Monday, December 14, 2015

Silly Secret Agents, Self-Cannibalism, Sympathy-Seeking, and John Mavety

1. Started watching the first episode of Scooter: Secret Agent.

2. Guessed, after watching about four minutes, that this show is not my kind of thing.

I'm going to stick with it, though.

Because I'm anal like that...sometimes.

The show's just a bit too silly for my taste. It's over the top.

3. Thought that the show has too much overacting.

I guess some people like that?

4. Finished watching the episode.

5. Read a review of Childhood's End.  It was fairly positive. I can't say it makes me want to rush out and see it or feel devastated that we don't have the SyFy channel.

I might want to see it someday. Probably.

What the review most made me want to do, though, is check out the book by Arthur C. Clarke.

I wonder if it's the type of thing I'd like.

For me, science fiction is very hit or miss.

6. Started watching an episode of Review with Myles Barlow.

7. Saw a very gross scene in a segment about living in the wilderness.

Myles (Phil Lloyd) cuts off his infected toe and eats it.

It's like that Stephen King story. I forgot the name, but it's about a stranded man who practices self-cannibalism.

8. Googled and found the name of the Stephen King story. It's called "Survivor Type".

9. Consulted Lord Wiki about self-cannibalism. He says that there have been cases in history of people being forced to eat parts of themselves.

Ouch. And gross.

10. Intrigued by the segment on competing for sympathy.

It shows how people play one-upmanship with their problems.

I think it's very true. I'd even go as far as saying that most of us do one-upmanship for negative things even more so than we do for positive things.

You have stage II breast cancer?  Sorry, about that. You'll probably be okay, though. I actually have metastatic breast cancer.  It's spread to my lungs.  Oh. Really? You have MS as well? And diabetes. Yeah. That's pretty bad.  My mother had really bad diabetes. She actually died from it. Actually, both my parents died young. I grew up as an orphan.  You too? Wow. Yeah, but what really made it hard for me is I was adopted by my uncle and he would hit me when he got drunk.  And did I tell you my cousin stole my pet chickens? I really loved those chickens....

11. Saw ugly things about myself while watching the segment.

Though I can't imagine being disgusting enough to make up a problem in order to get attention; I do know that I long for sympathy.

One thing that keeps me from being a total shit is, I think of people I know who complain a lot about their problems. It can become unattractive, and it makes me want to NOT be that way.

I'd rather be the stoic person who keeps their problems to themselves.  The problem is, in my dark fantasies I sometimes find myself wishing to have a disease so I can be all stoic about it.

12. Saw from Twitter that today is the anniversary of the Sydney Siege—the hostage situation in Martin Place.

13. Looked at Tweets and thought about how, for most of us, it's a news story—sometimes thought about, often forgotten. For other people, it's personally affected their lives. I imagine they've had a very difficult year.

For every person who dies in a tragedy, there are usually close family members—a spouse or other partner, children, parents, siblings.

There are cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

Then there are the friends, neighbors and coworkers.

Sometimes even people not that personally close to someone might be affected.

For example, how would we feel if learned our favorite high school teacher from ten years ago had been killed? How would a teacher feel to learn a past student was killed?

I guess what I'm saying is one death can be traumatic for many people.

14. Connected, in my brain, what I said in #11 and #13.

Hopefully anyone who seeks sympathy for Martin Place is doing it because they were truly affected and/or traumatized by it and not as a way to grab attention for themselves.

I do see things on Twitter sometimes—people Tweeting about a tragedy and letting the world know that they have a friend or relative in the midst of it all.

I'm sure sometimes it's an honest need for sympathy—someone needing the world's shoulder to cry on. Other times, it feels to me like a ploy to get attention and the "worried" person doesn't really care all that much.

15. Thought about how you can't judge someone's reaction to a tragedy based on how close they were to the situation or victims.

Someone could be a cousin of someone killed or injured but they've never given much of a crap about the cousin.

Then you can have someone else who never knew the two people killed in the siege. But maybe they were in Martin Place that day and just being there terrified them.

Or there could be a girl who had a crush on one of the people taken hostage. The hostage ended up being okay, but the stress of the situation has given the crush-girl nightmares all year.

17. Thought about how we can never really know for sure if someone is speaking out about their problem because they feel hurt and need sympathy; or if they're doing it because they love to be the center of drama.  So it's probably best to just give people the benefit of the doubt and provide them with kindness. If we think they're faking it, we can roll our eyes, in our mind, at them.

In other words, fake it.

