Jun 23 2009

A deep subject

As promised: the well pump repair documentary, cinematographed with my iPhone. Five minutes of pure torture.


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  1. Squiggy

    Word. Beautiful film. Can you edit on the new iPhone as well?
    I feel a new web-series budding. I hope. I love seeing a part of a day in the life of Jill PSmith.

  2. Comrade PhysioProf

    You said, “Deep”. Heh, heh.

  3. Jill

    “Can you edit on the new iPhone as well?”

    Nope, and, it turns out, neither can you edit on your desktop with iMovie 7.1. I haven’t used iMovie in years, but my Final Cut Pro disappeared when Mungo, my old Mac, literally went up in smoke. If possible, what was always a stupid, terrible video application has gotten even stupider and terribler with this release. I could go on and on.

  4. Squiggy

    So you used an older imovie application? Which of them is least horrible and stupid?

  5. JRoth

    Zeppelin soundtrack? Hendrix T? I feel disoriented.

    Also, I thought the latest iMovie was supposed to be way better, but that was pure hearsay.

  6. sonia

    it is soooo quiet there!! what paradise.

    you have really nice skin. (I’m sorry, I know that’s unfeminist, but it’s good encouragement for the greasy spf90 I slather on every morning to prevent skin cancer and whatnot.)

  7. Alex

    I found this immensely entertaining and I don’t know why.

    I also agree about the newer versions of iMovie. Yuck.

  8. A

    Gripping! It looks hot there. If it’s hot but not humid I can deal. If not, no visits to Texas any time soon. I’m torn, I really like the keyboard on my Blackberry but my iPod Touch doesn’t do all the cool things, like movies, that an iPhone does. Torment.

  9. admirerofemily

    Tres tres artistique!

    The cutting between the walking, with Bert out front (look out for those porcupines Berrrrrrrrtttttt!), and the well, with music, is hilarious!

  10. madeleine

    Love the headwear! And what’s with the UFO?

  11. Gertrude Strine

    The Australian term for a well is a ‘bore’.
    That’s not so bad for a boring fillum.
    Couldn’t agree more with Chuck about the older steel jacket pumps. And they can be pushing 50 percent silt before you notice any reduction in flow – so you get no warning of imminent failure, unlike current manufacture, which pleads sickness at the sight of a grain of sand.
    Hope your replacement string is stainless.

  12. SMM

    Stunning and gritty; I laughed, I cried.

  13. Tree

    so have you won the short film Palme d’Or yet?

  14. speedbudget

    I saw Bert!

    Chuck was strangely young. I imagined an older man wearing an engineer’s hat with overalls.

    I like how the pump got older every second when you asked him how old it was.

  15. SargassoSea

    Fellini would be proud.

    And, yes, 15 to 25 in 2 seconds! I never knew they did that sort of thing when talking about pumps though.

  16. Jill

    “And, yes, 15 to 25 in 2 seconds! I never knew they did that sort of thing when talking about pumps though.”


    They do it about everything.

    Chuck is excellent. When he doesn’t know the answer, he just makes shit up.

  17. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    “When the Levee Breaks”, right?

    Not since a greezy James Dean frolicked about in a shower of light, sweet crude have we seen such hole-in-the-ground-related filmic brilliance.

  18. Comrade PhysioProf

    When he doesn’t know the answer, he just makes shit up.

    He’d make a good professor.

  19. schatze

    WikiHow needs that gem. Alas, I saw no water.

  20. B. Dagger Lee

    I’m going to try to work “contaminated, not contaminated, deteriorated” into everything I say.

    You got yourself a come-along! A come-along is a gal’s best friend. You can move anything with one of those. I’m sure the pyramids were built with some ancestor of the thingie.

  21. She-cago

    Awesome! I especially love your intro- the first 3 minutes. And the lip curls. Love those.

  22. Shelly

    That was damnfine entertaining. And heartwarming.

  23. Cottonpants

    I loved the sudden transitions between porny music and walking. Reminded me of the scene in ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ when Sir Lancelot was running at the castle.

  24. heather

    brilliant. tres bien.

  25. Nolabelfits

    It lookes like tick country out there. If so, it must be a nightmare for the dogs.

  26. Nolabelfits

    A nightmare with the ticks, I mean, not with the overall experience of living at El Rancho.

  27. Laughingrat

    You forgot to put your co-stars, “Jill’s aqua hat” and “The blue Texas sky,” in the credits. For shame!

    I’m not sure what was funnier, the intermittent Zeppelin or the blank staring at the camera. We’ll call it a tie.

  28. Frog Princess

    I think Chuck must be from far. He doesn’t sound like a native Rattlesnakian. Possibly New England raised and transplanted to the land of scorpions.

    How did he get to such a place as Rattlesnake, I wonder. Perhaps there is a story of interest to Blamers. Perhaps not.

    I see Bert is up and about. How are his quill holes?

