Blood Simple

I am renewing my interest in low budget movies. Also the first movies made by certain filmmakers. I am interested in their “starting points”. I want to see what they did “creatively” when they did not have a deep checkbook to draw from. These are the types of movies I need to learn more from as I move forth with my own endeavors.

I know everyone is streaming most of their movie viewing. However, there are titles not available that way at the moment. So for me it is worth the cost.

I had this movie in the Netflix DVD queue for a while.

It is the first movie by the Coen Brothers.


If you like their movies then you should make sure to see this. I do not know why it took me so long.

This movie is a great example of modern day film noir.

There is the influence of Alfred Hitchcock with the slow buildup of suspense and that slight twist when it is finally delivered.

Too many times in films (especially “Thrillers”) the opening act is “over spent” explaining the details and motivations of all the characters.

Coen Brothers drop you right into the story. You know “something is happening but what it is; is not exactly clear.” So you better just pay attention.

They slowly build up their story. It is methodical. Example, watch for the roadside of the farm field scene.

Another one from the movie had me saying “Look under the fish.” More than once.

Plus, the actor M. Emmet Walsh just brings it anytime you see him in a movie.


Posted in Movies | Leave a comment

Mundane

A reminder from the book The Good Creative by Paul Jarvis

“Chapter 2: Share Your Ugly Process”

 


 

 

I have been slowly reading my way through a collection of Ray Bradbury short stories. In the beginning of the book he writes about how occurrences in his life lead him to turn it into a story. And maybe this is a method I need to explore and experiment more with in the future. My current circumstances have to be material for something.

 

However, there is always something.

Right now I have to paint an apartment unit to hopefully get rented soon. An unrented apartment at the moment limits the finances of what I can get done with upkeep of the place. So right now there is “holding pattern” going on.

I also hate painting. It is a lonely, slow and monotonously boring work to do. And after 8 hours of painting, I have to do a second coat on the whole unit. Plus I have to do all the painting of the trim work still which probably is another 4-6 hour process alone. So I am a bit pissed off.

And when I am doing this work hearing the phrase from people, “Are you having fun yet?”

How do I explain it to people? When I am working on boring shit alone my mind seems to go into “hyper drive”. There are lot of ideas and insights flowing. I cannot write them down. I wish I could hire a person to sit in the room just to be a stenographer for my thoughts. Afterwards, when I am done painting and I see that blank sheet on the notepad. And all I can do is draw a blank. I get even madder.

Plus, the project of decluttering my own apartment has been put on the back burner. I really wish I had someone to trade “Offense and Defense” with to conquer this. But here there is no division of labor to be had here.

 

Trying to explain this is a waste of time and energy.

 

“What did I say to you?” is the phrase that if I had a dime every time I said this lately would actually allow me to afford the fore mentioned stenographer.

Plus, how I get people to understand that getting this out the way will help with the writing and reading time?

Especially, when they do not even notice the results of that time when they happen.

 

 

This is how it has been going (in a nutshell)

Other person: “I don’t understand what you are doing?”

Me: “Why don’t you ask questions?”

Other person: “Because I don’t want to know.”

Me: “Have you seen my hammer?”

And I will not go on the issue of “returning phone calls” or “How many times have I given you my cell number?”

 

 

I am not going into the Robin Williams story. However, before the news came about him that day. I was listening to Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast in which he was interviewing the comedian Bob Newhart. They were having a discussion of his albums that cane out between about 1958 and 1963. And at the end, he attached Bob’s bit about “What if Abraham Lincoln had an agent?” It still worked. So I went and downloaded one of his albums. I wanted to start with the first one. However, I had to actually order the CD version of his first album The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart. So I had to start listening to him with the second album The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back because it was available for download at that moment.

This was the clip that later day would become a strange coincidence.

 

 

 

 

I don’t think there are people who want to be “talked down” for the ledge.

The Media Outlets demonstrate daily that “Talk is cheap”.

Rather, they want to be “Listen To” in order to get away from that ledge.

