Sunday, March 15, 2009

This post is pretty much going to end whenever Leaguer Nathan shows up at my door. Nathan comes into town every year for SXSW and stays at my house while he attends the film portion of the conference. Its after 10:00, and once again, I'm pretty tired. For some reason the time change this spring really, really jacked me up. That was true last year, too, actually. And it makes me sort of afraid to do any serious intercontinental business travel, lest I walk around like a zombie for a week afterward.

I also have a nexus of physical symptoms that all feel relatively the same to me of tired/ nauseous/ headache. I often cannot tell one from the other, because when I have one, I usually have one of the others. Or else I can tell its coming.

Last night we watched "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", which RHPT had recommended a long time ago. And, hey, it was pretty darn good. The Apatow school of romantic comedy has finally found a way to step outside the hideously formulaic world of junk like "Two Weeks Notice" and give me junk like "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" that at least isn't utterly, painfully adorable and predictable. And often finds its humor in the painful trainwreck of real life rather than in "ha ha ha... Sandra Bullock fell down".

Oddly, it did manage to stir up a weird set of memories as I broke up with my first real girlfriend on the same day I took her to see "Dracula: The Musical" at the Alley in Houston. And, no, I did not react much better than the lead in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", but then lump in the sort of emotional reaction you'd expect out of a 17 year old.

Yeah. I was awesome. I am just really, really proud of that time in my life. (Give self slow clap).

Anyhoo, I don't know that its ever really necessary to see these sorts of movies on the big screen, which is an odd position to put the movies in. I don't think I'm missing a whole lot by watching the movie DVR'd from cable.

And while we were watching the movie, btw, Nielsen called and asked me to do a survey. Upon completion of the survey, I will receive $15.

At last, my opinion is worth something. And it is worth roughly what I'd make working at Chick-Fil-A.

Today we didn't do much but tidy. Between Jamie and myself, we aren't the best housekeepers, and in addition to our cement floors, we probably should have added a drain in the middle of the floor so we could just hose everything down once a fortnight.

Cleaning usually means I disappear into my office for about three or four hours where I basically play with action figures under the auspices of "straightening up". I'll download some podcasts. Stuff like that. But I think I'm more or less moving away from action figures as a collectible. My JLU stuff is finding its way into boxes, which means in 6-12 months, I'll be looking to unload it on some poor, unsuspecting kid.

This is why I wish I had a niece of nephew who was into this stuff. If I could put it in the hands of some kid I knew would appreciate it, it would be no big deal to let it go. But just handing it over to Goodwill in a box makes me think some kid is going to melt my precious, precious Kilowog figure with a magnifying glass on the first sunny day.

This week is Spring break at UT, which should be interesting as that means my fellow employees will probably scatter to the four winds. We've also hired this guy from Mexico who I was informed I need to help find a place to live. Which... ok...? But now some poor jerk is going to have to depend on what I think about Austin neighborhoods, and Lord knows that's not fair. I'm suggesting we find something in Hyde Park on a bus route. Yes, it will be expensive, but it will also be super convenient for him as he's arriving without a car.

I think I am going to try to duck out of the Waco trip I had planned for Wednesday.

Jason's birthday is on Tuesday, so everyone should begin planning their big birthday wishes for my brother now. After much consideration, I know exactly what present I would like to get him. Something he can really use, you know?

SXSW has returned, which means that unless you can afford a wristband, you might as well not bother going anywhere near town for a week. Or any restaurant of note within 5 miles of town. JimD keeps trying to get me to go to a Pop Candy meetup, but I confess I completely do not see the attraction in going to some place I'd never normally go, to meet people I'd never normally talk to, where our only common bond is that we all read the same USA Today columnist. Especially a pop culture columnist that pretty much just points out stuff you might want to watch/ buy/ and/ or listen to.

Leaguers will note that I get a bit grumpy about SXSW. There are a few reasons.

