Morning has Broken…

Coffee_01Good Morning American Bums!

I use that greeting a lot on the net, without attribution because it is from a Tab hunter movie I loved as a child that is, perhaps, so blindingly racist as to be offensive.  Taken out of context though it’s charming so I will leave it at that for the moment.  OK so let’s start the morning off with the normal check in:

Blood Pressure: 103/75

Pulse: 69

Weight: 266.6

I will confess to almost NOT weighing myself again, due to vanity, which if you think about it is pretty damn hysterical.  So here I am, a “Harmless old man” (as my room mate in Austin referred to me as, Hi Brad!) and I am thinking that if I don’t weigh myself I will suddenly be a svelte object of desire to a whole rainbow of alluring females.  All I can say is SNORK!  Thanks for keeping me honest guys.

Yesterday I spent the day working in UNITY 3D, MODO and all sorts of technological “jiggery-pokerey”, which is right there in my wheel house so it was a good day.  I felt very little compunction to turn on the boob-tube and binge watch yet another cop show on USA that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about law enforcement (friendly models and looks who angst over how they serve us and actually NEVER take a nightstick to a guy who was just trying to pay his cable bill)

Man, I almost got political there, sorry (I will watch myself in future).

Anaglyphic Observations

Dutchess_02Gene Shepard spoke of a time when he was growing up when the people who lived in his neighborhood would

“…speak in hushed tones of a time when there was WORK, like other people spoke of a time when there were pirates!”

It has been like that for me the last few months, ever since I had a Cush contract pulled out from under me like a Stooge (select one of 3) would have a hallway carpet pulled out from under their feet, most likely while they were dressed like a Edwardian Butler.

So it came as a pleasant surprise when my pal Billy from Austin threw a little 3D modeling and texturing my way.  When I was tooling up for the above mentioned project my research had led to me purchasing some texturing software that I had yet enjoyed the opportunity to put to use so what better time to put it to the test.

I did my first 3D modeling on punchcards whilst wearing Elephant bells and sporting hair down to my shoulders…a time I now speak of in the same manner as mentioned above…but in the last few years I haven’t done a whole lot.  There are a lot of BS reason I stopped but after this week I recognize them as just that…bullshit.  After all the months of doing websites for people who don’t want to pay you for your work and app development for clients whose business plans are along the same line, doing something flat creative (as in creating something) was a breath of fresh air.  Not just creating though, doing so for people will actually pay me for it.  Man, there be dragons there.

This week has me thinking about a vast archive of unfinished projects that reside on my hard drives, a lot of them pretty damn entertaining.  All my life I have always considered the RIGHTS of anything to live, thrive and go about their daily task as they were intended to.  A grasshopper has an INTRINSIC RIGHT to be a grasshopper and for me to smoosh it just to prove I was bigger than it was just…well wrong.  At the same time I have always had animistic tendencies,. I name all my cars, my girl friend  laugh at the fact that my Cameras have names, but there you are.  So if I combine those two ideas then the logical conclusion is that all the unfinished3D objects that I have locked away in my archives have an INTRINSIC right to be COMPLETED, at least to some level.  To go further, making the assumption that I am the one who created them the, by logical extension, I should be the one who completes them. Even further, by NOT completing them I am violating a bias law of nature that I, to my very soul, value to a great extent.

Yeah…I think like this a lot, it’s what keep me out of polite society

Mein früheres Leben in Pornographie oder “My first run in with censorship”


On the net and in magazines you are always reading about the stress and duress that led good people to do bad things. Their stories tell the tale of the shady individuals and sordid locales where the melodrama played out that tipped the protagonists over the edge.In my case it all started at the Go-Kart track.

When I was a kid in Southern California our family raced Go-Karts.  It was something we did the way other families played Little League or went to the beach. On the weekends we were at the Go-Kart track. Like all family activities each member of the familial grouping had their assigned task (can you tell I come from a military family?).  My Dad was the overall organizer.  He worked on the karts all during the week, tweaking and tuning and generally doing anything in the evenings to forget his job at Norton AFB.  Mom prepped the food, which usually included either her famous chili or her equally celebrated potato salad ( on special occasions, both).  Mom didn’t always go with us but I remember her being there most weekends.  My Sister Leslie also avoided the track like the plague, when she did come she could usually be found leaning on the barbed wire fence bordering the pasture adjacent to the track. There she cooed over the burros that lived there.  Dad and Bruce with KartBrother Bruce was, of course, “Le Pilote”.  He was there to set his steely gaze on his competition and do battle between the hay bales.

