Saturday, May 10, 2014


I rarely feel the need to explain why I went to a movie, but in this case, I do.  Neighbors is the lead film in what should be a prime summertime movie weekend, and it is no summertime movie:  no real action, very few explosions, no superheros, no aliens, no ludicrous car chases, none of what one seeks in a summer blockbuster.  The trailer made it look dumb, which of course it is.  

But.  Rottentomatoes had its critics rating at 74% and its audience rating at 80%.  Scott and I were both in the mood for something that would make us laugh.  On a hot day, a matinee seemed like a nice treat. 

So we went. 

I definitely laughed a lot, sometimes because the movie was genuinely funny, other times because it was uncomfortably and occasionally unintentionally humorous.  The plot was basically what the trailers had led us to expect, but at least some of the small turns weren't what we anticipated, which was nice.  The four leads--Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, and Dave Efron, who had a supporting role but did well enough with it that he felt like a lead--turned in reasonable performances and clearly tried to take their characters seriously.  Many, many people in small roles delivered strong performances.  All in all, the filmmakers executed their mission quite well. 

What made me have mixed feelings was a fundamental problem with the story:  I couldn't quite like anyone in it.  That lack of affection led to an even more damaging issue:  I almost never felt sympathetic to anyone in the movie.

So, if you're looking for some cheap and easy laughs, Neighbors will deliver.  If you want anything more, though, give it a pass.

Friday, May 9, 2014

"I got some groceries, some peanut butter,

to last a couple of days"

It's been that kind of day, a day when this Talking Heads song was exactly the right thing.

I played it today before a meeting of a large set of folks in our company.  Yeah, I got a few odd looks--but we also had more than a few heads bobbing to the beat. 

I can live with that.

By the way, if you haven't seen Stop Making Sense, the movie from which this clip comes, do yourself a favor and check it out.  It's one of the all-time great concert films.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Scott is 21 today

That fact amazes me.  It shouldn't, of course; I've been with him for all of his birthdays, and this one had to come.  Even so, that Scott is now a legal adult in every sense is somehow a bit of a mystery, as if it was an event that had caught me unawares instead of a perfectly natural development.  I love him so much, have loved him so much since the moment he was born, that it's sometimes odd to realize that my little boy has become the grown man in front of me.

Most of the time, of course, I don't have this reaction.  I know he's an adult.  I've watched with great pride and love as he's grown and matured.  This landmark birthday somehow triggered that sense of amazement. 

Tonight, we celebrated his birthday in classic Scott fashion:  a very tasty dinner at The Meat Palace (aka Brasa), followed by time at home for presents, and then one of his favorite desserts, cheesecake.  Of course, being our family, we didn't have a cheesecake; oh, no, that would be too restrained.  We had four different cheesecakes from Junior's, which is for my money the maker of the very best cheesecakes you can order. 

After everyone left, we played a little pool together, our usual best-of-five tournament.  Smack talk and laughter and jokes about our poor shooting filled the air. 

I cannot express how much I treasure those short times together.  As a boy, I yearned to have times doing things with a father.  As a father, I absolutely love it when I get to do things with my son. 

I am the luckiest father in the world to have Scott as my son.  I know I embarrass him sometimes, almost certainly when I hug him in front of others, kiss him on the cheek, and tell him I love him--but I'm not going to stop.  I never want him to doubt for a nanosecond how much I love him and am proud of him, and I intend to keep telling him for as long as I can breathe.

I love you, Scott.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fitz and the Tantrums are playing in Raleigh

next week, and I have tickets.  Unfortunately, I will also be in Austin then, so I'm going to miss the show.

This is about as close as I'm going to come to seeing them on this tour.  

Sometimes, work happens.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

This one hit me just right

Heard it on an episode of Sons of Anarchy, and the scene using it grabbed my heart.

Listened to it again, using this video, which I find so-so, and still the song wrenched my insides.

So, give it a listen, and enjoy Greg Holden's work. 

Or if you're a fan of the show, watch this edited clip from it, the one that introduced me to this song.

Sometimes, I still feel like the lost boy that the young me thought I'd always be.

Then, I remember that I've found myself, time and again, when I needed to, and music has so often been my guide.  On a late night, exhausted, I fall asleep better with that knowledge.

Monday, May 5, 2014

How a piece of art came to be mine

After eating a bit more than we should have at Le Pigeon last Thursday night, we decided walking a bit was a good plan.  Our path led us by some local shops, so we stopped into one, Redux, that offered a wide variety of strange goodies.  Redux turned out to be hosting a small showing by two local artists.  One of them, Adam Burke, was displaying primarily paintings of strange insects in settings that were at once both natural and otherworldly.

That's where it started.

I wandered the shop, looking at this and that, but I kept coming back to one of Burke's pieces, The Tower.  You can see it by going here and clicking through the samples until you come to one with a large blue tower in its center.  The piece struck me as decidedly alien, yet barely so.

The last thing I need is more art.  I have about five dozen framed pieces sitting on the floor, awaiting wall space for display and time from me to hang them.

Yet back to this one I came, time and again.

I almost exited the store, but then I came back again for a last look.

At which point, of course, I decided that though I most definitely did not need more art, I was going to buy this one.

It's not with me yet, because the show is still going on, but in June it should appear.

This sort of orbiting process is typically how I acquire art:  For reasons I rarely know, a piece speaks to me, I orbit it for a bit, and then I find myself opening my wallet.  I never worry whether I know the artist, or whether I like her/his body of work, or whether the piece will prove to be a good investment.  It talks to me, and then if it speaks clearly and loudly enough, I bring it home.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: One hot mess of a movie

I love superhero movies.  I really do.  I find it in my heart to love even bad ones at least a little.  I focus on soaring moments or bits of action and give my love to those.  So, I tried really hard to love this one, and I'm still trying, but I'm not there yet.  The best I can do is to say that I disliked it the least of any of the folks in the group that went to see it with me. 

This movie makes every type of mistake it can.  At one or more points in it, the film's creators treated us to bad plotting, bad line-by-line writing, bad acting, bad special effects, bad pretty much everything.  Each time I'd start to get into it, the movie would find a way to pull me back out. 

I honestly didn't hate it, because I so love the character and so wanted to enjoy it, and despite all its failures, I still had a decent time watching it.  I just kept wishing for it to do something, anything, really well. 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a steaming hot mess of a film, a stew of ingredients that could have worked but that ultimately never came together.  If you, like me, are a superhero film fanatic, then by all means check it out.  Otherwise, though, save your money.


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