  29. Denise

    Those sunglasses are pretty rad.

  30. emgee

    Is Chuck single?

  31. Barn Owl

    Excellent! H2O is a pretty key commodity here in the Hill Country – there are horses to be watered, heartwarming nature crap to be sustained, and lobes to be bathed.

    Your place does seem blissfully quiet, Jill. Because of my job, I have to live in the dismal suburbs, where the peace is all too frequently disturbed by testosterone-poisoned idiots in their speeding vehicles enloudened with fart mufflers and subwoofers. IBTP.

  32. Ayla

    That was AT LEAST as good as No Country for Old Men.


    1) If the new pumps are such garbage, maybe you could get a windmill? A windmill seems easier to fix. Of course, there would have to be WIND

    2) I have never had a cell phone…UNTIL TODAY when I bought a NEW iPHONE!!!!! HIGH FIVE!!!!!

    3) the first time it rang, I couldn’t figure out how to answer it.

  34. ma'am

    Nerdy questions from a hydrologist: How deep is your well? It looked pretty shallow, wow. Are you tapping a formation or overburden? Are there any worries with dropping water levels due to groundwater mining? For that, IBTP.

  35. Ron Sullivan

    OVERLADY: the first time it rang, I couldn’t figure out how to answer it.

    I think we must be kin.

    Ptwisty, d’ja cop that upper-lip stunt from David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth or am I just so movie-deficient that I’ve missed ten iterations of it somewhere? Damn near French, that one is.

    GodDAMN but you’ve got a lot of prickly plants there. And this dude’s wearing shorts? He must be one of those middle-of-the-road types.

    Well’s working now, right?

    That was fun.

  36. TwissB

    Maybe I could sneak this in under the Entertainment Industrial Complex:

    Hate to ask, but… I ain’t too proud to beg.

    My daughter-in-law, Melanie Martinez, plays bass in an Austin TX band called “Tiny Tin Hearts.” The band is progressing in the Austin Chronicle Sound Wars online competition for promotional benefits and is running second among the top ten bands but must come in first to go head to head in August with the July winner. The June race ends this Saturday, so there are just three more days to vote – once a day. (Totals look small because they were zeroed at the end of each week.)

    It’s all clearly described at: http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/SoundWars/

    Note one little nuisance – to vote you have to register once and get a code sent to your email to enter in the registration space to see the voting button. After that, you are automatically registered when you go to the site.

    I don’t campaign for political candidates at any level, but Melanie’s another story.

    Shameless appeal to cat lovers: The song was inspired by a lost and then found cat. It (song, not cat) has a very nice fugue at the end.

    Thank you thank you very much.

  37. Pinko Punko

    The creds font made me think people were gonna get murdered or something, but then the intro was super Mallick-y, except it needed to be 15 minutes longer to get that particular vibe. Bert hamming it up I think takes the cake. He’d be a fired extra so fast.

    Off topic un peu, Nick locking Nora in the closet, is that meaner than constantly sending her off in a random cab? Or maybe getting her arrested?

    A further un peu off topic, I saw my first Garbo tonight on the big screen, Queen Christina. Well, doggone it, I thought it was an absolute masterpiece.

  38. SoJo

    Love it. Made me laugh. Rock on Jill!

  39. Throw Pillow

    Have you considered doing a podcast? Podcasts are great in theory, but most of the ones I find myself listening to (e.g. smug middle-class BBC radio shows) are tools of the patriarchy.

    Re: the Thin Man movies–at least they didn’t play the one set at a horse track. And what happened to the name “Myrna”?

  40. Jill

    “Off topic un peu, Nick locking Nora in the closet, is that meaner than constantly sending her off in a random cab? Or maybe getting her arrested?”

    You allude to my tweet, my thweet, which as you know was limited to 140 characters and therefore did not allow for expanded movie-blaming. So:

    The other examples you cite are also species of false imprisonment, or, in the case of the cab, kidnapping, and of turning the cabbie into an unwitting accomplice to kidnapping. Nick Charles is a smug-ass alcoholic cad. I recall that in Thin Man 1 he slugs Nora in the kisser to protect her from flying bullets, ostensibly because she is too naive to duck and needs a man to do it for her, but really because moviegoers then and now find it absolutely comical when women get slugged in the kisser by the hero.

    Myrna Loy’s Hollywood persona — the “perfect wife” — is based in large part on Nora’s star-struck appreciation for Nick Charles’ more or less constant abuse.

  41. Jill

    Ma’am: The well is 100 feet. Everyone in rural Central Texas is worried — no, make that panicked — about dropping water levels due to the extreme drought conditions we’ve been experiencing for the past 18 months. People in Austin and San Antonio just keep on watering their fucking golf courses and fucking St. Augustine lawns at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, though, as if water just falls from the sky.

    Overlady: We’ve got wind out the ass, but a windmill costs $10,000. A new electric submersible pump (installed by Chuck): $1000.

