FILM REVIEW: Slacker (1991, Austin, and I)

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.”[24]

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Resuscitation of an Austin Ghost Bike, Part 1

Two years ago almost at this time, a woman tragically was killed by a hit and run driver. He was never caught. Her mistake was having her bike trailer break down in the middle of the night and trying to fix it in the bike lane. She was a woman named Merry Daye who lived on the streets of Austin, Texas. Thousands of others still are without housing, thanks to the unaffordable rent and other reasons that cause this situation for so many worldwide. After her death, I organized a ghost bike and memorial ride. Her family came and spoke, and the TV news covered it. Recently, someone liberated the bike from the tree by the church. I live nearby and noticed. So this bike is back in the story of my bicycle journey, and with it, Merry.

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Three Decades Since A Dude First Landed, Bikeless, in Austin

March 3, 1991. The first Gulf War had just ended. I was out of college a few years and had been traveling and moving around a bit. I grew weary of that, so I did the logical thing and went home. After a year slinging Southern cooking and helping out dear ma a bit, I bought a lightly used car. I went to one last steak night with my dad and brother, and moved in with a friend in Austin, Texas. Today her eldest turned 22, so I stopped by for a COVID-safe outdoor birthday. People trickled by, and I told one about the mom,“She’s my oldest friend in Austin. Looks pretty good for 85, don’t she?” (She’s much less.) With that history and my anniversary percolating in my brain the last two weeks, I figured it’s time for a little trip down memory lane.

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Nostalgia for My Grandmother on Winter Solstice, the Longest Night of the Year

It’s winter solstice here in Austin, Texas, United States of America, and I’m feeling nostalgic. Not only because of the holidays, or working in a place with a long history here in town and in the country that’s closing down, or because a year ago I had ridden my bike alot more, and the year before that, even more. It’s mostly because my maternal grandmother died 20 years ago on December 22, 1998. This post is dedicated to her memory. (Check back after the holidays for more photos.)

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Paul Simon: Poet, Musician, Legend

Paul Simon and his band played the large concert Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center in Austin, Texas tonight.  I hesitate to even attempt to review the show, but I can certainly try to put in words the emotions his music evoked and other thoughts that come to mind.  Even that is hard, because he is such an important part of American music for over 60 years.  He’s a winner of countless awards, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, 13-time Grammy winner, actor, had music featured in movies (notably The Graduate) and much more.  There are popular musicians who become famous, but some are at the next level, and he’s one of the greats for sure. Continue reading