Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts

Saturday, May 11, 2019

We're Starting a Newsletter: The Signal Watch Planet



Everything old is new again.

A while back pal Max Romero started a newsletter (recommended), and I've been thoroughly enjoying his routine missives.  They're thoughtful, insightful and keep me up to date with Max who lives in Chicago and who I don't get to talk to often enough, me still in Austin.

So, newsletters - the thing people started doing about ten minutes after inventing the printing press - are back.  Frankly, I think it's a good thing.

Twitter has its place and purpose, but isn't great at getting a complete thought expressed, and tweet threads tend to feel like someone shouting points at you.  Frankly, as a content creator - you're fighting against a sea of noise and algorithms as people scroll on by.  Facebook is... facebook.  Its ways mysterious and inscrutable.

I've subscribed to a few newsletters myself.  Writers, internet personality types, people I just happen to know...  Everyone does it a bit different.  Updates on what they're watching, reading, recipes, etc...  recommendations.  Sure, why not?  I just like to keep up with folks.

So, yeah...



I'm not sure I'm going to do what Max and others are doing.  I already blog a-plenty, so if you want what my brain is generating, you can see those writing or hear me podcast for an hour every week or two...  Going into it, my notion is to gather together recent blog posts and related links, maybe comment a bit on the posts, etc...  Nothing too heavy.

But I also care a lot about what people are doing around me.  Paul works on movies, Hilary and Stuart are musicians/ singers/ songwriters, Amy does Nerd Nite, Nathan has jazz shows and interviews, Maxwell has any number of projects going on at any time both personal and work-related...  People win awards.  People blog.  People make stuff.  I want to point out that stuff, too.

Maybe I'll occasionally get old school League of Melbotis-style and share more personal stuff in the newsletter which, frankly, I just don't want to do on a public blog anymore.

And... recipes!  You never know.  I could learn how to make something.

So, if you want to sign up - you can always look at the tab I put in the horizontal menu bar, or you can just fill out the complicated form here:




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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Maintenance Watch: Stuart, Wedding, B-Day

Friday was my birthday.  Please, please... hold your applause. 

I'd already gone out last week with some pals (including JuanD, who created the music that is the current opening and closing to the PodCast), and so wasn't planning anything much as I had a busy weekend ahead of me.

For my b-day, I got a noir movie box set from my brother's family and Jamie got me a Mickey Mouse lamp and Mickey Mouse Lego set.  I don't talk about it a lot, but I'm a fan of the Mouse and part of our living room decor is "Vintage Mickey" (it's semi-tasteful, I guess.  I've lost track of these things.). 

After watching Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, my brother dropped in.  A former semi-permanent fixture on my sofa, Steanso long ago fell prey to romance, the vagaries of domesticity and - eventually - child-rearing, but for one evening he showed up and we shared some bourbon and chatted.

Saturday we both attended the wedding of a family friend, which was lovely.  Outside and thus windy, but lovely.

Sunday, longtime reader and internet pal Stuart came into town a bit early for a work trip, and I did my best to point him at some sites around Austin before dropping him at the location of his conference.

Showing anyone Austin is very weird to me.  I don't really get the appeal of Austin as a tourist town - you can drink anywhere.  Yet, folks fly in from all over to drink here.  We have no gambling, Sixth Street is a cess pool, and any music worth hearing in Austin is not happening in a bar on Sixth.  I mean, I love my town, but it's the same way you love your favorite t-shirt that's been perfectly worn in.  And I know I take a lot of what we do have for granted, so I don't think to show it to anyone. 

Stuart and I get along pretty darn well, which I knew from our previous meet-up in Metropolis, Illinois about 4 years ago.  We chat online, but it's always best to have face-time and tacos.  I hope he wasn't too bored.

Following, I watched some baseball and then the first episode of Fosse/ Verdon, and then did some PodCast editing. 

So - this is all a long way of explaining how I watched so few movies over the weekend and why the PodCast may drop late this week.

Friday, April 12, 2019

44



(Fast) Slow Disco - St. Vincent

I sway in place to a slow disco
And a glass for the saints and a bow for the road

Am I thinking what everybody's thinkin'?
I'm so glad I came, but I can't wait to leave?

