Remember Me?

hi-you-may-remember-me-from-the-alphabetStill here. Still alive. Paid my money to be here another year – even slapped down the extra gelt to remove the ads from the bottom of each post (you’re welcome). If that’s not a statement that I intend to be in this space for the foreseeable, I don’t know what is.

December was remarkably quiet. In the acting end of my life, it’s usually full of holiday parties. Not 2016, though. Then, surprisingly, January opened full throttle; I think we had more shows in the first two weeks of January than we had in the entire month of December. Some believe this is because people figured out the world wasn’t actually going to end (immediately) and were relaxing. They pointed to the Stock Market, among other things.

It seemed to me that this is more like the parties held the night before the final battle in Seven Samurai and Magnificent Seven, but what do I know? I’m just an American citizen of no celebrity, with no stock portfolio, and therefore no worth.

The other side of my employment situation cranked up, too: extra City Meetings, some previously scheduled, some not. This week starts my weekly stories. At some point this semester I am going to have to pretend once more that I don’t despise sports.

In all this, I actually have been working on a post, which is only two-thirds finished and about 1500 words. I hope to have that up in the next few days, but don’t lay any money on that, ‘kay? Stay tuned. Like I said, another year. Which is, oddly enough, the length of time I expect my current health insurance to exist.

Yeah, I’m just a bowl of happy candy today, ain’t I?

 

The Son of Bad Movie Report

It feels so much better to be typing on a full keyboard again. That tiny Anker bluetooth keyboard I use with the iPad mini on the road is nice to have in a pinch – but it’s surprisingly slow, even given my middling typing speed. I’m happier using it to edit a post already largely written, not creating from scratch. So now that I’m back in my comfort zone in many ways, let’s see if I can recall what I meant to write about but didn’t in my post-lengthy-drive haze.

The first thing will be best prefaced by what happened after my return, namely this tweet:

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Yeah, this is the sort of insipid crap I put up on my Twitter, and probably the reason I will never have a Patreon. This was followed by the equally risible

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Mort knows better, of course, but this is how Internet rumors get started, so I’d better quash this before I find myself in some sort of faux Joan/Christina kerfuffle. Of course he knows about Forever Evil. He grew up in a house with a framed movie poster in his living room. He’s just never seen it, probably at his mother’s insistence more than mine. I think she was trying to cover his eyes during the scary parts of movies up into his teens.

But he’s 18 now, and can watch whatever he wants. To his credit, he asked to watch The Seven Samurai before heading out to college last summer. But then, while he was home this Christmas, he let slip that this existed. And Ol’ Dad still knows a thing or two about finding stuff on the Interwebs:

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Truthfully, I would expect no less from my son. Except that right after the slip, he mentioned “Some Mexican movie with a werewolf” and I asked if it starred Lon Chaney Jr. and he replied “I don’t really know actors” and I disowned him. Also, he seems to be unattracted to kung fu movies, so there is obviously no relation to me whatsoever.

Well, I couldn’t let this guy claiming to be my son go back to college with just his Christmas swag (which was considerable), so I burned him a copy of The Star Wars Holiday Special to inflict on his friends. Then I realized I had been given a ton of blank DVDs in spite of the fact that I don’t use them a heck of a lot anymore, and a lot of burning of horrific stuff in my collection ensued. I felt this was a necessary thing for the son of the guy who used to write The Bad Movie Report. So I had apparently forgiven him his transgressions by that point.

