Thursday, February 28, 2008

Movie marketing at the local Post Office

Really surprised to see this movie ad blow-up as I stopped by the local Post Office the other day. Really surprised by the Federal movie tie-in. At first wondering if it was real? Thought it could be a Post Office ad mimicing a movie poster. But no, it's a real movie poster! The postal clerks pointed out how it was blocking the emergency exit.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Needing exactly that particular thing, and oh yeah my new iPhone

For someone not that particularly materialistic, I get hooked on certain things. Like my replacement Tumi bag that ended up stolen with the car and not recovered, a mere week after I'd finally started using it, years actually, after buying it. I'd thought I was pretty smart planning ahead for that replacement day.

My old prescription sunglasses, my favorites, also lost in the stolen car adventure. John's like, "what's the big deal? We got the car back!" Yeah, but not the now irreplaceable perfect bag and those great sunglasses. It's a year and a half later and I'm still upset. I can tell S. thinks I'm nuts, going on and on about the perfect bag. But to me it's like a precision tool, not a fashion item. I just use one, all the time, for everything. It needs to be a certain weight. Needs to stay on a certain way. It's got to expand for the laptop. It's got to collapse when I'm carrying less. It's got to look ok, in any setting. It's got to be pickpocket resistant. I've got to be able to find any item within, only by feel. It needs to work on an airplane.

So on Friday evening I picked up an iPhone. I'd been thinking about it for ages. Thinking but resistant. Money's tight. Did I really need it? I'm very tied to my Palm systems - my Palm desktop with it's excellent calendar and contact software. I even print my xmas card labels from the Palm contacts. I'd grown very fond of my free little LG flip cell with it's easy keypad for one-handed texting. I'd tiptoed into the future by forwarding my email to a Yahoo address (a back up system as much as anything,) which also allowed for an easy read via the phone. But I couldn't get the return address to come from one of my steady emails. And if people replied back to Yahoo back-up, I wouldn't get it in my normal channels. And I realized too, that Verizon was charging for going online, not just in minutes, or included in the texting fee, but in addition, last month over $15.

Not to mention the insidious peer pressure which had been building. I've wanted a blackberry ever since I first saw one. But the proliferation of iPhones was truly startling. Everywhere I looked, people started pulling them out. I was OK not being like some of my friends, acquiring on the first day. But over time it's grown. In so many of my meetings, people sit down, and lay their phones on the table. It becomes a totally insidious form of peer pressure. A quick photo memo here. An email there. The signature: "sent from my iphone." After ignoring it for months, finally, with a film festival trip coming up, and memories of how heavy my laptop was that I carried around last year, I succumbed.

And spent my entire weekend utzing about it. Delighted, impressed, but freaked out too. What about my Palm Calendar and contacts? I can use the Apple software but it's not as good! It's slower and clunkier! Am I being disloyal to change? Shortsighted? Maybe I should have waited for the google phones? And what about my memos and notes? What about the ruggedness of the little LG phone, and how quickly the alarms and texting come up? On the one hand, I'm hooked, and moving ahead, at the same time I'm anxious and wondering if I should turn it back in. Would I have prefer ed a Treo (Damn you Palm for letting your excellence wither away....)

Lurching into the future. Loving being able to look info up out and about. In awe about the very design of the thing. Feeling like a jerk for following the crowd. Concerned about how long the battery will last while I'm traveling. Overwhelmed frankly with how phones have become the most popular fetish object of all time! I think I've probably mentioned this before, years ago, in the Whole Earth Catalog, there was an article about addiction - and about how the cigarette pack was as much a part of the addiction as the cigarettes. The pack was portable, palm size. Always having one was a way of staying grounded. I feel like we've all transferred that addictive need in these nonsmoking years to our phones. For me, it's not a status thing per se. It's all about usability. How's it feel, how's it work on a semi-conscious level? It's a ridiculous waste of brain power until of course, all the new systems are in place, and I no longer have to question or worry about it. When I finally get the thing that works for me - it's a great relief. And I really dig in until I'm forced to change. Some new technology "need", some insidious pressure.

Monday, February 25, 2008

My favorite moments from Oscar night 2008

Jon Stewart pulling Once's c-o songwriter and star, Marketa Irglova back onstage to give her acceptance speech. Classy, classy move!

Diablo Cody's real tears.

Frances McDormand going crazy in her seat as her husband Joel Coen and his bro so eerily and calmly accepted their Best Director and Best Picture awards.