I think it's better to give sympathy to someone who doesn't need it; then give a cold shoulder to someone truly in need.

There is a point, though, where we need to decide for ourselves that enough is enough. If someone is often seeking our sympathy, and we think they're milking it way too much, it's probably time to step away. Or at least take a few steps back.

18. Started to watch a 2007 Tropfest finalist. This one is called "The Von". The description says it's about a boy who wants to become a superhero, and he gets his head stuck in the toilet.

19. Saw that the film takes place in 1982, which means we get 1980's hair and fashion. That should be fun.

20. Realized I misunderstood the description. I thought the child would get his head stuck in the toilet bowl, but it seems he instead gets his head stuck in the toilet room.

21. Felt the child in his movie has problems that definitely deserve sympathy.

They're not huge problems.

They're not newsworthy.

But they are cringeworthy and deserving of sympathy.

22. Thought about how this film fits in with what I was thinking about today while raking the leaves.

I thought about what I wrote in my blog, and how I get annoyed with people who talk on and on about their problems. Then I also get annoyed with people who brag about their accomplishments and people who brag about their good deeds.

I asked myself, then what DO I want people to talk about?

I answered. Maybe they should just stop talking about themselves so much, period.

I argued with myself. It's not always bad for people to talk about themselves. Even a little bit of complaining and bragging is okay.

I decided, though, that the best thing for people to talk about, if they want to talk about themselves, is their mistakes and embarrassments. They should talk about how they burned the Thanksgiving turkey and how they accidentally put the ice-cream in the pantry instead of the freezer.

They should talk about how they wet their pants during a Broadway performance; or like the kid in the film, how they shit their pants in the school yard.

I don't know about other people. But if I'm faced with one person who goes on and on about how they're struggling with their Lupus; another person who tells me they spent the weekend handing out blankets to the homeless; another who boasts about selling a million copies of their novel; or someone who confesses that it's been a month since they've found time to vacuum their living room, I'm going to like the last person the most.

It's probably because I'm a loser. I want to seek out other losers. They make me feel less alone.

If I was a super successful person, maybe I'd want to seek out other super successful people.

23. Finished watching "The Von".

I thought it was pretty well done.

24. Loved how the storyline of Von is described on IMDb.

Schoolboy Alex Vonzitzavitz, aka 'The Von', is about to face the most humiliating experience of his life. Remember that nightmare you had about turning up to school naked? Well this is worse; but don't panic, The Von has a plan...

25. Saw that the director of "The Von", John Mavety, has directed several documentary shows.

He's recently directed a US show called Deadly Women. I think I've seen that listed on Hulu or Netflix.

Or maybe it was YouTube.

26. Saw that all of his documentary directing has been in the US.

He's done art department stuff for some Australian programs.

27. Saw that Mavety wrote a song for Saturday Night Live back in 1980. It was called "Broken English".

I guess "The Von" wasn't autobiographical then.

I pictured the director being someone who grew up in the 1980's.

Unless he was writing songs when he was a child.

28. Wondered if maybe the credit is a mistake.

IMDb does mess things up every so often.

29. Consulted Lord Wiki.

He says there's album called Broken English. One of the songs is "Broken English".  The song has several writers, and one of the writers is named JOE Mavety.  Not John Mavety.

I'm glad.

I want to imagine that John Mavety grew up in the 1980's.

30. Found John Mavety's Vimeo page.

There's a photo of him.

He looks to be the age of someone who was a child in the 1980's.


His ultimate goal is to write and direct feature films.

I hope that happens for him.

31. Started watching Mavety's showreel and saw that what he does is direct reenactment scenes for documentaries.  

I actually read that in his bio, but didn't give it much attention until I started watching the showreel.

That makes more sense now.  I was wondering how someone who made a great narrative short film and longs to make feature films ended up doing so many documentaries.

Reenactments would count as narrative work.

32. Thought that Mavety seems talented.

33. Saw that Glenn Hanns, the cinematographer for "The Von" has done cinematography work for Deadly Women.

Maybe he and Mavety have some kind of partnership?

34. Learned from Twitter that an executive from Google, Michelle Guthrie, is going to become the managing director of ABC.

35. Learned from this article that Guthrie was a lawyer.

She did her Google work in Singapore.

She's also worked in London.

36. Learned from this website that Guthrie also worked in Hong Kong.

37. Wondered if Guthrie will do a good job at the ABC.

I also wonder if she's an interesting person; and if in the future, there'll be one of those Australian miniseries about her. You know, like the Kerry Packer one, or the one about Ita Buttrose. That kind of thing.