Engaging can be a more valuable service.

But for now I have laundry to do.

 

And to close with another reminder.

 



Posted in Human St(r)ain, Listening To, The Mind Wanders | Leave a comment

Slight Touch of the Hunger

I have to say I have been feeling a bit of “The Angst” lately. I am not going to go into the details of it because honestly “no one cares”. Nor should they. It is kind of reminiscent in a way of the angst most of us experienced in our younger years. What I know now that I did not know then is most of it is “just temporary”. So why can’t I just get “over with”? People you know become people you knew. Social Media becomes more about “name recognition” than anything else.

It is all just Temporary.

So why do I even bring this up. The main reason is it is the only thought in my head at the moment to write out. (There is more coming up though in future postings).

I also browse through the $5 album sales that are posted on Amazon’s website. It is just quicker and easier way to get music. And this month’s was selection was Twisted Sister’s album Stay Hungry. Yes, the heavy metal band that featured men in women’s make-up. In the early, 80’s this image was “sign of the end that was happening”. It freaked people out then. It probably helped them get played more on MTV at time. Those “Olden Days” when the station played music. Crazy. Besides Heavy Metal was being attacked all other the place at the time. And controversy always helps to increase the ratings. The song We’re Not Gonna to Take It was the “Anthem” hit at the time. Now, like the song We Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who it seems more of an “Irony” than a “Prophecy” after time.

The other hit song on the album was I Wanna Rock. I still like the song. But instead of turning up the volume to “drown out” the neighbors or co-workers, I just want to put in the ear buds and “tune them out”. I rather listen to what I like than spend time “explaining and defending” it.

I probably have not listened to album as whole since the late 80’s and could not find my cassette copy of it. (Yes, I still have them. And one day I will transfer them to digital). I have to say as whole this album holds up. And Hidden Gems are on the B-side. I am not going to explain this to anyone under 30. It would be like this video that makes you hate the children of today. And DAMMIT I do not want to be that old guy in the future yelling at kids to get “Off the Lawn!” I can still see the memory of the Old Man across the street that from April to September set out his lawn chair at 2:30/3:00 every day just to yell at kids coming home from school who might inadvertently set half a footstep on his lawn. I also remember he had THREE heart attacks one summer pushing his lawn mower. Some people just do not understand the significance of a “Clue”. That would come with the FOURTH heart attack that year while he was on the roof of his patio that took him for a “roll” and gravity did the rest. He did survive though, to never do yard work again in his life.

Here are the other songs featured on the album.

The first, the mandatory Power Ballad required on most albums at the time. However, it kind works out the “angst”.

The second could have worked well as a song in 80’s action movie. Possibly.

Finally, I know Heavy Metal takes a lot of criticism for being filled with angst.

Well, they do not have that “market” cornered.

Frank Sinatra made it a cornerstone of his music too. “Heart Break and Longing” was found in many of his songs too.

The Tune may change over time. But when you down to the “essence” there really isn’t “anything new under the sun”.

Posted in General thoughts, Listening To, Music | Leave a comment

Finding Joe

There may be a point in which information is too accessible. I am not calling for censorship or regulation.

It is very easy to get to with a few mouse clicks and keystrokes to get it. I remember when having to research for a term paper that it was actual physical exercise. It was a trip to the library and then walking up and down aisles to find the books. If you could even find the books at all. There was no overnight shipping for them.

Today, no one remembers the cardio work out of just picking up A volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica. My parents had a set from 1979 in the house and it was outdated from there. My parents were never going to pay the money to update them on a yearly basis. And there was not computer in the house but I did have a Commodore 64 to play some games on. Printers were too expensive so what was the point of typing a report on one. How about the other cardio / carpal tunnel exercise of actually writing in long hand. Followed by the scent of White Out to fix written typo areas. Term papers were a Dread. Especially when the sadistic teacher said it had to be 15 pages. And include pictures. So then my papers were based on what I could find in the basement collection of old National Geographic issues. I am curious to the statistical knowledge of how much of my time of my youth could have been saved by the “Click and Paste” function.