1) SXSW pretty much stakes out Austin every year for a week. People come into town, stay in a hotel, go to clubs that locals can't get into that week, and then talk about how great Austin is. Which is sort of like visiting EPCOT and using that to form your opinion of living in Orlando. It's also made it impossible to go out and celebrate Jason's birthday in town every year since he came back for law school.

2) Its tough to get excited about a festival in which you have no professional reason to participate. And yet every year everyone asks (including locals) are you going to SXSW? The answer is: no. I can't afford the wristband and I sort of trust that if any of these movies/ bands/ etc... are any good, we'll hear about them later when it will cost me $8 to see them.

3) I find Austin's ankle-grabbing for SXSW terribly embarrassing. In college, in particular, friends would give up their entire spring break to volunteer, and their big reward would be "I got to see Horatio Sanz walk by" or some such. Its a grim reminder of the lengths we'll go to hoping that a little of that Hollywood magic will rub off on us. I'm well out of school and I still hear colleagues mention that they're stage managing places for a week for no pay while the SXSW folks rake in the cost of all those badges and wristbands. We're 1 degree away from lining up for tryouts for season 2 of "Tool Academy".

It's not as glamorous as tearing ticket stubs, but it seems like if you're going to donate your time, there's a lot of options in town that might be able to use you...

4) The SXSW web conference, which I think is now SXSWi or some such, actually seems far more relevant than either the film or music conference, but gets none of the attention. Unfortunately, the year I went, half the presenters lost their cool dotcom jobs (circa 2001) and were talking about how sad they were that their BS companies built on a BS premise with BS VC were no longer in existence. Except for interweb Adult Site entrepreneur Danni Ashe, who was making a killing.

5) Somehow either my financial picture or my work schedule hasn't meshed well with SXSW, and so, no... I've never been able to afford to go. So I'm sure a lot of its sour grapes. But I also just don't get a huge charge out of the idea of staying up all night and seeing new bands anymore, if I ever did. The movie side is probably more appealing, but the cost for seeing a bunch of movies seems a little crazy to me. And I honestly don't know how engaged I'd be by the third movie. My suspicion is that I'd have my critic hat on pretty hard by that point.

I would actually really, really like to go to the SXSW Interactive next year. However, convincing my bosses its a good thing to pay for may be a bit complicated. Which means I'm using my dollars and my vacation time for something work related, and that's just something I need to sort out.

And, I do have to admit... I am unsure about movies at SXSW, but SXSW does seem to be able to make bands these days. And that's good. It just has nothing to do with me or my current interests (sorry. I have neither the time nor energy to pretend I'm up on music these days). And I'd like to believe that a younger, less cynical me would be far more pumped about the wide offering of independent film at SXSW. But I don't see 90% of what comes out to the mainstream theater anymore, so... there you have it.

I'm not sure I'm saying that I'm doing anything better or more worthwhile, but I'm not terribly invested in the proceedings.

Well, Nathan still isn't here. Hmmm...

You kids have a good night.


Anonymous said...

I promise to be back a little sooner today! Sorry.

One of the nifty things about SXSW film is that it prompts me to see a bunch of stuff I might not otherwise seek out.

The League said...

Dude, no worries! You're here for SXSW, not make sure I get to bed.

I think it would be great if you had time and could write up a post for me on SXSW and what it means to you. You're far past the "oh, look... a d-list movie star!" gawking. Lists of movies you've seen, how you brought a film to San Antonio... all good stuff. I always like a good counterpoint.

Anonymous said...

I'll be happy to!

I'll give you my post-fest wrap this week.

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to dig Older-Cynical-League. Not that I didn't dig earlier versions of the League, they've all been enjoybale. But their is an edginess to Older-Cynical-League that was missing in the younger versions. Keep bringing the heat.


The League said...

Well, I can only promise to get older. I assume the increased level of curmudgeonliness is a by-product we will all have to learn to enjoy.