The only thing he specifically asked for was Theodore Rex – for which I will eternally blame Chris Holland. Max used to be able to use YouTube to torment people with it, but benevolent powers the forces of evil scrubbed it from there and practically everywhere else on the Interwebs. But as I said, Dad is pretty good at finding stuff. In case you’ve been lucky enough to miss the most expensive movie ever to be released straight to video:

That was the point at which things started getting crazy, because I realized the kid only thinks he’s seen bad. So Science Crazed and Things went into the box, as did our new pal The Rider of the Skulls. There was a whole substratum of bad kiddie movies he had not experienced – Red Riding Hood and the Monsters, the New Orleans Worst Film Festival “favorite”, Seven Dwarfs to the Rescue (which Krull totally ripped off, in my estimation) (well, except for this scene:)

And I found a copy of Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny at archive.org, God help us all. That’s like finding a rusty nail-festooned ball of plutonium nestled among dog-eared copies of Architecture Today. I had been asked if I was doing the RiffTrax version of it and The Holiday Special, but no. 2016 had made me hard. If these kids are ever going to survive, they have to learn to build their own riffs, like me and mine used to do back in the day, begorrah.

And yes, I also made sure he had his own copy of Forever Evil, making sure it also had the audio commentary made by myself and director Roger Evans. I did this in the spirit of hoping he learns from my mistakes, and does not try to duplicate them.

I’ve tried to continue past that last sentence, but the result is lacking; it seems a perfect sentiment to end upon. A hopeful thought for this New Year, despite all my suspicions to the contrary. Happy New Year to all, and be excellent to each other.

And please God, let those movies be the worst thing that happens to my boy this year.

Goodbye, You Damned Year

So here I am, sedentary as a rock – in fact, I generally ask rocks “What’s the hurry?” – yet here I am, in a motel room on New Year’s Eve, several hundred miles away from home. There should now be a record scratch and a freeze frame so I can say “I guess you’re wondering how I got here.”

It’s remarkably boring. 2016’s last Ahabian spitting from the heart of Hell, as many if you know, was the placement of its last two major holidays on weekends. His classes start again on Monday the 2nd. (I, also, return to work on Monday) It’s not actually cheaper to drive him up here, but it means Mom gets to hold onto him for another 24 hours.

This is an interesting change of pace (or place). It was perhaps five years ago or so that my theater group stopped doing New Years show, so I’m accustomed to having my cheap champagne at home, kissing my wife, and walking outside to watch the illegal fireworks in my neighborhood. I am, at least with my family. The cheap champagne is in the small fridge next to this desk. I have no idea what I’ll do for illegal fireworks. I am a stranger in a strange land.

An appropriately unsettling ending to an unsettling year, I suppose. Yes, I am aware that years are not sentient, and 2016 was not deliberately seeking out and murdering people who had been an inspiration and comfort to me across my life, and fuck you for interrupting my mourning with that bit of news.

That was bad enough. Then enough of my fellow citizens decided I wasn’t disappointed in them enough, enough to give an unqualified con man and profiteer an Electoral College victory.

I am really tired of living in interesting times.

So.  Besides putting on a beret and joining the American Resistance, or wondering if the next Tweet is going to cause World War III, I need to make some plans for the next year that assume just a bit of normalcy.

Hope.  Is.  Important.

So. I get a bit of fan mail during the annual Hubrisween event (and some new followers). Some hope for the return of The Bad Movie Report. By this I assume I should cover more marginal movies here. Maybe?

This is at odds with the other task I set myself in 2017, which is to watch all the Tarkovsky films I’ve not yet seen.

Well, it’s going to be a long year – very long, by all indications- I’m sure there’ll be room for everybody.

So enough to tapping away at this tiny, unresponsive keyboard tethered to an iPad Mini (I am so 2009). Have a safe, Happy New Year. And I sincerely pray for the Safe and Happy parts.

Well Now

Well wellWarning, as Neil Gaiman says: contains me.

This has been probably the most profound bout of jet black depression I’ve experienced since my checkered career as a college student. That new prescription for an anti-depressant was very well-timed, it seems, because this time I was actually able to get out of bed and force myself to, you know, do things. Well, some things, anyway.

I stayed off social media for a week. Then started dipping my toe in. The first day I made it five minutes before I had to turn off that particular faucet of despair. That period has gotten a little longer every day. I’m almost up to an hour now, and the flavor runs more toward anger, and then I have to turn off the faucet again.