And though I was pulling for the ever awesome Cate Blanchette for Best Supporting Actress, thoroughly enjoyed the ultra cool, very fabulous Tilda Swinton. She was even funny and smart on the red carpet with Ryan Seacrest.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Grand Central Station Time stops and art happens

Another great lead from John (via Amos Poe via this url.) I love this video! No idea how played out it is - we just discovered it today. And of course Grand Central my old stomping ground. My gateway to NYC since 1965. A kind of homebase once I started going in myself @ 1969.

For more backstory: here

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jim Hightower on Paul Wolfowitz's return: frightening

I read the newspapers so erratically these days I'd missed any reference to Paul Wolfowitz back in an essential important Dept of State advisory capacity. This column by Jim Hightower in the 2/15/08 Austin Chronicle is terrifying.


On a wintry night, in the pale light of the moon, the Wolf emerges to howl again.

Yes, Paul "Howling" Wolfowitz is back in government! The neocon political hack who was a top architect of George W.'s Iraq debacle, is being brought out of the shadows to chair a prestigious Department of State committee that advises the secretary on such matters as weapons of mass destruction.

You might recall that when Howling Paul was Bush's undersecretary of defense, he was vociferous in insisting Big Bad Saddam Hussein had WMD and had to be taken out before he dropped one right here in America. "Disarming Iraq," Wolfowitz solemnly declared just before Bush's invasion and occupation, "is a crucial part of winning the war on terror."

As Americans have learned the hard way, Paul, George, Dick, Rummy, Condi, and others were duping us. Saddam had neither WMD nor any connection to the al Qaeda terrorists we should have been fighting. Incompetent ideologues like Wolfowitz led our country into a disastrous war that has strengthened al Qaeda and weakened the U.S. As one leading nuclear-policy expert says, "The advice given by Paul Wolfowitz over the past six years ranks among the worst provided by any defense official in history. I have no idea why anyone would want more."

Yet, here he comes, newly appointed to head the 18-member International Security Advisory Board. There, he'll have access to highly classified material and leeway to affect our national policy on such explosive matters as Iran and Pakistan. A State Department official says simply, "We think he is well-suited."

Well-suited to do what – lie? A new report documents 935 false statements that Bush & Company made to justify their invasion of Iraq. Eighty-five of those were by Wolfowitz – even more falsehoods than Dick Cheney put out. Let's see, George W. ... Horse Thief. Works for me.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Siskel and Ebert warming up before the actual taping

This is probably an oldie but still a goodie. It had John and I laughing our heads off this morning. A distraught young budding critic friend had forwarded it. He was distraught because he'd always thought Siskel and Ebert had a great rapport because they were great friends. Well our generation knew better - but what's so hilarious about this video is both the antagonism and the yes, great rapport. Highly enjoyable.

The night before Valentine's Day

Missed blogging on Valentine's Day. Just busy and not feeling well. Not that same cold and strep that's been going around. Maybe hormones, maybe anything, who knows what? Weird and odd. Can't remember a time when so many people were so sick. But I don't think this has any relation to that. Think it's more something odd and personal to me.

But back to Valentine's Day. I'd pretty much forgotten about the whole thing until I was on my way home @ 10pm on Wednesday night pre-Vday and remembered to stop in at the local 24 hour Walgreens for some cards. Wyatt reached me just as I walked inside looking for some art supplies. I arrived home to find a pizza delivery car outside, a nice hot pizza inside on the table, and Wyatt ready to hand-make a card for his girlfriend of many months. A little later two of his pals show up. One with ingredients for gluten free cookies for his girlfriend (peanut butter, sugar, eggs, choc chips, + pecans.) For the next several hours, these sweet good looking high-school seniors diligently sit at the table constructing cards. I've pulled out boxes of old glitter, rubber stamps, metallic hearts, ribbon, pieces of wrapping paper. Wyatt says, "Mom, I know what you should do -- teach art to elementary school kids. You'd love that! You can just have them make stuff out of anything!"

