Subgenius in France

Les Témoins d'Outre-Mer!

Look, ma! I’m a talking head on live TV!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last December after the untimely, tragic, wholly unfair death of Carrie Fisher, a reporter from our local ABC affiliate asked me for an on-air interview about the time my wife Anne and I met her at Indiana Comic Con 2015 and had the most unforgettable convention experience of our lives. My evening news interview was unexpected, it was surreal, and it was effectively my television debut.

This week, for another unexpected and surreal minute, I found myself on TV again. But this time, Midlife Crisis Crossover took to the international airwaves.

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Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 14: See the Constellation


You may have noticed parts of this ship in previous chapters. We’ll also come back to one of these buildings later in the series.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

After lunch we took a water taxi back to the Inner Harbor’s Pier 1 and dedicated the rest of our Monday to touring their most visible collection of attractions, the Historic Ships of Baltimore. Docked along separate piers are four different American ships of military significance that you can tour for one combined package price. Their purposes and legacies date back decades, and each has its own exhibits, artifacts, and varying degrees of air conditioning. We started with the ship that was oldest and parked farthest west, the USS Constellation.

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My Complete Video Oeuvre, Part 3 of 3: Live from Super Bowl Village

For those just joining us: today concludes the three-part landmark miniseries that chronicles my few feeble forays into the world of video. Not one of these three videos is a crowning achievement; they’re the aesthetic equivalent of lower-tier DVD extras. It’s no coincidence that the sharing of this humbling collection coincides with one of the Internet’s traditionally quietest weeks of the year. Those brash young YouTube stars make it look so simple, but not all of us have the knack for that art form.

In Part One, we watched Chinese acrobats from the sidelines. In Part Two, we watched the award-non-winning live-action short film “Bear on Scooter”. In Part Three, I move from behind the camera to glorious center stage.

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My Complete Video Oeuvre, Part 2 of 3: Bear on Scooter

In our previous precarious episode, the balancing bedazzlement of Chinese acrobats was the first humble example of my limited, sub-amateur experiences in the video medium.

One year later, at the 2010 Indiana State Fair I was stricken a second time by the impulse to test-drive my camera’s modest video function while watching live-action entertainment, just to see what would happen. I vaguely recalled a couple of mistakes not to repeat. This time we had front-facing seats; I kept the running time under a minute; and I found an odder subject.

With no schooling or forethought I created a modern masterpiece of bravery and stunt work, never to be duplicated or understood by rival artistes. The juxtaposition of a formidable force of nature with an understated man-made artifact examines the stark contrast between our attempts to navigate our world and nature’s cold-hearted insistence on denying the fundamental superiority of manifest destiny. On a deeper psychological level, the uneasy alliance between the avatars of ferocity and technology is an exemplary illustration of that innate contradiction known as the duality of man.

My thirty-nine-second magnum opus is called “Bear on Scooter”:

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My Complete Video Oeuvre, Part 1 of 3: the Chinese Acrobats

Some people are skilled with video cameras. Some are talented in front of cameras. Those who lack proper training for either side will see their amateur attempts at moving pictures yield mixed results. This three-part miniseries will clarify for the record why I’m not a vlogger, even though nobody asked.

I’ve never owned a dedicated video camera in my life, never even held or operated someone else’s. My camera has a video function, but it wasn’t a consideration when I bought it because I’ve never been a fan of home movies. I was under the impression that the average camera owner dedicates its use largely to birthday parties, Christmas Day in the living room, and grade-school recitals starring children who aren’t mine. Perhaps other families turn their gatherings into elaborate stage productions, complete with musical numbers and action scenes worth immortalizing for future generations. Our family, not so much. We’re big on photos, but minimalist on real-time recordings.

One sweltering August day at the 2009 Indiana State Fair, I was struck by one of my frequent random whims that always start with the question, “What happens when I do this?” My wife and I had been enjoying the fairground attractions and decided to sample one of the live entertainment options, a troupe of Chinese acrobats who were appearing gratis and weren’t prefaced with stringent disclaimers forbidding A/V recording devices. Just for fun, I decided to see what would happen if I tried filming them instead of merely photographing them, using the camera feature I’d never accessed before.

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