Movie filming in my apartment

Over the weekend my friend Josh Clayton filmed some shots for his movie “The Virgins” in my apartment.  I took some pictures of the filming process.

Filming for "The Virgins"
Here’s Josh and his director of photography, Aravind, setting up for a shot in the living room.

Filming for "The Virgins"
Here’s everyone in my kitchen, talking as the camera and lights are set up.

Filming for "The Virgins"
Here’s the set up in the kitchen for a shot being done in the living room.

All together, it was a very interesting experience to see how the cast and crew interacted. Josh seemed to be very laid back with his cast and crew, and it seemed to work well for that group of people. It took about 4 hours for them to film a couple of minutes worth of the movie. But there were 7 different shots which each required set up time, so it doesn’t seem like it took that long.

Abandoned Buildings

Abandoned building in Caswell County, NC

This is a picture of a building in Caswell County, NC.  This house is right on NC-86, between Yanceyville and the Virginia border.  And I wonder how houses can be abandoned and just fall apart like this.  Things like this have been bouncing around in my head ever since high school.  I think that there is going to be an explosion of abandoned subdivisions, strip malls, and suburbs, and it might be happening now with all of the foreclosures due to the economic crisis.  A person who sent in a letter to NPR’s Planet Money podcast/blog said that he would never pay down the principal on his mortage because if diaster struck, he could just walk away and all that would happen would be his bad credit for 7 years.  He’s basically paying rent payments for his house and would be able to walk away without having sunk hundreds of thousands of extra dollars into his house when he feels that he doesn’t need to.

I don’t know whether or not I agree with that notion, but it is interesting to think about.  But going back to an earlier point, how can a house fall apart like this?  I must assume that this building couldn’t have had a mortgage on it, because I doubt that a bank would have let it deteriorate like this.  Perhaps something catastrophic happened to this property, causing the owner to just give up and the bank not try to do anything to it, but for some reason that doesn’t seem likely.

Or if the owner didn’t have a mortgage on the house, the owner may have just walked away and then there is no one who’s responsible for this place after the owner.  In some places a homeowner’s association might have some say over this sort of thing, but are there any laws about abandoned buildings?  Can a local government reposses and auction a house after a determination that its abanonded?  And how would they determine if its abandoned?

All of this makes my head hurt.

Into Thin Air

Into Thin Air is the story of an ill-fated trip up Mount Everest; I had to read an article about the 11 May 1996 disaster for my management class, and this book is another telling of the article, written by one of the members of the expedition, Jon Krakauer.

The main point of the book is that the commercialization of Everest was eventually going to lead to a disaster, and in 1996 it happened.  People have been paying upwards of $65,000 to be led up to the top of Everest, and the guides had been taking any “reasonably fit” people and assured them that they would be able to reach the top.  This arrogance, on both the part of the guide and client, helped lead to the disaster.  Rob Hall, the leader of the group of which Krakauer was a part, knew that some day there would be a disaster on the mountain; he thought that his skill, however, would allow him to bring the people back alive.

The arrogance of the clients, too, lead to the disaster.  Doug Hansen, one of the clients, had tried to reach the top of Everest before, and couldn’t bear failing a second time.  He pushed on even though others knew that he probably should not attempt the summit; his larynx had frozen lower on the mountain, and while he was able to recover, he probably should have been sent down at that point.  Rob Hall, the guide, felt bad that Hansen had failed the year before, and wanted him to be able to reach the summit this time.

The commercialization of Everest has also had environmental impacts.  Thousands of oxygen tanks litter the ground at Camp IV; groups have tried to help clean by offering a price for each empty oxygen tank brought  back down.  The sheer number of people tramping up the slope has had an impact as well, especially on the lower parts of the mountain where the ecosystem is very fragile.  High up on the mountain, there is really no ecosystem to speak of.

Rereading/rewatching

Unlike a lot of people, I often rewatch tv shows that I’ve seen before and reread old books that I’ve read many times before.  I have friends who, once they’ve seen an episode of a show or have read a book, they never want to go back to it.  They’ll want to watch something else instead of rewatch something they’ve already seen.  Now, a lot of the time, thats because the tv show that they are thinking about rewatching isn’t very good and its just popped up on some syndicated channel.

But right now I’m going through rewatching The West Wing and rereading Questionable Content.  I’ve watched/read the entire run of both of these things at least once, and now I’m doing it again.  With QC, it at least makes a little bit of sense; the webcomic is still ongoing and so its sometimes helpful to get reacquainted with the backstory.  I probably didn’t need to start all the way at the beginning, though.  With The West Wing, however, I’m just rewatching it because its really good.

The list of books that I reread on a regular basis isn’t very long: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein; Foundation, by Isaac Asimov; Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson.  Those are the main three, I guess, although I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting right now, since I haven’t reread them in too long.  And all three of them are due for a rereading.  So I think I’ll just have to go put them in my Goodreads queue.