Monday, July 9, 2012

No. 4

I recently discovered i have a secret power, like a super hero, only comparatively useless.  Really probably you could do it, probably anybody can do it, or maybe I have a special ear for it.

I can hear on a movie soundtrack where the audio track was cut and an actor was asked to repeat some dialogue.


Oh you can do that too?

I tried to tell you it wasn't much of a super power.  


Does it affect you the same?

It pops me out of the movie.  Today, sitting at my father's house, watching Alfred Hitchcock's "Topaz," I found it almost unwatchable due to audio splices.  

For those of you who may not have this power, let me explain how I do it.  In old audio, I'm not sure exactly the cut off point, but I would guess pre- digital, there are little tells I can hear.  The white noise in the background, it won't be the same on each edge of the splice.  I can hear where it shifts and shifts back as obviously as if you heard me change a channel.  Sometimes the pitch of the actor's voice changes.  I can't quite explain how the actor's voice could change in pitch where it is noticeably not the same session.  It must have something to do with other variables in the equation.  The microphone, the distance from mic to performer, the size of the room, how the actor felt that day, all sorts of differences which possibly can be heard in the performer's voice.

I notice it and it pops me out of the movie.  

Disturbing the resonance of the room and causing feedback

Places respond to different frequencies

Notching out resonance points

Rooms have frequencies

Live responses to a wide number of frequencies

Sweet spot

How few a people does it take to change the resonance of a room?


The claustrophobic moment of knowing you're watching somebody already dead.  Suddenly realizing you never saw him, an actor popular during the Sixties but who is on television at this moment, any older than that.  Ever after that I looked at him as if wanting to grasp him by the face.  Stare into his eyes to look for a clue.  Before I can, the scene always cuts and fades.


Entering the house cautiously, with Harry Potter DVDs, a slice of homemade Christmas cake, and my iPad in hand, I eye the room warily like a person who knows they are passing through a cave which has been known to house bears.  My father sits, where he always sits, the far stage right of the sofa, watching a movie.  I set the Harry Potters down next to previously delivered, unwatched Harry Potters, that instigated his demand for more.  I show him the ziplock bag with the cake, explain what it is, try to ignore the sarcastic comment that he utters, which is essentially his version of a very droll “oh goody.”  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

No. 3

Is there a dog out there?
Even as my father asks the question and I answer, "Archie, you mean is Archie out there?"
I wonder.  Does the world exist for him as bursts of time and as each moment breaks to his surface, is he a stranded time traveler left to assess his territory?   If we stopped coming by, a few caregivers from now, would he no longer have a dog because he no longer remembered to let him back in at night?  Could the dog wander away due to neglect and loneliness and my father would cease to remember his existence?
Or is it simply he has momentarily forgotten Archie's name and is trying to verify his dog's location?  
Moments later he asks if I will let the dog out.  When I rise to my feet, he turns and tells Archie , "There she'll let you out.". Is it my imagination or is his tone not like that which you use with a dog, but more like speaking to another human?  I flash on a month or two earlier when Archie was drinking the pond water and my dad yelled "Hey you!  Stop that!"
It creates the illusion that we foisted a dog upon my father.  Of course, that's because I know.  His dog, my dad's true dog, was Mike, who had been dead less than a year when my mother pushed my father into buying Archie.  Her intentions were good.  Retired, not getting younger and getting set in his ways, if they waited too long, my father would never have a dog again.  Did my mother foresee a time when she would be gone and his only solace would be his dog?  If so, she got it wrong by one dog.  Archie was a dog, but Mike was like my father's soulmate.  Mike put up with my father's bait and switch teasing as if it were normal, expected behavior.  That was far beyond the skill set of Archie ...... Or me.