Slip my hand from your hand
Leave you dancin' with a ghost
Slip my hand from your hand
Leave you dancin' with a ghost

There's blood in my ears and a fool in the mirror
And the bay of mistakes couldn't get any clearer

Am I thinking what everybody's thinkin'?
I'm so glad I came, but I can't wait to leave?

Slip my hand from your hand
Leave you dancin' with a ghost
Slip my hand from your hand
Leave you dancin' with a ghost

Don't it beat a slow dance to death?
Don't it beat a slow dance to death?
Don't it beat a slow dance to death?
Don't it beat a slow dance to death?
Don't it beat a slow dance to death?
Don't it beat a slow dance to death?

Slow Disco


Slow Slow Disco


Official Video Slow Disco


ACL Fest Slow Disco

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Batman at 80


They tell me Batman is now 80 years old.  Happy Anniversary/ Birthday, Bruce. 

This week, DC Comics released Detective Comics #1000, a big event book as it well should be.  I'll pick up my copy at my local comics shoppe (I asked for the Steve Rude cover - we'll see what I wind up with, because I genuinely don't care  All the covers were terrific, imho).  What happens in #1000 matters less than the stunning achievement of 80 years of Batman, a character dreamed up in the wake of Superman's overnight success, and whose most outstanding achievement is the ability to fit into any tone or version of the character you want and still remain, fundamentally, Batman. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

20th Anniversary Watch: Office Space (1999)



Watched:  02/20/2019
Format:  a very, very old DVD
Viewing:  8th or 9th
Decade:  1990's

In February 2019 I was about 9 months post-graduation and working in a very strange job for - what I figured out - was literally poverty wages (the job required a 4 year bachelor's degree, so... don't major in radio-TV-film, kids).  This week marks not just the 20th anniversary of the release of  Office Space (2019), but late 2018- early 2019 marks the start of my 20th year in the workforce as an FTE, I suppose.

Office Space was a product of Austinite Mike Judge, who had risen to fame first with Beavis & Butthead on MTV circa 1993, and brought Arlen, Texas to the small screen via King of the Hill. Upon arrival, the movie mostly flopped.  Critics were relatively kind, but the film had no major stars except Jennifer Aniston in the era of Big Stars = Big Profits, and a workplace comedy about hating your job wasn't exactly groundbreaking.  But at the time I felt a certain loyalty to the Texas film scene and Mike Judge, so we went to see it around opening weekend and... yeah.

As Jamie said when we were talking about the movie after: this was the first movie I saw that I may not have related to 100%, but it was the first movie I saw about adults that I could relate to as an adult.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Now taking our TV and Film Recommendations via THE FORM



Boy howdy, is there a lot of media out there!  And, boy howdy, are people both cavalier about jumping in mid-discussion about a movie or TV show to insert a movie or TV show you really should be watching. 

In this era of way-too-much-content, where I'm already burning out on TV shows just because, man, I dunno, another episode? and a raft of new movies that trend for seemingly no reason (like, why DID you stop and watch Birdbox?  I'm not saying it's bad, it's just... it just showed up so you watched it) we've all gotten pretty bad about telling people what they *should* be watching. 

Back in the 90's when seeing a movie or TV show took some effort, you actually wanted a running list of things from trusted sources so when you went to the local video monger and they were out of VHS copies, oh, The English Patient, you would go and get Faces of Death III or whatever your friends had said might be worth a watch.  If someone said "I like Larry Sanders" and you found out about in season 3, that kinda sorta meant you were given a pass to not watch the show, because no one had the expectation you'd drop everything in your life and track down copies of episodes. 

NO MORE.  We may not be able to educate our children or work out public transportation, but we can all watch Gator at the same time if we feel like it.  If someone suggests catching up on the entirety of The Simpsons, you can do so.  Somehow, people are able to "binge" watching 10-22 hours of TV in a week or two, plow through entire shows in a matter of a few weeks or less. 

I'm not wired that way.  At all.  I don't even like watching more than one Avengers movie per every two weeks or so for the PodCast.    Seeing episodes backed up on the DVR is enough to just make me quit on a TV show.  And while I deeply believe in, like, and will defend a handful of TV shows, I don't necessarily get the urge to insist others watch the shows.  Likely an after-effect of really going to the mat for Star Trek and Max Headroom as a kid.