…and that left me, the baby of the family.  Too young to drive (and not likely to do that EVER if my Mom had anything to say about it!).  So what to do with Marty.  It was here my father made a decision that set me on the path to where I am now, as well as setting me up to be the first prepubescent pornographer in Sacramento, California.

Keystone Regular 8mm CameraMy Dad was really into gadgets.  If he had been born a little later he would have own one of every portable device available…and all the toys that went along with them.  At the same time, with a young family to take care of he didn’t have a lot to spend.  Still it was the ’50s/60s, the era of the home movie and Dad surrendered to the urge and bought the best camera he could afford, a wind up Regular 8mm Keystone with a lens turret like the giant cameras you saw on the nightly news.

As a side note, Dad was famous for his production of endless minutes of SAND with this camera.  “Sand” as we called it on family movie nights, was a result of the peculiarities of Regular 8mm film and my Father impatience when he was trying to relax. Regular 8mm film stock was really just 16mm film that was only exposed on one side of the film.  When the reel signaled its end, by a glorious celluloid flapping sound, the operator had to find a dark corner and open the camera, turn the film reel over, re-thread the camera and close it up.  You were then able to expose the other side of the film.  When the film was processed it would be slit lengthwise and the two ends spliced together to create one singular expanse of 8mm film for you to enjoy.

8mm Film

No matter how many times I told  Dad that he had to do this in a dark place, remember I was about 8 at the time, he would inevitably throw a sweater over his hands, probably a crocheted one, and would have at changing the film.  While cursing.  The end result was that in the middle of every roll of film he shot would be an overexposed bit that my Uncle Jimmy once said was “Like a desert scene in Lawrence of Arabia”.  Thus it was dubbed SAND.

Since the old man knew I was fascinated by the camera, and movies, it wasn’t much of a reach for him to load the film up and hand me the camera at the Kart Track. It was something of a seminal moment in my life, I mean I went from watching Fireball XL-5 to being Stanley Kubrik in one stroke.  The grind of the camera and rattle of the film as it ran though it were just like in the old movies I watched about moviemaking before the war. Mom and Dad gave me film on the weekend as a reward and I can still smell the burning kart fuel, hot dust and hay bales that were a part of the weird camera angles I went for, and unlike the old man I shot very little sand, unless it was important for the shot (sorry Dad).

In 1965 the secretary of Defense personally decided that our family should be uprooted and moved out of Southern California where we had roots, friends and relations. My Dad had three choices: Florida, Utah or Sacramento.  There was some talk of Germany made but my Grandma, who oddly enough was from an old German family, nixed that idea.  That never made any sense to me.  In the end the folks chose Sacramento, I was pulling Florida because Dad promised to buy me a dolphin…what can I say I was gullible.

When you are ten years old and moved away from all your friends and everything you know, it’s tough.  AdditionTHIS ISLAND EARTHally since when we moved was during the height of “bussing”, the idea that you could create diversity by moving white kids to where the hispanic kids were and vice-versa.  I had no trouble making friends in the new school, most of my friends in Southern California had been hispanic after all, but because of the bussing all my new friends lived 20 miles away so hanging out after school wasn’t really an option. So since I didn’t really know many other kids I had trips to the library where i checked out books on movies, movie making and film stars from the thirties.

I built my first optical printer when I was about 11, from that set same Keystone camera, a shoe box and a projector, which I used to copy spaceship shots of an 8mm copy of THIS ISLAND EARTH Dad had bought into one of my earliest films.  I found out about optical printers in copy of some magazine (Famous Monsters?  I dunno).  In the same article I learned about Kinescopes…but we will get to that.

So in one of those confluences in human experience Jung called “Syncronicity” my discovery of Kinescopes, and how they could be replicated by say a Keystone 8mm Camera and a 13″ Black & White Sharpe television (similar to one a 13 year old might get for Christmas) coincided with two other events.  The first was the growth of UHF TV stations, mostly local stations that were far removed from the strictures of Networks, and the hormonal bouillabaisse known as puberty.

KTXL 40 LOGOThe first UHF station I connected to when I attached the loopy antennae of the back of the faux wood cabinet of my tiny, tiny telly was KTXL TV40.  Virtual weather seemed to rule my life as I went for the “SAND” of my Dad’s 8mm movies to the “SNOWSTORM” that accompanied channel 40’s weak tea signal.  KTXL’s early transmitters must have been powered by gerbil wheels or something because it took years for the channel tom come in reliably, but I was undeterred from watching as the new “independent” station showed stuff that the networks channels didn’t, even in the dead hours of weekend afternoon that had not yet been filled up with golfers in bad pants and octopus wrestling from Borneo, like today. Bob Wilkin’s creature features jumped from KCRA to KTXL, meaning my diet of Monsters and rockets moved to UHF.  Cap’n Mitch showed Speed Racer before school and Gerry Anderson in the afternoon so my animation and “Super Marionation” allotments each day were fulfilled as well, but there was one other bit of weekly programming that became important.

