale purchase ever…

    the sounds are so electronic-y, so analog…good stuff…

  9. man, relax

    September 17, 2010 by jjosh

    true story…(thanks KT G!)

  10. flame on!

    September 14, 2010 by jjosh

    Weirdly, I could watch this all day…this was posted by WIRED to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros…they listed a bunch of things that Mario can do that you can do as well…in this case, throwing fireballs…

  11. masks

    September 11, 2010 by jjosh

  12. oh yeah, there’s this, is this real?

    August 26, 2010 by jjosh

  13. a good cosmic feelin

    August 18, 2010 by jjosh

    "The Earth together with the Moon, as seen from the Messenger spacecraft to Mercury, May 2010."

    [from warrenellis]

  14. Bon Voyage

    August 11, 2010 by jjosh

    It's been a great car. It moved us to New York, even though we smashed a window on the day we were driving up. It took us on an epic East Coast tour down into the South, through NC and to Savannah and back. It's been to Vermont, CT, NH, a bunch of times. Driven us to shoots in Brooklyn, Central Park, scouting runs to NJ. Been super reliable. In fact, this may be the first car I've had that didn't break down at some point and leave me stranded on the side of the road! Huge.
    It seems a bit of a shame to say good-bye. There are some computer errors in the engine, and the throttle body needs to be replaced and some other things, and it looks like it would cost about $3000 (!!!) to fix (got a second opinion and they agreed). Plus, it feels like we live in one of the few cities in the world where we actually don't need a car.
    So today we say good-bye. We're donating it and the tow truck is here now to take it away. I will miss the flexibility of having a car, the ease of getting a ton of groceries, the simplicity of driving my amp over to someone's house. I will not miss having to re-park once or twice a week for the street cleaning. I will not miss having to remember where the heck I parked it this time. I will not miss paying car insurance. I will not miss paying for parking tickets.
    Good luck car, we'll see you around.

  15. a certain surgical procedure

    August 10, 2010 by jjosh

    hey you guys know that story about GZA being at SxSW and showing up really late for his set and being completely drunk and forgetting lyrics and just generally giving an awful show? did you know it was because he had been partying it up big style with Bill Murray getting wasted in the middle of the day? true!

    check the relationship below from JJ's Coffee and Cigarettes, which you don't need to see really…bu this scene is so amazing. The way he cuts to the close-up when BM says "Wu Tang Clan!" And the little augmented "ting" when the tea cups clink…so much fun…"I wouldn't hold my breath on Ghost"…