And, movies... ahhh... movies.  If there's one thing that's true, it's that all of us know, in our heart of hearts, that we have amazing taste in film, and everyone else's taste is suspect at best.  It's a nicety when people agree on a movie, but we also may find ourselves in deep disagreement about, say, Aquaman (sorry, Max.  We'll need to talk about that sometime.). 

But what I really, really believe is that we all need to slow our roll on movie and TV recommendations.  If we can learn caution when it comes to suggesting music to others (and if you aren't exercising caution there, I assure you, your co-workers are making fun of you), we can learn to do same with moving picture media. 

And it's not that I don't WANT recommendations, it's that I want thoughtful recommendations.  If you're going to suggest I spend a few hours doing something other than eating cotton candy and watching puppies play, I'd like a reason WHY.

THUS - The Form.

From now on, we're taking our recs from you and from people anywhere in my life via an easy to use Google Form.  If you can't take the five minutes to fill it out, how much do you really want for me to watch that movie, anyway?, is what I say.

The good news is, the few of you who will actually use The Form will be captured in a spreadsheet I can review and use.  Those of you too good for The Form?  Well. 

Anyway.

Without further ado: THE FORM

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Krypto Awards: Worst and Best of 2018



It's been a few days since 2018 wrapped, so it's fair to call it a year and take a look over the list of movies we watched and name a few as outstanding and a few...  we'll still say "outstanding", just, you know, in a different way.  I'll mostly discuss "new to me" movies, of which I watched over 100 (my life is a shallow, meaningless parade of nothing-better-to-do).  This list might look different in a month, so, you know, this is what I think today.

You can see the complete list from 2018 here.  Check the tabs for filtering by categories.

As always, there were movies I had to go back and look up and say "what was that again?".  It happens.  But this is why I write them up.  There aren't that many "this is terrible" movies because I generally don't go to see movies unless I *think* they'll hit the mark for me, but fate is a funny thing and it happens.  Also, unless RiffTrax or MST3K is involved, I turn off movies I'm not enjoying, which disqualifies them from consideration.

With that - Let's consider this the "Krypto Awards" for 2018.

Did Not Like


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

We've got a Patreon - support The Signal Watch PodCast!



Hi, y'all. 

I've set up a Patreon!  Yay!

No, really, it's to basically defray the cost of hosting the PodCast.  I don't need much, but I won't turn down a huge cash gift, either.

So, anyway, the only tier is $1.50 per month.  I figure that's less than a Medium Pike Place at the Starbucks, so... affordablish.  And I set it up as a recurring monthly because my bill for hosting is monthly, too.  So. 

If we go over what I need to pay for SoundCloud, I'll figure something out - you might hear better microphones used or some such.  If we're all good in the neighborhood, I'll see about reducing the cost monthly.

If I can't convince enough of you good people that a $1.50 a month is a good idea, well...  let's just say we know where The Signal Watch PodCast stands.  (cough)

So.  Anyway - we'd sure appreciate your support.

We'll have exclusive blogposts and whatnot on the Patreon page (there's one there now!), and I may develop some behind-the-scenes content for the Patreon as well.  I mean, you guys would love to actually SEE what we look like and view our amazing production facility, I assume...?

So, I mean, really, a $1.50 is not exactly highway robbery.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Coming Up in 2019 Here at The Signal Watch

by November 2019.  The movies promised us.


Hi.  Happy 2019.

2018 was something of a year here at The Signal Watch. 

After years of pointed suggestions to do so, AmyC got me fired up and we started the PodCast, and, honestly, I've been delighted at the results.  On the actual blog, I've covered movies and comics.  Comments have all but dried up, but I've talked to a lot of you on social media and elsewhere.  I hope it's been worth the occasional check-in to see what's what here at the site.

The past two years, The Signal Watch has more or less turned into my personal film-watching journal which I like to share with you good folks.  I've written a post of some sort on virtually every movie I've watched for over 700 days, and in short order we'll do the numbers and talk about what we saw in 2018.

In 2019, I am not going to write a post on every movie I watch, even if I make a marker post of sorts that I did watch a film  (that marker post is for me, not you).  I'm not sure what form posts will take, but the steady pace of blogging on film will diminish - not that anyone is asking for it. 