It was the end of the Sixties, when film was changing.  It had already started changing elsewhere in the world and I had read about those changes, and the filmmakers that were driving the change.  Unfortunately college was far away, and with it endless visits to the J street Cinema, so foreign film might as well have been in Neil Armstrong’s wallet for as accessible as it was to me. My folks took me to see what came out, they knew I loved movies, but what we saw was comedies and spectacles. I read about world cinema but it was a closed book.

At the same time KTXL was testing the boundaries of what it could get away with in terms of broadcasting. As far as I can remember it was the first station in the Sacramento Area that stayed up after 1AM, expanding the envelope and generating ad income from clients that couldn’t afford their rates in the middle of the broadcast day, “Prime Time”.  I doubt we can ever know who came up with the idea for a show on Friday nights at 1AM called “FOR ADULTS ONLY”, a show that was introduced with loose animations of a Dionysian Orgy, ending in a long pan up a phallic Dorian Column, surmounted by the Venus De Milo.

Ear PieceI discovered the show one night when I had probably drunk too much Root Beer and was too wired to sleep, and after I had discovered the little earphone jack on the side of my tiny tiny telly along with the privacy it bestowed upon me, especially from my parent who slept in the next room. The show’s opening and title made it feel like I was doing something naughty and above everything else I was a “good boy” in those days.  The idea of doing something that would reveal my developing proclivities to my parents, especially my Mom, was terrifying.

The most interesting thing about the show though was how well it demonstrated the remarkable level of confusion that America was suffering from at the time. In these days of 24 hour a day porn on tap it is as hard to roll back our minds to the days when the men in porn had black socks and hair on their backs and the women had big hair both on their heads and…in other areas. The thing is though the show didn’t have those sort of sordid kinescopes but rather what I discovered late at night was a foyer into world film like I had always dreamed of.  So it was that in the early morning hours of sequential Saturdays I was introduced to the work of Fellini, Trauffaut and Antonioni. It was there I first saw WILD STRAWBERRIES and was so traumatized by THE VIRGIN SPRING that I shut off the TV and hid in the dark for 5 minutes before I turned it back on and finished watching the film. They showed REPULSION, L’Avventura and 8 1/2. By the flicker of that tiny tiny tube I learned about film…and it would all seem a lot nobler if I wasn’t also a horny preteen boy.

I wish I could say that I used my film expertise to record a bit of FARENHEIT 451, or the fountain scene in La Dolce Vita but my interest was much more age specific, and more appropriate to be the source of my shame.  I was 13 and to a 13 year old boy one thing rules above all…boobies.  There was a Danish sex comedy, “17”, that must have be17 Lobby Carden particularly popular with the program director because they showed it quite often. By today’s standards it not even standard cable racey, but back then it was borderline scandalous.  I had watched it several times and knew that at the beginning it had a dream sequence that had fully exposed boobies, I mean they were right there on the TV…BOTH OF THEM! This wasn’t your “sneaky peeky” beach movies side boob thing (where you could ALMOST SEE EVERYTHING!) this was really for real nekkid boobs. I found it quite titillating (yes that was intentional). So much so that I wanted to have a copy of my own.  I had film in my Keystone and the film on my tiny, tiny telly…I was only doing what any precocious member of the AV club might do at 1:15 in the morning on a Saturday. That weekend I thought nothing of it, shot the rest of the roll up and asked my Mom to drop it by the Fotomat for processing.

Yes, I asked my mother to act as my go-between with the lab during my first pornographic endeavor.



Sprechen Sie Deutsch Alter? or how I became a mocking bird


BOING!!!When my son was but a tad I used to regale him with a cornucopia of auditory entertainment.  From regional dialects to faux accents from around the world when I launched into character I would have him giggling like a chipmunk until I was finally able to get out of character (it got hard sometime, especially with a willing audience) and often residual colloqualism from parts unknown would meander through the test of our conversation, often with the end result of reducing the helpless child to a ball of chittering mirth.