The Internet was only getting started when I left college. Also the cost of owning a home computer was not yet feasible. So you had to sign up for time to use the one at college. It meant most of time it was a very early morning or very late night to get to use one. You had to pay for college in order to access those “tools” for acquiring information. However, today you do not need college to be that “middle man” in the quest for knowledge. If you are going into a “Creative Art” field you should consider skipping them all together. (But I might get on this point in a future posting)

You had to actually go and seek knowledge if you wanted it.

Here is example.

In 1998, I found myself at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. A picture does not always give you real context. In the entrance was (if I remember right) the Mercury Capsule. It is not as big as you think it is. How 2 men fit into that and then flew around space for a week is incredible. Just walking around seeing the actual planes people flew. It made me think that their flights relied more on “Courage and Conviction” because the technology really did not exist then as we know it today.

The other reason, I was there for the Star Wars Exhibit. They had on display the costumes, the models of the ships used, and some the concept art. There was 20 minute documentary to watch before the tour of the exhibit that gave some background information. It was about how they did not at the time the impact of what they were making.

And with the Internet the display has not been archived online. And you save the gas and parking costs of DC.

The end of all such tours has to dump you into the Gift Shop area. I am not one for such areas. I do not need souvenirs that nobody cares for anyways when you get down to it. However, there was a bookcase which will always get my attention. Star Wars : The Magic of Myth by Mary Henderson. I have always been fascinated with myths and mythology. This book broke up the story of Star Wars into story elements that exist within other tales too. It is here for the first time I would read the name of Joseph Campbell.

Joseph Campbell was famous (at this point I had never heard of him) for his research about how all the tales mankind has told since the beginning were all basically the same “arch” which he called the “Hero’s Journeyor “Follow Your Bliss”. It is almost some “Spiritual Transcendence” of the Human Condition. I had never heard such a premise before. I went to a Catholic grade school so there was one book that was ever going to be referenced on this matter. And in college, any such notion was considered to just “bullshit”.


SIDE NOTE. Here is how I am going to approach such matters. I am taking Mulder/Scully of The X-Files. The idea that the “Believer” and the “Skeptic” can work together to challenge and support each other in a quest for “A Truth”. I am not here to support or deny one side over the other. Or even make any recommendations for one. I am just saying that “Mythology” and “Science” are not necessarily “Mutually Exclusive” from each other.

It would be another year or so, before I got a copy of his book The Hero with A Thousand Faces. I finally found a copy in the Bargain Shelf at Barnes and Noble. So I could finally get to read the whole presentation of his premise. I look for it in action all the time when I am watching movies especially in sci-fi, fantasy or comic book adaptions. I also like getting in my news feed some quotes from his work.

I never really thought about the Hero’s Journey outside of literature or the movies. And then this documentary came out last year that changed how I thought about it. Here that arch is illustrated to actually being representative of our journey. It is worth the price to download.


If I had children this is THE FILM I would have them watch.

And after that give them a copy of Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl to read.

Tell them to ignore their Guidance Counselors.

Not to get over “worked up” over their possible SAT scores.

There is “Their” Journey and the travel brochure for it has yet to be written.



Posted in Human St(r)ain, Life's Experiments, Movies, Reading, Reference, This I Believe | Leave a comment

The Fault in the Stats

I have not been very productive “writing” wise the last week or so. Interruptions and frustrations. That I would rather not get into.
There is one thing I have learned over the years about writing. Using Web Stats to “gauge” my work is still (even at this point) practically useless. And yet every day I find myself pulling them up on my screen. Feedback and validation are “elusive”.

I know something is out there going on and yet the stats are not showing it.

So I went looking for a metaphor to use as example. Something to illustrate that “Don’t You See It!” Frustration we all experience.

This all might sound a bit “Extreme”.

So Cue…..The Shatner

Posted in Brain Fried, Just a Thought, Life's Experiments, The Mind Wanders, Web Site Postings | Leave a comment