Thursday, March 21, 2013

Your Daily Dose of Good Cheer: Norma Shearer

Lo Content Mode for a Few Days

Today I go to the airport and pick up a candidate for the open position of: my boss.

From Thursday afternoon until Saturday evening, I'm kind of responsible for this person.  Tomorrow I pick them up and take them to the hotel.  Then it's dinner with the Search Committee.  All day on Friday it's interviews.  Saturday, I'm "showing them Austin" with the intention of selling them on Austin.  Hoo-boy.  

I hope they like comic shops and record stores, 'cause that's what they're gonna see.

It's a weird task to be given, but we do things old skool and with the prissy formality of a Dowager Countess in Higher Ed, and especially in libraries.  Thus, I establish who I am to this person by acting as their footman for three days.  

Really, I kind of consider it to be a test of the person's street smarts to make it to the hotel on day 1, but that's just me.

The proximity to the boss and this much time with a person who doesn't know me is, I would think, a whole lotta me.  And I can barely stand being with me for more than a couple of hours, so I can only imagine how this is gonna go for this poor person.  Also, I use a lot of swears when I drive, so the idea of driving this person around all Saturday is sort of chilling.

Anyway, I kind of have to go to ground for a bit.  Y'all take care.  I'll be around as I'm able.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Humble Request - I Need Your Words

The end of this month marks the 10th Anniversary of my blogging career.

I'd deeply appreciate it if you could feel so inspired as to send some publishable reminisces by way of email to:  signalwatch at gmail dot com

I'll be posting whatever you feel like sending my way around the date of the blog-versary. It can be whatever you like.  The time I filled you with rage.  The time you knew I'd gone quite mad.  The time you decided my words were sage wisdom and put a check in the mail to support me.

Whatever you like.  There are no rules.

Ten years, people.  Ten.

a typical night of blogging at League HQ

So, yeah!  We'd love to hear from you.  Just click on that "Contact" button up above and send something in.

Your Daily Dose of Good Cheer: Gloria Grahame

I got nothin': Mad Men and creeping up on my blogging anniversary

We started our pre-Season 6 review of Season 5 of Mad Men this evening.  I firmly believe you kind of have to watch every season of this show twice, not just to get the quick, throw away lines you might have missed, but it's a show that writes in a literary mode.  Once you know the score, it's amazing to see the foreshadowing and symbols.  I've seen some critics complain that, basically, the show does this on TV and they feel it can be clunky, and, sometimes, yeah.  But for the occasional open elevator shaft, there's a throw-away line about "not being around by Christmas" that plays out with grim irony nobody but the writing staff could have anticipated.

As much as I live a good show like The Americans and the challenges of the show, they're all there on the surface.  It's a gripping drama that challenges the American hero perspective of the 1980's (or today), but that's the function of the show.  It weaves in home and life to characters we've only ever seen as drone-like killing machines or bed-mates for James Bond.  Again, I really like The Americans, but Mad Men is trying in a completely different way and isn't in danger of becoming a one-hit wonder.

Also, I watched this evening's episode of The New Girl.  I long ago moved on from just watching it for the Deschanel-ness and genuinely like what I suspect is about 50% made up on the spot from an outline.

In the next 10 days I need to finish the 10th Anniversary post for my blogging.

10 years, man.  10.  That's a lot of navel gazing.  And sometimes I feel bad that I only have 200+ posts on Superman on this blog, and then I think:  well, man, that's like 200 posts you did about Superman on this site alone.  That's actually a lot of thinking and writing about Superman that nobody paid you to do.  You're no Steve Younis, but that's nothing to shake a stick at.  Also, go out and get some sun or something.  All this sitting can't be good for you.

Anyway, if you have anything to contribute to the 10 year anniversay-palooza, we welcome you to send in your post-cards and comments.  You can do so via email at the contact link that is in the menu bar running horizontally at the top of the page.  We'll reprint whatever you want to send in.

One thing I learned from visiting with people I hadn't seen much or at all in 20 years last weekend is that their memories of you and  (what was to them) specific, very important moments can be something you don't really recall yourself until they bring it up.  I was just glad that the two things I had dropped on me were both really pretty positive.  But then modern-me looked like a jack-ass for not immediately remembering either event.*

So, yeah, I don't know what you people think of when you think of The League of Melbotis franchise of social media.  But if you want to help me out on this, it'd be appreciated.

*apparently I defended a young woman's honor in the cafeteria and was someone else's first kiss (as a stage kiss.  I had no idea.).