As the years past, and the child grew into his own, it was only natural that at some point that he should try his fledgling mimicry wings and strike out on his own.  It is only natural for a son to want to follow in his fat he’s footstep is it not (unless you live in the cast of some Cable TV Drama).  To his chagrin his attempts were not what he desired and after a time frustration set in.  On one drive in my old blue pick-up (whose name was Blue by the way) the boy expressed his frustration to me.

“HOW do you do all those voices?” he asked me through sips of his frosty beverage.

At the time I had to admit I was baffled myself .  The talent itself had manifested early in my life, so early in fact that for a time my Mother often called me “Gerald McBoing-Boing” in reference to the animated character who was unable to speak in words but could mimic any sound he heard. Still I was at a loss to figure out while I was so refined a mimic from an early age and my son lacked that capacity.

I finally found some level of understanding one night while I was watching television, that electronic sump we pour our intelligence into so many hours of the day.  Oddly enough I was watching a crime drama, I know, iknow, I am one won’t to watch obscure genres when I am in front of the One-eyed-monster. The handsome detective and his beautiful associate were interviewing a “perp” (I am so street) from a borough of New York about some fel deed he had commited. The man they were scrutinizing sat there, hair pomaded in a shimmering D-A, work shirt greasy and plain concern written all over his “puss” (once again..”street”).

…and then he spoke and everything became clear.

When I say clear, I mean CLEAR.  The character on the show, although dressed to look like a typical “New Jersey Mook” spoke with only the hint of any sort of accent, and what he had was so fake as to be bordering on laughable.  It was the kind of Jersey accent that would have gotten him tormented horrendously at any barJersey, even in Montclair.

Those of us who grew up in the time before Cable television, when the airwaves were still fresh with the heady hint of ozone, broadcasters were hard pressed to come up with content.  Video tape hadn’t even been invented and SPAM was still a delightful treat you got in your greasy bag lunch. Television stations were clamoring for content so it was only natural that they turned to their surely older brother, Hollywood.  Now Hollywood didn’t like this upstart box in everyone’s homes so they were certain to give up the really good films very dearly.  So dearly in fact that for years I was reminded that I was born on the night that they first showed THE WIZARD OF OZ on television and my sister and brother didn’t get to see all of it because of the fracas associated with my arrival. GONE WITH THE WIND didn’t even make it to Television until HBO showed it on June 11, 1976. So if custom content was expensive and good films were out of reach what were the fledgling broadcasters to do? There was another recourse, and in that solution I found the answer my son had wanted.

When I was a kid World War 2 was no further removed from that moment then the Clinton White house is now.  During the war Hollywood had churned out massive quantities of films for the home front, films about “our boys” out in field doing what was right for everyone back on “the home front” where rationing was King and roses were replaced with Victory Gardens.  These films were simple, VERY simple.  They also were aimed at not high tone critics but to reach out to the “average man on the street”.  In those days though the man on the street was very different . Their collars were bluer than white, they carried lunch boxes to places where they worked with their hands and more than anything else they were for the most part the children of immigrants.  Immigrants who didn’t just remember where their family came from, they often got odd smelling packages from those places. In those days America allowed people to be ethnic.

walt-disney-donald-duck-furhers-faceEthnicity in those days was not thought as much of a detriment, although there had been social pressure to rid ourselves of the curse of “being from somewhere else”.  Since the first immigrant walked through Ellis Island the people already here either laughed or sneered at the newcomers. They did this mostly to hide their own discomfort, discomfort that came from being reminded that their family was only one generation removed from that same ship’s gangway. There were the seed of what was to come but with the war everyone was suppose to accept their differences and “pull together for the common good”.

What this meant that the diversity of what had made up America was not hidden away, it was tarted up and paraded for the world to see.  If you wanted to get ethnically irish people to buy war bonds, you jolly well better have a lovable irish rogue in that platoon that was going to fight the Nazis.  Italians? You Betcha ass Luigi was there (and that he loved his Momma and his girl Sophia)! Evertmay America had Louie, the ubiquitous cabbie from Brooklyn. From the number of GIs in films during the war you would think Brooklyn was everything East of the Mississippi. Californians were rich kids and even Pable, the occasional hispanic was packing his M-1 and telling stories about his girl Rosa.  Non of these characters were even CLOSE to being subtle and all of them were in every damn film that graced the “Million Dollar Movie” in the Saturday afternoon line up, in a time where a MILLION dollar was a lot of dough and not a signing bonus.Add to all this the inscrutable enemies, German and Japanese, the allies (English and French..and occasionally Russian).  Everyone of these films poured out a rich gooey syrup of ethnic voices for my sponge like mind to absorb