I expect we'll find ourselves writing up a movie or three, especially those all-important superhero movies, and maybe some noir. 

For those of you who have been around since 2003 (2018 marked my 15th year since launching League of Melbotis), a change in format this year is just one more change.  Thanks for sticking with us, by the way.

Some of that energy we'll apply to improving the Signal Watch PodCast.  Last year I recorded and edited about three dozen episodes, and - brother - is that more work than I like to talk about. 

It's good that we produced episodes in volume.  I learned a lot quickly, technically and whatnot, but I think both my co-contributors and myself learned something about improving quality of content over that time, and I'd like to keep on that path, even if it means fewer episodes per year.  I mean, no one will cry if there isn't a new Signal Watch episode each week, I expect.  And I'd like my evenings back.  And, mostly, I want to make it worth everyone's while to spend time hearing us out.

Curiously, a lot of folks who aren't the usual co-contributors want to do an episode with me.  I'm not made out of time, but I do want to have friends jump in when we can manage it. 

I've been considering a very low-entry Patreon, simply because it does cost me *some* money to have a Soundcloud account.  I'd also like to get some better recording equipment, etc... and, shockingly, I have not been approached by any networks or sponsors to defray the costs.  I love you guys, but the economics of this are not terrific. 

On the comics front, I'm hoping to get back to writing up the Super books a little.  We'll see how it goes.  As always, that's so I spend some additional time with each issue and savor what's there, and I hope it's a nice thing for you to check in on and comment if you're also seeing what Big Blue and the Maid of Might are up to in the funny pages.

Keep talking to me on social media and in the comments.  It always makes it way, way more fun and less like I'm howling into the void. 

Anyway, onward and upward.  I expect 2019 will be part of this amazing trend of "what the actual hell is happening?" outside of the realm of entertainment, but we'll attempt to be a port in the storm.  Certainly worrying about mid-century crime movies is a better alternative than the news a lot of days.

I hope your 2019 brings joy and prosperity and our better tomorrow.




Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas Day!


Merry Christmas, every buddy!

Hope everyone had a good Christmas Eve and has something to enjoy today, even if it's just the right cup of coffee.  Man, I could go for some coffee.

Best from all of us at The Signal Watch (that'd be me, Jamie and Scout).



Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas Eve from The Signal Watch



It's Christmas Eve here at The Signal Watch.  By now the sun is down and, if you're lucky, there's not much to do but make yourself a cup of cocoa or pour a cocktail or two.  Unless you're headed for Midnight Mass or late service.  If so, we'll catch you on the other side.

I hope your Christmas Eve is spent as you'd wish.  For me, it's a small gathering of family.  We're planning to eat tacos and tamales (this is Texas, after all), and stay up a bit late watching movies and maybe indulging in those cocktails.  I'll be the last one up, most likely.  I am every year and have been since I was a kid.

stockings are hung by the chimney with care

I like that image from Paul Dini and Alex Ross's graphic novella Peace on Earth.  As Scrooge might have learned on his own Christmas Eve - there's more joy in others than in the accumulation of riches, more satisfaction in knowing we've reached out somehow to our neighbors here on this big, blue marble.  Let's all strive to do better and raise each other up in 2019.

For the past several years I've closed out with Ms. Darlene Love and one of my favorite Christmas tunes.  If I didn't love the song before (and I did), then seeing Ms. Love perform the song as her show closer here in Austin a few years back was one of the best live performances I've ever seen.  After the melancholy tunes of the Vince Guaraldi Trio, some Nat King Cole, some Sinatra and some new favorites - this is how I want to say goodnight before Christmas morning arrives and a new round of celebration begins.

This version has the incredible addition of Ms. Patti LaBelle.

Peace on Earth.  Goodwill towards all.  God bless us, every one.




Sunday, December 9, 2018

"Superman: The Movie" 40th Anniversary


Superman: The Movie premiered at the Uptown Theatre in Washington DC on December 10th, 1978.