I live and work in one of the counties that actually turned Texas blue for a few minutes, and I’ve found the best thing has been to be out among people, which is exactly the polar opposite of those dark college days. Well, perhaps not that opposite, but these days I’m a whole lot better equipped to consider that as an option. We’re all being pretty nice to each other. A succession of four people on the campus going through a door, each holding it open for the person behind them, and each thanking the person for doing so was a balm for a very bruised soul, far beyond such a seemingly simple act.

It made it feel a bit less like living in enemy territory.

No, it’s when you’re alone that things get bad, which is a hell of a thing when you’ve been cultivating a reputation as a solitary person for most of your life. I watched a movie last night for the first time in those two weeks, and maybe that will finally shake loose the article I’ve been trying to write for the same period, which has gotten no further than the first line I stare at for far too long. A first line which sounds increasingly like a suicide note, the more chronal distance I put between myself and its writing.

So obviously the first thing to do is delete that line. Delete it forever.

I haven’t entirely been ignoring the blog. I spent a significant portion of those two weeks repairing five years worth of dead YouTube links. I’ll be bold and say, you’re welcome! and even pretend that someone besides me has any interest in what I said years ago. Maybe the links will last more than a week this time. (Of course, one of the side-effects of that little exercise was getting heartily sick of the sound of my own voice, as it were)

So take heart; I’m certainly trying to.

Next time, let’s talk about some movies.

 

Life Changes and Emotional Miscues

Something we’re all aware of, no matter how disconnected you are from the Webosphere or the current electoral freakshow: Gene Wilder passed away last Sunday. That is a terrible, terrible loss, but as it came out, he had suffered from Alzheimer’s the last three years, so, sad as you are, you can say, “Well, at least his struggle is over,” and mean it.

Like a lot of people, my first reaction was, “Aw, he’s reunited with Gilda.” Then I read the family’s statement about his passing, and found out he was happily married for 25 years to a lady named Karen Boyer. A lady who stayed by his side all through those declining three years. I was surprised, but then, I don’t obsessively follow the lives of artists I enjoy, and Wilder was a quiet man, unshowy outside of his performances.

So I felt somewhat bad about defaulting to a memory of a relationship decades old – I felt bad for diminishing Karen’s role in his life, however unintentionally. The “reuniting with Gilda” feeling was so strong and widespread, though, I felt even worse every time it cropped up. I didn’t want to correct those folks – we all mourn in our own way, and it’s a real asshole who tells people they’re not mourning the right way. There have been more and more posts gently pointing out Karen’s importance in Wilder’s life, which is good.

My amended romantic fantasy is that Gene was greeted at the Pearly Gates by Gilda – and Marty, and Madeline and Zero, with a tray of cocktails, and they spent some time catching up before going off to join the most insanely hilarious comedy troupe in all eternity.

That momentary emotional confusion – that my perception of reality was not so clean-cut as I had presumed – is a piece with the rest of my life right now. Three weeks ago I moved my only son into his college dorm, which was an experience even more emotional than you might suppose. I was surprised that there were two days of activities and meeting following that, but I soon found it was a well-practiced process to wean parents and child away from each other. Sure enough, weepy as his parents were, The Boy was ready for us to leave, as he had more activities to get to, and a fair number of new friends.

I always said that when my wife and son went on trips without me, work expanded to fill the void, and that has been truer than ever in the beginning of this empty nest phase of my life. My wife is laboring long hours to get her school ready for the new year, and I have had no lack of City Meetings and Events Which Need To Be Documented. It took two weeks for the two of us to have time to go out for dinner, just the two of us, to mark this new beginning.

None of this addresses the strange malaise that has gripped me. I’ve had the occasional night off, and time was those would be spent watching movies, and eventually I would wind up here talking about them. This hasn’t happened lately. I’m reading a fascinating book (which you will hear about soon), and I’ve been exploring a bewildering variety of solitaire games, but I only recently forced myself to start watching movies again, mainly for the upcoming Halloween marathon.