The boys work super hard and carefully. Wyatt's is crazy! Globs of glitter and scribbles and three dimensionality. Tim's is extremely precise, with a printed color photo at the center and subtle elegant design. Will's is somewhere in the middle. I can't remember when I've had as much fun just hanging around the edges of these teen-age boys. "When I was in H.S. I never had a boyfriend on Valentine's Day..." "Mom, we don't care!!!" "Oh yes, we do" the other two politely reply. I wasn't going to bore them with any ridiculous details - like my one H.S. V-day memory of going to see Straw Dogs at the movies for a one-time date with Joey Acompora -- that's the kind of girl I was. Straw Dogs!! I was just marveling at the strange species in front of me. I don't think I knew H.S. boys like this! Certainly wasn't their beneficiary. And I know it's no comfort to all my 30ish-plus year-old girlfriends who are looking for the good guys. But it's still nice to know that good guys do exist in some generation. Boys, like my son, who've bought flowers, and a gigantic stuffed animal almost as big as the petite girlfriend herself, and still put their all into a handmade card with a personal note on the back. (No, I didn't get to read.) Totally heart warming and delightful.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

As they sing on tv, the tears fall

Sitting here happily watching the Grammy's with John - like we've done a hundred times before. (OK, not a 100, 26 times but that's besides the point.) Just hanging, enjoying this commercial tv awards show, thinking Alicia Keys looks great in that dress even though it looks like it's hard for her to move, digging Prince as always, getting a kick out of The Time and Rihanna, then that amazing kid starts singing "Let It Be" and crazily, I start to cry. It's this crazy knee jerk reaction I get every single time I hear singing on television. I actually physically cry. I can't stop. And it always surprises me. I'm not much of a crier in most of my life. But there's something about singing and TV that strikes so deep. John and I laugh about it as I'm try to talk, trying to ignore it, but knowing it's inevitable. I just wonder why? Because I sang as a kid? Because singing is beyond words and intellect? It happens with kids' live too - like at school concerts. So I acknowledge it finally like I always do, laughing while I'm crying, noting how it's getting even more intense as my hormonal changes intensify.

Uh, oh Aretha's coming on. Kleenex!

Damn and what about that Beyonce! She's the whole package....

Ah Friday Night Lights- what a great show, will it come back?

Friday Night Lights has been appointment viewing for us since it started. And not just because we live in Austin and our daughter works on the show. It's just a great show. The writing and acting are fantastic. It's completely satisfying entertainment. For those of you not paying attention -the last episode shot because of the writer's strike aired this past Friday. Now the question is will the show ever return to finish out it's season or come back for a third? Speculation is because the show never gained enough viewers, that no, it won't be back. I was just starting to be resigned, to grieve, when I read Matt Dentler's blog which highlighted some of the more commercial media attempts to save the show. Check it out and join in!

Friday Night Lights">LIGHTS ON: Send Light Bulbs To NBC To Save Friday Night Lights

fridaynighlightbulb_2.jpgThe Official Motto of the Dillon Panthers Booster Club is Keep The Lights On, and what better way to get that point across to NBC than by taking a moment to send them a light bulb as a reminder that it’s a “good idea” to keep great shows on their network. NBC-Universal is owned by General Electric anyway, so these light bulbs will also be like little bribes, putting our whole campaign in a more financial context these studio types will be able to better understand. Light bulbs are cheap, easy to come by, and if they break during shipping, the shattered glass might even seem vaguely threatening when NBC opens the package. Sort of like, “You try to take away our Panthers, and we might just cut you.” So grab a bulb, write “Lights On” on the side of it, and send it to NBC honcho Ben Silverman at:

Ben Silverman
c/o NBC Studios
3000 W. Alameda Ave.
Burbank, CA. 91523

Best Week Ever

E online's approach

And if you haven't kept up or missed an episode - check out the full episode streaming here:

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Carnaval Austin: some memories and pics from 2006 and a great link

By accident a couple of years ago I went to Carnaval Austin. I'm very partial to Brazilian music and I'd read somewhere it was a great party . The party part I didn't really care about but it seemed easy enough - a friend and his girlfriend were happy to take me along. I was caught off guard when they broke up a few days before, but I couldn't back out. The guy insisted I had to do some kind of costuming - which is SO not my natural inclination. Even as a little girl I was a failure at Halloween - dressing several years in a row in a crumby one piece bathing suit wearing a Miss America sash, or years later alternating between beatnik or gypsy (neither very far off my normal clothing choices.)

So I dragged myself down to Lucy in Disguise which, even though I really hate to costume, is nonetheless one of my favorite stores in Austin. Just for the color organization alone! And on the day of Carnavale there are wild throngs getting ready. I opted for a blue feather wig. Later, I begged a harlegquin eye mask off someone at our pre-party -which somehow pulled it more together just the littlest bit.

