Did you miss me? Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all. After writing over 660 blog posts in six years, it was time for a break, so I took it. I’m not sorry I did. Some might say that makes me a slacker, defined in the pejorative sense: “A person regarded as one of a large group or generation of young people (especially in the early to mid 1990s) characterized by apathy, aimlessness, and lack of ambition” (Wikipedia). I may be guilty as charged, or at least I resemble that remark. But director Richard Linklater had a more positive meaning in mind when he made his influential, independent, experimental yet really interesting and fun film, Slacker:
“Slackers might look like the left-behinds of society, but they are actually one step ahead, rejecting most of society and the social hierarchy before it rejects them. The dictionary defines slackers as people who evade duties and responsibilities. A more modern notion would be people who are ultimately being responsible to themselves and not wasting their time in a realm of activity that has nothing to do with who they are or what they might be ultimately striving for.”
One can easily find lists of movies about bicycles; I don’t have much to add to that. That wacky coronavirus pandemic stage went down to 3 but is really 2, I’ve been vaccinated and wear a mask (except on the occasion I get popcorn), and theaters have large seats spaced far apart, and attendance has been low. So I’ve ventured out to a number of movies that aren’t about bikes. I watch plenty of shows and the occasional movie at home, but there’s nothing like seeing a flick on the big screen, especially with a friend. We’ll be living with this stupid virus for probably a long time (for reasons we all know about), so it becomes endemic. We can cower in fear or live our lives and trust science and take reasonable precautions. Because like the Jeff Garlin (The Goldbergs, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Our Man in Chicago) posits in the independent film I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With, a life without cheese, or movies, is not worth living. So here are a few thoughts about most of the talkies I’ve seen this year.
Despite dire and difficult times, bicycling is still happening. In so.emeays, things are looking up. My last roundup was April 16, 2020. While I don’t claim to know or represent the entire bike scene(s), of course there are still some things to repirt. Here are a few updates on what’s going on in the bike world of Austin,Texas as Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial launch of summer begins.
The smorgasbord of music, movies, workshops and more is finally over. I’m relieved and still recovering, but I’ll also miss the creative energy. I won’t miss the lines, craziness on 6th street, scooters everywhere and long days trying to see as much as I could. There was a Day 10 but it was mostly for gaming (though I did attend the softball game and barbecue). In this post I’ll do mini-reviews of the remaining three films I caught and share my thoughts about what it all means.
I’m sitting in the Elephant Room in downtown Austin, Texas at 10:45 on a Friday night, the second Friday of the huge conference and festivals, SXSW. It’s an underground jazz club — literally — it’s in the basement and named for the prehistoric mastodon fosssil in the stone wall. It’s in between the 40′ acts. Graham Reynolds and Golden Hornet just played his own compositions, a rock / jazz / classical hybrid with trombone, violin, standup bass, drums and him on keys. The cat can play. While people talk and drink, come and go, I decided to post this blog, or at least the beginnings of one.
I’ve seen some good stuff at SXSW 2019. Not as much as I wanted, because I’ve been under the weather, quite possibly germs from one of the many people I scanned into sessions last week. Or allergies compounded by trying to do too much and not sleeping enough, a common problem for A Dude who has too much to do and not enough hours in which to do them. Although I’ve biked downtown and in between a few venues, mostly I’ve walked alot. As in 10,000-12,000 steps per day, which is alot for me. So here are some words and pictures for you. For official SXSW photos, see this link.
He awoke this morning from a deep slumber, face down, lines engraved on his face from the pillow. The unemployed, aging cyclist trudged to the bathroom then back to bed for a much-needed snooze after another late night staring at screens. Before the alarm went off, something outside the drafty casita woke him for good this time, and gingerly, he rolled out of bed. Not ready to face the wind and likely rain on his bicycle, he texted a fellow attender of the weekly job club, pleading for a ride. The gangly and kindly grad student (who may or may not have been spying on him for his thesis) agreed.
It was a dark and rainy morning. After a late night re-creating my blog that the crappy wifi connection ate (I’ve since installed a wifi extender), I awoke to thunder and lightning. So I padded over to the toilet, the one that is inside the shower stall, Asian-style. Job done, I stumbled back to the cubby hole that my bed is in, drew the curtains, and slept as long as I could. I dreamt vividly, but of what is now shrouded in the folds of my hippocampus. Which always sounds like a university for hippopotamuses. Or hippopotami, to use the correct Latin. I awoke in a foul mood.
Research bands, sessions, films, etc. in advance. If you’re a middle-aged person like me, reading lists of younger music acts is like reading another language: you don’t understand a word. But unless you use the Filter by genre or Listen features on the SXSW app and also Spotify or other music streaming service, you are doomed to wander into random bars and are likely to get stuck listening to something you hate. There are also plenty of Twitter pages and websites that help you with making choices.