Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Morning Mind Dump.

An elegantly written blog post might start in one place, circle around to another, bypass a place you thought it would be going and then make an acute turn to neatly wrap things up right next to the place  where it began.

This isn't one of those.

First off...I was looking for a particular piece of video to illustrate something (which will be the next part of this post, but will sadly be UNillustrated by the piece of video I couldn't find).  Instead, I ran across this thing which I've never seen before.  I've talked about shooting a snow movie in Minnesota when it didn't snow there, but here's some behind the scenes footage! Only the first minute and a half is applicable. (You can watch the rest if you've got a thing about sled dogs, though!)

What I was looking for was a shot of the scene where Will races his sled across the Oliver Bridge while the train goes by on the upper level.  It's a really cool double-deck bridge connecting Minnesota to Wisconsin.  You'll have to make do with these screenshots from GoogleStreet.

Like any other day on location, we always look for nearby "facilities".  Sure, we've got the honeywagon, but people really like to have an indoor heated space to revive themselves in.  It's always nice (even if it wasn't dictated by the unions), to have somewhere comfortable to sit down for lunch.  In this case, the nearest space to rent was a place called The Outback Bar.  It was a typical dive roadhouse and it was kind of a hike from the set, but it had a roof and heat and running water.  It was Heaven.

But that's not what this is about. (This would be the circling around to somewhere else part if there was going to be any elegance to this post.) turns out Anonymous GF had had previous experience of The Outback Bar. This should be her story, but I'm the one with a blog, so I'll be the one telling it.  And I'm purposely not asking her for a refresher on the story, because I like the way I remember it and I've already proved to myself that I've got some elements wrong. My perusal of GoogleStreet shows a one-story building and the story, as I remember it involves a 2nd floor.  It's entirely possible that the old place burned down and got replaced by the one-story bar I found pictures of, but I deem facts to be irrelevant (and possibly inconvenient).

The bar that stands there now is no longer called The Outback.  When Anon GF first experienced the wasn't called The Outback Bar. A few years before I made the acquaintance of The Outback Bar, Anon GF stopped in one day to scout the place for another project.  She walked into the place in the middle of the day...entering from bright sunlight into the perpetual gloom cultivated by bars of this ilk.

As her eyes adjusted, she realized that the place was entirely deserted. No customers, no waitress, no bartender.  Just her standing alone in the joint.  She called out, assuming that maybe the owner (or whoever), might be in the back.

Left Turn Alert:  At the end of shooting this movie in Maine, Anon GF and I stopped off to fill our gas tank at an Irving Gas Station one night. (I find the name Irving for a gas station absolutely hysterical, but that's neither here nor there.)  After filling the tank at the self-serve pump, I went inside to pay.  There was nobody in the place.  No customers, nobody at the register.  I called out, assuming that maybe the cashier (or whoever), might be in the back.  After standing around and calling out a few times, I got a total case of the heebie-jeebies thinking that maybe I had walked in on the tail end of a robbery and picturing people tied-up (or worse) in the back room, I decided to leave my money on the counter and beat feet! Maybe the robber was still there keeping everyone quiet in the back room.  As we drove away, I dialed 911 on my cell phone (which had a Duluth, MN area code), and discovered that in the early days of cell phones, 911 didn't shunt you to the authorities at the nearest cell towers.  It sent you to 911 in the area code the phone was registered to.  It took a ridiculous amount of time and misunderstanding before I was able to convince the operator that I was calling from Maine and it might be more effective if she could connect me to a cop in the same time zone.  We never did find out what, if anything, had actually happened at the Irving.

But, anyway...back to Anon GF's story.  She's standing in a really dark bar and she's calling out "Anybody here?", and she's all alone and it's creepy as hell.  Just as she's about to surrender to instinct and get the hell out of there, she hears creaking on the floorboards from the second floor (the one the internet is trying to tell me doesn't exist), and in short order, the bartender comes down the (nonexistent?) stairs wiping his hands on a stained apron.

She delivers her spiel about whatever she was scouting for and ends up shooting just enough pictures of the place to be polite and gets out.  A few days later, there's a front page article in the local paper detailing how the owner of the bar had killed his wife and then buried her OUT BACK!  She wasn't ever able to figure out for sure whether she'd been there when all of this was going on, but it was on the same day.

And that's the story of how a dive bar in Wisconsin ended up being named The Outback by the next owners.  And I have no idea, whatsoever, what the current owners did with the 2nd floor.  I bet there's something nefarious behind that too!

And here's the acute turn to neatly wrap things up...nowhere near where it began.

Remember when I talked about my hate-hate relationship with Key West?  I know this is an old commercial, but they keep using the damned thing, and I can't, for the life of me figure out why this commercial is supposed to make a visit to Key West look like a good idea.  I'm speaking of  none other than the catastrophically creepy commercial featuring the:

Yes, I know there are supposed to be thousands of six toed cats there...descended from Ernest Hemingway's polydactyl felines.  But I fail to be attracted by the prospect of viewing the feral inheritors of that particular deformity...even if they did once nuzzle the ankles of the famously uber-macho (not to mention suicidal) author of some of the most painful reads I was ever forced to slog through in High School.  And strapping a camera to Quasimodo-Cat's head really doesn't up the ante for me any.

The whole commercial has this little monster running around town surreptitiously documenting all the fun you can expect.  First, he frightens some dogs...apparently Key West dogs are total wusses. Or maybe they're tourist dogs and they didn't know what they were getting into thinking they could survive the wrath of Key West Mutant Catdom.

Then, the commercial moves on into what appears to be its main theme...peeking up skirts!

 If they're going after Beatles fans, they might do better than invoking The man in the crowd with the multi-colored mirrors on his hobnailed boots.  Just saying.

And just so you know...the girls must love it.

I don't know about you, but she scares the shit out of me!

And for good measure, let's finish off the spot with...

The Creepy Pervy Pirate!

On second thought, I consider that commercial to be a Public Service.  There's a naive honesty to the spot that sort of warns off normal people.  Hey, would you want to hang out with anyone that commercial attracted?

So, assuming you're all safely ensconced anywhere other than The Outback, or an Irving, or Key West...have a happy Sunday. 

BTW,  I've reset my clock and I know the title of this is obsolete since, technically, it's after noon, but I'm always ruthlessly selective about time during the day we change the clocks.  I'll be thinking, "but it's really only  ___O'clock", for the another week.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Wow! He was right. It was a long, strange trip. But you brought us all the way back with the Key West 6-toed Cat Cam. I wonder about the distribution of toes. Is it 2-2-1-1? Maybe 3 toes on one paw and one each on the other 3 paws? How about 6 toes on one paw, and no toes on any other. No-toes sounds like a perv-ectly fine cat name, especially in Key West. And now for a Brit roundabout-turn to bring us back from this long strange comment, too?

Thanks, Nathan. You see what you did to me?

Oh oh. wectines: WTF, but it sure sounds like it means something.