I don't think I need to tell you guys I'm a bit of a fan of Superman, as both character and media staple.  And, I imagine, it started with this film.  After all, one of my earliest memories, writ-large, is my dad taking me to see Superman: The Movie in the theater and telling my mom how much I liked it when I got home.  It was all in that era before you know our hero will be fine when Lex dumps them into a pool with kryptonite chained around their neck.

In the 40 years since, the movie has aged incredibly well - a few bits now dated, others pointing the way for superhero movies and beyond, and all part of an era of filmmaking of sweeping cinematography, cutting edge practical effects, classical scoring and sincerity and humor in spades.  The performances have become classics upon which everything else is (rightly) judged, embedded in the (pop) cultural lexicon. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving 2018 from The Signal Watch


Let's do this

Thanksgiving is actually supposed to be about being grateful at harvest-time for what we *do* have, and how we can share that with our fellow humans.  After all, it was President Lincoln who instated Thanksgiving during the dark days of The Civil War as a balm to the nation's ills and a reminder of what was good and how we could look to those less fortunate as we recognized our good fortune.

The holiday is expressed in many ways, from meals provided by volunteers to the needy to people trying to fly across the country in terrible weather to spend three uncomfortable days with extended family and then fly back, more exhausted than when we left.  As part of the crass commercialism that *is* American freetime, of course there's also a tradition of watching football (and therefore ads) and the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade from New York City (and therefore ads).

Thursday, November 1, 2018

DISNEY HISTORY PODCAST: EPCOT - Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow! NathanC and Ryan talk about the park! Yesterday, today and tomorrow!




Walt Disney had a vision for an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a city he'd build from scratch with businesses, living spaces, arts, science, universities, etc... And we got an amusement park. NathanC and Ryan delve into the history of EPCOT from concept to execution to today to tomorrow! Are we nostalgic for the future?
 

Music
Here Come the Warm Jets - Brian Eno
Innoventions - Future World - EPCOT park soundtrack
The Universe of Energy - EPCOT park soundtrack
Promise - Leaving EPCOT song - EPCOT park soundtrack
On Some Faraway Beach - Brian Eno


Disney History with NathanC

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween 2018

Well, it was a whirlwind of a Halloween evening.  I knocked off work a tad early to get into my costume - and because my parents, Jamie's dad, Jason, Amy and Raylan were all headed over for tricks or treats.

This year, Scout went as Captain America, because she does not like bullies at all.


Jamie went conceptual and went as Santa Jaws, and my mom sported her "Keep Austin Batty" blouse.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Out West for 11 Days

On Sunday the 7th I jumped an aeroplane and headed to Salt Lake City for a conference and meetings at the University of Utah Libraries.


If you've not been to SLC, it's kind of an amazing town. It's new, of course, and Mormons like to make sure things are nice for folks, so the whole place is well laid-out, clean as a whistle, full of friendly people and has things like public trains and buses and bike lanes.  I mean, it's all that Blue Velvet "if there's bad stuff here, you know it's super @#$%ing not-mundane bad"-bad, but aside from low-percentage booze beer, I found few quibbles with the city.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Real Life Information - I'm Outta Here For a Few Days



I may not have a life, but I do have a fulltime job.  I like it.  Good gig.  Sometimes it requires travel.

Months ago and far apart, I scheduled attendance at two different conferences, and - fun - they're on consecutive weeks.  Starting, like, now.

"Great," you're saying to yourself.  "So the @#$% what?"  

Well, first, why are you so angry?  Second: Things will slow down here for a short bit.  Most of you won't notice.  But, I like to keep you posted.  Makes me feel important.

But, that doesn't mean no content.  You will get Halloween PodCasts on Sundays through the end of the month, so keep checking in.  

Coming up:  
  • Ghostbusters
  • Isolation
  • Night of the Demon and The Haunting
and I think I can get The Thing edited for Halloween itself.  We'll see.


Friday, August 17, 2018

Happy Birthday, Madonna!



editor's note:  I thought I lost this post, but found an open tab with a draft still available I was able to copy and add to.  This isn't the original post that went out, but I - for the first time in years - accidentally erased that post when I clicked the wrong button.  

Apparently yesterday was the 60th Birthday of Madonna.

Here at The Signal Watch, we salute Madonna as the person who told us it is 100% okay to like pop music.  You will not lose your edge by enjoying Madonna.