    Frog Princess: Chuck is from a place he calls “Kwinzy.” I think it’s near Boston. Although he has lived here for 30 years, he still totally pahks his cah in hahvahd yahd, etc. I am proud to have the only Kwinzian ranch hand in Cottonmouth County.

  42. speedbudget

    Here is a question. Maybe you can ask Chuck.

    What is up with dudes and their bandannas stuck in the backs of their hats? Seriously. You have a rather fine, fashionable hat that provides shade for both face and back of neck so you don’t end up living here in Delaware in red neck limbo.

    I have only noticed women doing the bandanna trick in an emergency. Like, you got dragged to some NASCAR event and didn’t bring your sun screen and realize that your neck is blazing. Men, however, do the bandanna trick even when there are other hats to be had.

  43. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Ah, so Austin is like SoCal, where everyone obsesses over their Kentucky Bluegrass lawn, washes their four cars three times a day, and pays a sum equal to my mortgage for their monthly water bill.

  44. Jezebella

    The bandana is essential for sweat-soaking-up and redistributing for coolness. And, in the small-world department, one of my best pals from college plays cello for the Tiny Tin Hearts. I’ll be going to see them in San Anto next Friday, TwissB, and will wave at Melanie as though I know her, and probably confuse her immensely. “Hi, I spend a lot of time patriarchy-blaming on the intertubes in the vicinity of your mother-in-law” just doesn’t seem like a sane way to meet somebody.

  45. rootlesscosmo


    Myrna Loy’s Hollywood persona — the “perfect wife” — is based in large part on Nora’s star-struck appreciation for Nick Charles’ more or less constant abuse.

    Emily Leider, author of “Becoming Mae West” and other biographies, is working on a book about Myrna Loy. (This helps explain why we watched the mind-boggling patriarchal-colonialist fantasy “The Rains Came” at Emily’s house a couple of months ago.) Her take on Loy’s life and career should be very interesting.

    As for the film: brilliant. It’s “L’année dernière à Marienbad” meets “Introduction to Automatic Transmission Maintenance.” Quel montage!

  46. Tata

    The film made me howl. Arooooo! Also: it’s more instructive than the DIY channel since the introduction of craptastic game shows.

  47. birkwearingblamer

    I must get Jill’s outfit. I know I can find a Hendrix t-shirt and turquoise hat, but where can I find those cool sunglasses?

    I envisioned Carl differently based on Jill’s past posts. Older and more crumugeonly looking.

  48. TwissB

    @Jezebella – Gosh. I never realized that having Melanie for a daughter-in-law makes me a mother-in-law. Wave away in San Antonio – and compliment the wonderful cello player for me–beautiful work on “Small Catastrophe.”

    @Twill – What got the excellent “Thin Man” running analysis started? I’ve been unable to trace it back to the initial reference.

  49. Violet Socks

    Jill, I want to talk to you about something called the grammar of film.

  50. Sarah

    That was a whole lotta nature crap. The cockles of my heart have been warmed!

    Chuck is from Quincy? No wonder. I feel less confused now.

    When I grew up in San Antonio, we were always running around in circles, tearing our hair out about the drought, and the neighbors across the street would run their sprinklers in the middle of the freakin’ afternoon. It was so upsetting.

  51. Hattie

    How come guys can shoot the shit with each other but get all inarticulate and aw shucks like with a gal?

  52. juliebee

    You’re living up to the promise of the banner title. I think you just brought the funk.

  53. BMS

    Vise grips?!?!! On bolt heads?!?!?!!! Gah.

    Man needs a good spud wrench.

  54. C. Atrox

    Time wastin’ never looked so interesting.

  55. Jezebella

    My dad, a man of few words and fewer jokes, occasionally says, “that’s a deep subject” when someone says, “Well…” and leaves it hanging. So, the title of this post gives me the grins.

  56. mearl

    Oh, how this video made me laugh. “When the Levee Breaks:” my favourite LZ song. I love the sunglasses. Also, as you will find out fairly soon when I start co-hosting on my university’s feminist radio show, we have the same voice. I probably lack any Texas twang, however, being from WINNIPEG. But still: how is it that I am not yet a lesbian spinster aunt? What can I do to become one?

  57. jrav

    Re: nick and nora.

    These were favorites when I was young. I have recently rewatched (with the help of netflix), and although there are cringe-worthy moments, I found their relationship to be pretty modern for the time. In fact, I discussed it with my brother.

    The movies are so fun. Is there another old movie thread going somewhere? I’d love to get in on that.

  58. rootlesscosmo


    how is it that I am not yet a lesbian spinster aunt? What can I do to become one?

    Find a lesbian spinster aunt?

  59. ew_nc

    During the riveting gate-opening scene I was struck by this thought, “Is there anything baling wire can’t do?”

    Chuck’s attire was interesting as well. Does he moonlight as a drag queen?

  60. Becker

    Belated applause! It was much better than “Cats”.

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