Just some thoughts and ideas going around in my head while trying to figure out where I am and where everyone else is going.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Conversation

I shot this picture of 2 men in Franklin Square in Philadelphia last September after the square was renovated and refurbished. The homeless people and drug addicts had been evicted and children and their families were encouraged now to visit. I wasn’t sure what the story of the men was, but I was certain that they were friends. They had an ease of conversation about them that bridged whatever kind of gap that may have existed there and bonded them to each other.

franklin sq philadelphia
It seems like it was a lifetime ago when I didn’t have an iPod glued to my ear. Whenever I’m out, travelling, walking, away from home or the office, I’m listening to something. Sometimes it’s music that I’m listening to or podcasts, or if I’m on the train I’m going even more blind trying to watch a movie or play games on a 3½ inch screen.

I’ve noticed recently that this keeps me sort of isolated from what’s going on around me. People will walk up to me while I’m on the street and try to ask me something, directions, money or whatever and I will often not see or acknowledge them. Alright, sometimes I’ll ignore them on purpose, but other times it’s because I’m so wrapped up in my own little world that it’s hard for them to engage me in whatever they want me to engage in.

It used to be that when I would take the train home before I got my first iPod, I would sometimes over hear the conversations of those who were around me. I remember one time coming home from work when the two men in front of me were talking to each other and one of them gave his theory as to why the train tracks in Haddonfield, our next stop, were under street level whereas the tracks were above ground for every other stop. One man said it was because Haddonfield NJ was like Jerusalem and the Jews wouldn’t take that type of inconvenience or desecration in their town. They both laughed.

I didn’t think that they were being racist or bigoted because I don’t really think there is a significant Jewish presence in Haddonfield. I thought they were just talking and joking because that’s what friends do between themselves no matter how it may seem to those on the outside. I may have been wrong. But friends will often have a sort of shorthand, a method where they can keep in synch with one another in order not to communicate but to comfort each other; even if it's just to comfort each other over a boring 20 minute train ride.

I noticed that about myself when I looked at a video that was shot of a fellow blogger and friend, Curtis on Fat Tuesday. The whole thing was a spur of the moment thing and took about 40 minutes. Much of it was really a bunch of nonsense rather than mind boggling scintillating conversation. If you’re interested, I’ve cut it down to about 20 minutes of sparring and parrying and can be found in the My Stuff widget at the side here. Or you can see it cut down even further to a cleaner version that is on YouTube as well as on Vimeo which is less than 8 minutes long and is shown below.

Look at them or don’t.

Either way, there is something special that people have with their friends. At least I think it’s something special that I have with my friends as opposed to the relationships that I have with the hundreds of other people that I just know, and I think that's worth talking about.


  1. Your photo above reminds me of this older movie called The Conversation starring Gene Hackman. Anywho I agree with you on the friend conversation aspect. Sometimes a conversation 'about nothing' turns into one of those deep intense ones that ends with you contemplating your existence in life. lol

    *going back to post to watch video*

  2. WOW! I don't know whether to strangle you or embrace you. I like the documentary direction of the video. I should have been more relaxed as opposed to being tensed and guarded. I smell a part 2?

  3. that's a neat video. I love the bit about giovanni's room and how you inserted another video clip in a little window. that's clever. good quality, too. What kind/model of camcorder are you using?

  4. Miss Mahogany - The Conversation, wasn't that a Brian DePalma movie, or was it by Francis Ford Coppola from the 70's? A great flick, at least I assume it is. I've only seen the last 20 minutes of it and it creeped me out.

    Chacoyrami - Strangle me? That's gratitude for you. And don't worry about being tense or anything, like you say, "it is what it is." As far as Part 2 goes, do you mean showing more of the same session? Sure there are parts that I thought were really fun or true like the opening of the longer version or the bit about skinny boys that I left out of this one. But I'm not sure that they could stand up by themselves and be as tight as this version. Or did you mean another shoot altogether?

    Dusty Boot - The camcorder I used was a Vado HD. A camera not much bigger than my cell phone that I keep with me all the time in my pocket or bag. As for being clever, that was just me realizing that the subject was unintentionally off center and I find something to fill in the space.