Monday, March 18, 2013

And now... People re-enacting scenes from "Miller's Crossing" for some reason

In film school, some courses will ask you to reshoot a scene from a movie.  Folks get ambitious, and it's a hard lesson in how important things like good sound equipment, talented actors, rehearsal, and a knack for direction can actually be.  But it's an exercise a lot of schools have you do before you head out with your own material to butcher.

Below are what I think are likely YouTube videos of those class assignments.  I can see why you'd want these scenes.  Two people, both strong characters.  It's all right there on the page.  And you're only dealing with two actors.

Tom talks to Verna about the death of Rug Daniels...

I'm going to go on and say this: walking in heels in difficult. It's also something everyone who wants to be on TV or in movies should learn how to do. Also, don't outfit our actresses with a jingly purse, movie-people.

Join Us: Miller's Crossing at The Drafthouse Ritz

If you knew me in college you knew two things about me:

  • I was probably up for getting some tacos
  • I never got over that first viewing of Miller's Crossing

The movie comes to The Alamo Ritz on March 28th.  Simon, Paul and I have our tickets, and we expect you'll be joining us (we're seats 7 - 10 on row 21 for reserved seating).

Put on your fedora or mink coat and come on out and join us to see the movie that sort of set me on the path of being into movies with guys in hats and a lifetime fascination with women in gowns who talk fast and maybe carry a gun.

Your Daily Dose of Good Cheer: Bergman

Wreck-It-Ralph, Birthday, Quiet Man, Pam Grier is well liked

I should probably have something smarter to say, as I haven't really posted much on the usual topics the past several days.

On Saturday evening I wasn't feeling up to snuff, so we watched the Disney film Wreck-It-Ralph, which turned out to be a pretty good flick.  While the themes and story are going to hold up, I am concerned that the trappings of the nostalgia and with the concept of a modern game (or kids paying to play games at an arcade at all) it'll fall into Oliver and Co. territory for Disney, a sort of dated product of its time.  Still, at this time, it was a really fun movie that, even if the kids don't quite get all the gags, they can stick with what's offered up on a story and emotional level.  The "over their heads" bits seemed mostly winky stuff towards 80's video games, much as the Toy Story movies might reference a toy from a Gen X'er's youth.  Heck, one of the credit songs is performed by Pac-Man Fever maestros Buckner and Garcia.

Today was my brother's 40th, and we spent most of the day out at my folks' place with a wide variety of characters.  I saw people I hadn't seen in years, including the children I had never met of several of Jason's pals.  Some of those kids are kind of not so little anymore.  Time flies, man.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Your St. Patrick's Day Dose of Good Cheer: Jennifer Connelly

Well, I probably should have held off on posting pics of Maureen O'Hara til today, but I didn't.  So, we're going for something a bit modern for this column.

I believe Connelly is as much of an American mutt as most of us are, but the name Connelly is Irish, right?  Wikipedia says she's at least part Irish, so we're running with it.

Any excuse to post pics of Jennifer Connelly is a good excuse.

My Brother Turns 40

Today is my brother's 40th birthday.

This is a bit of a milestone for the family, I think.  The elder son hits that magical four-oh number.  Odd when I think on his birthday and can recall the elementary school birthdays with some clarity.  I even remember him getting a Beach Boys album when he was 6 or 7.  I guess as long as you keep showing up, they keep giving you birthdays, and that means cake, and who can argue with that incentive?

Still, 40 gives me a moment of pause as I also recall my mother turning 40 and what a to-do that was around the house.  I don't think we think of 40 in the same terms today - 40 is the new 30 or whatever - and it's all what you make of it.  And I think he's done okay for himself.  Especially since he got his hair cut in 1995.

Here's to my brother, who has blazed the birthday trail for the Steans Bros.  No matter how hard I try to catch up, he's always a couple years ahead of me, and watching him degenerate let's me know what's coming.

You can't ask for a better brother.  Well, short of getting, like, an awesome robot who shoots lasers out of his face, but I'll take this one.

He's a hell of a guy, and, as it turns out, is not afraid to take the same picture with Amy in multiple locations.

Really, if they don't make this a thing, I'll be disappointed.

And here's a more recent photo of the man rocking the house back in January with his bandmates of the past 14 years, The Mono Ensemble.

oh, Carousel Lounge, don't ever change...
And , of course, here's a pic from the pages of the Statesman as my bro works with a client of the Veteran's Court from our own Travis County.

You can really see the magnificence of the beard.

Happy birthday, man.  You're doing good.