The party was a complete eye-opener! I'd had no idea what to expect, but I certainly wasn't expecting to see so many in various forms of undress. Pasties and body paint. It was hilarious to consider the couples who'd clearly spent hours getting ready to appear in so little - was this a form of extended foreplay? To hear a room of people murmur, "Damn you look hot!" For the short time I stayed, the temperament in the room was infectious. Funny, safe, benign, people out to just see and be seen against the backdrop of Brazilian drums.

(Look at these girls - you think the psychology is, "I'm 20, I'm fabulous, let's let everyone feast their eyes!" I've never had the instinct one day in my life, ever.)

Trolling around for images from last night's affair (my daughter went for the first time and I was hoping to catch a look at her minimal costume) I came across this : Dana's Carnaval fan site which is a gas! Look at her in her costumes! Then look at her in her normal wear! Ah gee!! I repeat, I never, ever, ever costume myself, but you gotta love this.

From Dana's intro:

I like makeup and dancing and wigs and glitter and high heels and cowboy boots and tight pants and corsets and nail polish and push-up bras and so many other "girly" things. Fortunately, so do many of my girlfriends (and a few boyfriends!) so I have plenty of times to air out my drag queen alter ego. I think between J9, Sondra and me, we have over 40 wigs. I actually plan a wig index someday so you can see all the fabulous wigs we own. I'm a big proponent of "wig night" for girls across the world. Grab your best friends, find wigs and GO OUT, even if it's only for a drink or to dinner. Wigs are wonderful. FALSE EYELASHES are wonderful.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Stephen Moser on making the best use of the time he has

I really appreciated Stephen Moser's After a Fashion column in the Austin Chronicle this week. At first I was going to write "I was moved..." but then I realized it wasn't "moved" so much - (though I was). "Moved" as a word is more of a knee jerk reaction word people use when it comes to thoughts about dying. But this is about living life with gusto while dying. Which we all should be doing everyday anyway. I really appreciate his writing about this publicly. I appreciate the candor and the humour. And I really appreciate the decision to live full tilt as long as he can, rather than live defined by the medical sick system. Not happy about any of it, not happy he drew the short straw - but happy he's generously giving/sharing his writing all the way through it.

.....And what exactly will all this accomplish? Oh, yes, it will extend my life. "Buy time," as they say. But to what end? It's a complicated matter for me, much more complicated than the simple question of whether I want to live or die. I am going to die from this cancer one way or the other, sooner or later. There is no estimation of how long I can expect to be around if I choose to undergo the treatments and "live." And what would living be like?....

Read it.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Texas, y'all

New Yorkers: feast your eyes!

Don't Go Where I Can't Follow by Anders Nilsen

I followed Austin Kleon's recommendation and bought a copy of Don't Go Where I Can't Follow by Anders Nilsen (with Cheryl Weaver.)  Not from Amazon, it wasn't available there.  Instead it was from Drawn & Quarterly.  From Canada it turns out. As I open the wrapper I see scribbled in ball point pen on the shipping cardboard, 


And I'm already delighted.  It's a slight book.  An artist's book.  Beautifully designed.  It's highly edited, a kind of minimal scrapbook with different media.  A hand written letter on spiral notebook pages, some postcards, original cartoons,  color photographs (of the town near where my sister used to live in France, that I never got to visit...She'd originally ID it by mentioning the famous comic book convention there annually.  She thought it would be the kind of event I would know about.), black and white photos, more drawings and handwritten notes, more cartooning.  It's a delightful immersion that ends in heartbreak.  But I knew that going in.  I knew there was no happy ending.  I just didn't know how much I'd enjoy the experience.  That is, if you can enjoy yourself while you're crying for someone else.   Which, yes, often seems to be the case for me.

Just the other night I attended a reading at Book People for a similar story - yet this time a rocker critic and his writer rocker critic girlfriend.  Instead of cartoons, his unifying device was mix tapes.  Romantic.  Charming.  There were many satisfied fans already in the audience.  I'm a sucker for the concept but something in the reading kept me away and distant.  But it's interesting to think of these heartbroken men memoralizing their too short loves.  There's a little cottage industry.  It reminds me how much I loved Matthew Geller's Difficulty Swallowing back in 1981.  Same kind of story.  Same artful hand.


John says, "Go on your walk before it gets dark."  But I prefer it then.  Dusk is my favorite time.