  5. Not only did I watch this video, but all the others I missed too (how'd that happen?)

    Your laugh makes me smile, I like it!

    I loved all of Curtis's pictures and how you inserted them into the video, so cool.

    I love Zoe, my next dog will be a male chocolate brown Mini Schnauzer named Cooper.

    Hey how about next time we get some video of you... :)

  6. RunningMom - I actually can't stand to look at myself unless it's like 10 years later and I can think to myself about how much better I looked back then.

  7. Yeah I know what you mean about friends in their conversations. There's always things said that even when other people hear it that could have more meaning to it than meets the ear.

    I'm gonna have to get one of those cameras!! The filming is better than stuff I've seen at film festivals! What the hell are they using??

    I will take pictures while I'm gone and of more than just the hotel...LOL

  8. D - Well when it comes to film festivals, most people use film cameras and that can be very expensive if you are an independent so it can be kind of iffy if they don't have the right film stock. That's the beauty of video, if it doesn't work out you can easily erase the whole thing and start again.

  9. I know what you mean, I can't remember when I didn't have an iPod or some other device attached to my ear as well, and I know that I listen to mine to close out the surroundings.

    That conversation you were privy to between the two friends sounds much like that when we are talking with our friends and a passerby hears bits and pieces they too would ponder the thought that we may be racist, predjudice or otherwise, now I am not certain even if I would have caught that part about the Jews residing in Haddonfield back in the day it would gone right over my head, you on the other hand retains a great deal of information.

    The interview was very entertaining, your friend gave prompt answers even while trying to enjoy his pizza. I love his statement "This aint no Frost Nixon Shyte." :)

  10. the bond and randomness of friendship is something that we shouldn't take for granted. it really keeps us going and makes life worth living. i don't know what i'd do without my three bestfriends and my hubby (who's best friend #1...LOL). love the video. keep it coming brother.

  11. Chet - Well there's no point eavesdropping on someone's personal conversation unless you can have some sort of thought or opinion on what's being said, and for some reason I still remember this one even after all these years.

    Damnit - Thanks, all though I look at it and I see nothing but the mistakes that I left in and maybe the other choices that I should have made.

    CPA Doc - Yes you are right, although taking friendships for granted is something I think I, as well as others can be accused of doing now and again. Not really a good thing but there you are. As for more keeping the videos coming, well we'll have to see. Video really isn't my kind of thing.

  12. LOL @ you being creeped out by the last part. Very good guess Coppola was right! Funny because the movie itself was rather slow in parts but I liked the fact that he plays on this notion of surveillance vs. interpretation.

  13. Oh and I meant to add that I loved the video. You should just vlog people all the time. LMAO

  14. good friends should always be cherished - me dont own an ipod

  15. Miss M - I keep saying that one day I will see the whole of The Conversation, I think it's on the AFI list of the top 100 best movies. And thanks for liking the video, but I don't know about vlogging people they would have to trust you completely for it to work. I might do it again but not on an ongoing basis and when I can hone up on my own interviewing and editing skills.

    Torrance - 10 years ago I would have laughed at the idea of having an iPod, but now that I realize there is so much more that I can do with it other than liten to music, I am never without it when I'm alone.

  16. my "other" is jealous of my conversationa nd comfortability I have with my friends. Then I try to share and exchange with him...and he just doesn't react like a friend...he reacts like my man.

    I love my friendships...its not explained.

  17. Sidenote: Your profile pic is HOT and our page picture(s)...are hot...to bad I am not your type....for that matter...ah never mind. LOL

  18. BBB - That is perhaps the downside of friendships and lovers. Sometimes the communications that you have with your friends are never the same as those you have with your lover and that can bring out the jealousies and insecurities of your partner. Oh wait a minute, I think I'm about talking me. I'm sure that doesn't really apply to you.

    As for the "not your type," remark don't count yourself out. Like I told a co-worker last year, the only things that I haven't had a relationship with are dogs and children. In other words, "who knows?"


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