That was a lamentable way to try to kickstart an old habit, and I was punished in short order when I tried to watch the movie I wanted to write about this week, Elem Klimov’s Agoniya, only to find that my bootleg disc wouldn’t play.  I dug out my old DVD player, a robust monster I had repaired by hand several times, and now I may finally get to see it.

But I took the liberty of radio silence last week, and didn’t want to let another week go without some sign of my existence. I had tried to write about this last week, and it turned very maudlin; I hadn’t expected that, because I don’t feel maudlin. Life is different now, but not excessively so. I buy fewer groceries each week, cook smaller portions. I’m the one taking out the trash again. This isn’t a life change so much as a life adjustment.

Next week, perhaps, the adjustment will be over. We’ll have all settled in, and routine will return. I am not a terribly adventurous person, in that respect. I prefer the safety of excitement presented to me on the screen or the page, and the sooner I return to that, the better.

I Have a Doctor’s Excuse

This has been a couple of weeks of medical problems, family and otherwise, and the attendant throttling upwards of demand on my time. Something had to give, and for once, it was my body in second place.  Plans had to be scuttled to accommodate doctor visits, testing, fighting with insurance companies, and filling in for other people on my day job (while still keeping my hours under 19 1/2 a week, because God forbid they should actually have to give me any benefits). (Please note I actually do like my job, and my status is not the fault of anyone I actually work with)

Anyway.

There’s a couple of reviews I have on the spike that I was saving. So I’ll pop one of those up later in the week so we can all pretend that life is normal. I’m only able to dash this off because it’s going to take 20 minutes to transfer this weekend’s footage from the memory cards to my computer for editing.

Last night I received the latest newsletter from one of my favorite writers, Warren Ellis, which was composed pretty much of one graphic:

unnamedThis provoked a rueful, knowing laugh from me (which was quite welcome, as we were in the second hour of trying to have a celebratory birthday dinner for my wife). Hopefully he does not mind my appropriating it, and will not harvest my organs in the night for black rituals or fringe science, or an unholy combination of both. If you have not yet heard the Word of Warren Ellis, click on either of those links. Your brain will thank you.

Perhaps we’ll talk about what’s been going on one day. Probably not – none of it is life-threatening, and is only of interest if you’re in the thick of it, like me.

Anyway, see you later, and be excellent to one another.

Light at the End

So it looks like I blew my 500th post last time by telling y’all I wasn’t going to be around much this month. So much for arbitrary milestones, que sera sera. I think – maybe – the worst is past now. Possibly.

6623950883_e01f3719c5_zAs I write this, rains from the remnants of Hurricane Odile are hammering Texas, and I keep expecting the lights or Internet to go out. We have it a bit easier in the Houston area than further into the interior, but it’s serious enough that a whole bunch of scheduled things are now questionable. It would probably be best if I stayed home tonight and got some work done, but I really need to go to the opening night of a show my wife has been working on for the past month.

By and large, though, it seems that my days of being triple-booked are over for the moment, which is good; yesterday put me back on the cane for a while (and the weather ain’t helpin’ my rheumatiz, by jingo!). I am behind in my writing – oh, when am I not? – and I look forward to Sunday, when, gloriously absolutely nothing is scheduled. Well, I’ll need to buy groceries, but that’s at my leisure.

I did do something novel last Sunday – I read for a small part in a indie movie being filmed here. I haven’t heard anything yet, but there are three days in October I am currently keeping open. More bulletins as they occur, but I’m pretty sanguine about this. Like my wife’s show – which I read for, but was not cast – if I get it, fine, it’s something new and different in my life. If not… well, it would have complicated things anyway, right? Of course, when you measure three days of shooting against a month of rehearsal and then another month (at least) of performances, you are talking vastly different levels of complexity.

I still have two more City meetings to run sound for in the next two weeks, then we’re into the new fiscal year and I’ll be back to my regular work load there. So I’m not saying I’m back here with any confidence, mind you, but things are looking a bit better in that respect.

Now I’m going to go see if I’m flooded in.