Bats: Audio iPhone / GH4

Bats have been showing up to our backyard around 9 at night. Krissy filmed them with her iPhone and played the clip back to me, pointing out that there was an intermittent static and clicking noise that could be heard. As a control, I made a video on my iPhone and a GH4. The same thing happened on my phone, but did not occur on the GH4. In both clips, there is an occasional higher pitched bat squeak. I don’t have an answer for what exactly is occurring with the static sound, but my guess is that it is the result of bat sonar and Apple’s electronics. While you might have to turn up your volume a little to hear it1, the sound is audible even on laptop speakers.

Bats – Audio iPhone / GH4 from Mike Gray on Vimeo.


  1. In the clips I have raised the levels 10db. 

Dissolving Sister Clodagh

When Deborah Kerr’s Sister Clodagh chases after Kathleen Byron’s Sister Ruth in the phantasmagoric climax of Black Narcissus (1947), a dissolve spins Sister Clodagh from one room to another, briefly letting Clodah’s ghosting robes erupt through the floor in the same shot.

Here, a dissolve is used in an image on image, but not in a lazy Michael Stoops manner, but rather to accentuate panic and confusion. It’s also a unique editing strategy employed in a film that has several editing registers used throughout. It is probably not a coincidence that the same editor, Reginald Mills, worked on both of the Powell and Pressburger productions The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus. Click here for a gif.

Black Narcissus (1947)
Sister Clodagh dissolves through the floor.

Haunted by Dissolves: Night Flight 8.24.84

It’s possible that my adversity to dissolves is rooted in the pre-appointment consumption era of television, its interrupted experience, and multi-camera setup. The denim on denim complaint never really registered with me, but if I was to make sense of it, the “same image” on a “similar image slightly later” could serve as an analogy to get me over to that side of the table.

Night Flight - 8.24.84
Image on Image like Denim on Denim

Either that or I am just haunted by Michael Stoops.

Haunting Dissolves of Micheal Stoops on Michael Stoops from Mike Gray on Vimeo.

Loss of Mt. Rainier

This summer I am making a short film I wrote called Loss of Mt. Rainier. In the film, a social media star falls into a catatonic state and has his body abused on the way to the top of Mt. Rainier. It’s a dark comedy that is a loose adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “Loss of Breath”. We have a super cast-n-crew working on the film, many of whom are associated with the Olympia Film Collective. I couldn’t speak more highly of all the talents involved. Today we launched a Kickstarter for the film, which you can check out below.

Click on the following link to visit the Kickstarter for Loss of Mt. Rainier; you can watch our video to learn more about the movie.

A Dissolve from The Red Shoes

I’ve often said that I don’t like dissolves, but I’m coming to realize what I actually don’t like is lazy ones. While it is borderline cheap, in a dissolve in The Red Shoes (1948), Moira Shearer’s Victoria Page gazes across time and space to a clock; the effect is quite pleasing. It’s a cheap I wish I’d see more frequently.

The Red Shoes (1948)
Moira Shearer’s Victoria Page gazes at a clock

Candy

When we went to Europe when I was kid1, we spent a few days in Yugoslavia. At the time, the currency wasn’t worth much and we exchanged too many dollars for dinars. The dinar was worthless enough that the banks would not let us exchange the excess back to dollars, so we spent money on random things. I have a memory of being in a store that was pretty picked over but it did have 1 pound2 bricks of PEZ. We bought one and ever since, I have kept an eye out for PEZ in bulk, but have never seen it.

This weekend, I went to the b.a. Sweetie Candy Company since we were nearby. People have mentioned it from time to time as a big candy store. I had a mental image of it, a lot of candy, etc. but it actually exceeded my expectations. It was enormous. Needless to say, not only did I find PEZ available without the dispensers, but I found legit bulk PEZ:

bulk PEZ

The also had some other candy from my childhood that I was kind of surprised still existed, like El Bubble and of course, the shitty candy cigarettes we used to get at the B&J. They had a lot of those.

These were bad when I was a kid.
World’s King Size Candy

I was surprised at a few things:

  • They had no chocolate NECCO wafers. That might have to do with the issues NECCO is having and they might be sold out. They did have Tropical and Sour, which I never knew existed.
  • There were only three varieties of Nerds. Mind you, this place had at least 10 flavors of Now & Laters. I guess the varieties of Nerds have been significantly reduced over the years.
  • I only saw Chick-O-Stick in the nugget size.

On a side note, I have to keep an eye on the NECCO company status. If things go south in the next week or two, I might go buy a few boxes of NECCO wafers.


  1. I don’t actually know what year we went. I think it was 1989 or 1990. 

  2. Not sure if it was a pound, a kilogram, or some other quantity. It was a lot of PEZ. 

Like Red Dust

Red Dust (1932) starring Jean Harlow and Clark Gable, directed by Victor Fleming
Like Red Dust

Red Dust (1932)1 starring Jean Harlow, Mary Astor, and Clark Gable, and directed by Victor Fleming, is currently streaming on FilmStruck as part of a Harlow retrospective. The colonialist themes render the picture unsurprisingly problematic for the period, but Harlow and Astor steam up the film with infidelity and betrayal; the movie only cools off when someone casts an icy glare.

It’s my sense that modern audiences have something of a disconnect when understanding Harlow’s sex appeal, but in Red Dust her bravado and infinite impudence is nothing short of hypnotic2. She’s a fighter, and her flippant allure gets a bold underline from her foil in Astor’s sophisticated polish.


  1. I did this drawing with Speedball India Ink and a Speedball pen and nib drawing in a Strathmore 460+39 300 Series Bristol Journal. Prior, I had been drawing on a sketch pad that was not designed for pen and ink; in contrast the 100 lb. smooth paper of the Strathmore pad is fantastic. My high school art teacher, Mr. Burgess, introduced me to the technique, and about two years ago I picked up a set of pens. Shortly after we moved, and in the ensuing shuffle of boxes they got lost; the other week I found them and ordered the Strathmore pad. 

  2. Heather Addison’s essay “Transcending Time: Jean Harlow and Hollywood’s Narrative Decline”, published in the Journal of Film and Video, vol. 57, no. 4, Winter 2005, provides an excellent contextualization of Harlow’s stardom, and as Addison puts it, “Hollywood’s Cult of Youth” (35). 

Elgins and Western Stubbies

Upon moving to WA, I felt like I’d entered into some sort of butter-Twilight Zone. Butter sticks here are thicker and shorter, no matter the brand. They come in a slimmer box and are packed end to end. This past Sunday, during my weekly RPG1 session, the guys finally cracked the great butter mystery.

Depending on your region in the USA, butter will come either in Elgin or Western Stubby size. What really threw me was that Land O’ Lakes, a Minnesotan based company whose butter I’d only ever had in Elgin size, comes in Western Stubby size in WA. I think I’ll always prefer the Elgin, but if someone can find me a Western Stubby butter tray, I’m game.

Tillamook salted & unsalted Western Stubbies
Western Stubbies

  1. We just picked up again a 5e D&D game that we’d been playing revolving around the Underdark. While my heart is still with 2e, and AD&D for its arcaneness, 5e is definitely the best recent edition of D&D I’ve played in a while. The one complaint that’s come up is that to find anything in the book can be an egg hunt. Prior, we’d been playing The Sprawl: Mission-based cyberpunk, powered by the Apocalypse by Hamish Cameron and Lillian Cohen-Moore. I can’t recommend this game enough. Of the many games I’ve played over the years, it had really interesting mechanics with regards to the roleplaying itself.