Now let’s compare this to the world that my son grew up in.  By the time he arrived the world was fully absorbed by the homogeneous blending of all the ethnic groups. Those groups I had learned to vocally ape have been compressed into one, massive group of people that every form you now fill out simply labels “white” (reminds me of that “pink slime” that the internet so loves to scare fast food patrons with). Further more portrayal of any non-white ethnic group as anything approaching ethnic is frowned upon by pundits and censor fearing reprisals should a portrayal stray into areas that second and third generation immigrants (that’s us folks) might find offensive. Through all this we, as people, have lost a background music for what it means to be a part of this amazing experience that we call America. The beautiful melody that we built upon as a nation, or so the media wants us to think.  The turht is something very different but we can talk about that another time (and we will).

In the end my poor son never stood a chance.  Where I was baptized in a bouillabaisse of ethnic verbal diversity, he has grown up in a time where dammit EVERYONE IS EXACTLY THE SAME! Is it any wonder that his “Mc Boing Boing Glands” never developed?

Velcommen back…

Der Elf Presents

Der Elf Presents

Somewhere on some deserted strip of a disused capillary of the information super highway stands a sign.  The words are blurry and hard to see, the paint having been blasted off the surface of the html by the stark winds of change that flow across the wastelands of what was once called “Social media”.  Through the pockmarks of the years, if you look close enough, you can still detect the orange and blue enamel of the dreams that once found home on the pages of the long lost site, hell if the light is right some of it might even still shine, like the pigment was laid down just yesterday rather then an eternity ago in the internet years.

When you open the door to the site’s index it creaks like the saloon door in a  Black and White western, a sound that would make the piano player stop playing…if there was a piano player.  If there was music.  There used to be Music but if any of it remains it’s hidden from view, the links to the wav files buried under grains of virtual sand.

The room you enter is like any other saloon.  Tables fronting on an ornate wooden bar, behind which stands the empty frame of a shattered mirror.  Some pieces of that mirror remain, quicksilver shards radiating out from an ragged circle, a circle that speaks of anger and loss.  A circle that speaks of a moment when someone, maybe the proprietor, looked into that mirror and saw something he or she didn’t like.  It speaks of a moment when everything that had been good in this place was insufficient to over ride something that the mirror showed.  Pain does that, it must have been pain.  Whatever it was it made that unnamed witness to the message of the mirror pause, then throw something into the mirror, a projectile that could tell the mirror to “shut the fuck up” in a most immediate fashion.

It was probably a bottle, and it probably had bourbon in it.  You can still smell it in the corners of the place.

Mirrors are like that.  It was the Knight of the mirrors that finally burned through Don Quixote’s beautiful madness, returning him to the grey figure that society has always accepted more readily than a man on a horse with principles and a shaving bowl on his head.

If you turn your back on the mirror you can see the tables spread out between you and the door.  Wooden tables strewn with games and books and the remnants of dreams.  From the way the chairs are arrayed you can tell they used to occupied, filled with people who laughed and joked and sang and stayed up late into the night discussing matters of great import. Those chairs are all empty now.  Some are turned over, like their inhabitants had left suddenly, violently in a hurry, not looking back. They would have hit the swinging doors hard and made them flap like dragon’s wings. Some of the Chairs are still pulled up to the table and there are circles in the dust on the tabletops when’re the build up is lighter. It’s like someone had been resting their elbows there even as the dust began to take the place, but that person had simply vanished. Whether taken or left of their own accord is unknown.

Looking across the room is like looking at a living room on Sunday morning after an oh so Saturday night. There are even half empty beers and pizza boxes open to reveal one last viscous slice of pizza, the grease from the pepperoni congealing.

So what do you do with a place like this?  Most people would just leave it to the advances of the net, letting the hordes of telemarketers and Eastern European scammers use it like a lost child before it is shuttered once and for all.  I can’t do that though.  I remember what this place was like when it was full of dreams and hope.

As we grow older we look back on the things we have done in the past with nostalgia and long for a simpler time.  The thing is though the times haven’t gotten any more complicated, we have.  As we age our brains fill up with life. The things we have done with the people we love, the things we have done to stay alive and the things that have happened to lay us low. As our brains fill up with this effluvia the thoughts take up more room, first to fill are the empty crevasses and crannies. Next to go are the smaller memories, the lost moments that we really will never miss. Finally, when space become an issue the last to go are our dreams, and with them hope. That is when we start to age. As children we longed for the time when we would be “all grown up”. When we grow up only then do we realize how much value there is in the lack of experience.

We can talk more about this later but I have to find the broom and the dustpan…this place is a mess.