October 20, 1999

New House Drama

So, I closed on the house on Monday, and got the keys. 'Twas pouring with rain, so I didn't attempt entry Monday. Went over last night, and took a few boxes with me. The seller's real estate agent, Lazan, had said that when she went over to clear out the last of the old mail and stuff, she found a man sleeping in the back bedroom, and was so startled, she began screaming and couldn't stop, except finally to tell him to clear out and never come back. He was just as scared as she, and took off in a hurry. So, last night, I found all this stuff that he had apparently left behind: towels, a bag of food, a cushion and some mats, a few books, and curiously enough, paint, and a roller tray—at least I guess it was his. I feel really bad that he didn't get to take all his stuff; I certainly can't use any of it, but I'm sure it was valuable to him. I think I'll try to put some signs up on the Drag so I can give it back. Lazan said she usually makes a charitable donation after every closing, and because of that experience, was going to donate to HOBO, or one of the other homeless organizations, which makes me feel a little better.

Anyway, there is much to be done in the way of little repairs and such, besides the big painting/ leveling jobs, so I'm trying to line up some people to come out and take care of it. My mom volunteered to come tomorrow or Friday to be there and supervise.

October 11, 1999

Heart of Texas Festival

It's Austin Heart of Texas Film Festival week again here in warm, sunny Austin, and we have a whole raft of film notables in town to promote or retrospect their work. (Is that a word? Well, it is now!) I saw a beautiful print of "Nashville" on Saturday--with Robert Altman and Karen Black in attendance to introduce and do a Q&A. Altman has a pretty biting sense of humor--just what you'd expect. Ms. Black is a pretty wacky gal, but despite being 54, doesn't look much over 34! She told the story of her audition for the movie, and sang a few bars of the song she wrote. Great voice! She's in town to promote "Charades," a movie she co-wrote and acts in. Lyle Lovett, Rick Linklater, and Steven Soderbergh were also at the screening. Soderbergh is here for the Austin premiere of his new film, "The Limey," and James L. Brooks is here for a retrospective of his work. Other actors and writers skulking about are Matthew McConaughey, Rachel Hunter, Buck Henry ("The Graduate"), Callie Khouri ("Thelma & Louise"), Larry Karaszewski ("The People v. Larry Flynt") Joe Stefano ("Psycho" 1960), Scott Frank ("Out of Sight"), and Ted Tally ("Silence of the Lambs"). I've got a pass for the whole week, so I'm going to try to see as many films as I can. "Winding Roads," which I saw last night, was OK--former model (and Rod Stewart spouse) Rachel Hunter stars, and does a decent job. Afterwards, I started watching a movie called "Junked," which was an incomprehensible, violent, derivative piece of junk about lost L.A. junkies, hustlers, and punks. It was so abysmally bad I walked out. Somehow the writer/director (if you could call him that) forgot that violence and profanity alone do not make a film into the next Pulp Fiction.

September 23, 1999

Could This Be My New House?

I went by and looked at the house last night (MLS# 518080). It's right across 30th Street from Trudy's Central, and overlooks Shoal Creek. Although I didn't get to go inside, I peered in all the windows, and really liked what I saw. The rooms are very large, and the second family room (with fireplace) could easily be another bedroom, and the bedrooms have their own doors. One thing which wasn't even mentioned in the on-line description is the garden in the back, with flagstone paths and a terrace, even a goldfish pond with a fountain! The exterior needs some paint, and the roof gables seem to need some of the wood replaced, but it seems to be in good move-in condition. Perhaps a repair allowance could be arranged. Anyway, I'd really like to get a better look at the inside. I slept on my thoughts, and I'm still excited about it, so that's a good omen.

September 9, 1999

Movies and Quiet Time

I had a pretty quiet weekend because a lot of my friends were out of town. I didn't go to any wild parties, but I hung out with a couple of friends and saw a few movies. I saw Eric Rohmer's "Autumn Tale," "Twin Falls, Idaho," and "Sixth Sense." All were very entertaining and worthwhile. I think it's great that "Sixth Sense," which contains no shoot-em-ups, explosions or car chases, has been the #1 movie for a month now. Maybe Hollywood will pay attention and give us more thoughtful dramas.

My roommate Shannon H. moved out a couple of weeks ago so she could live by herself, and now there's a lot of empty space. My brother and I spent the previous two weekends in College Station taking care of my dad, who has Multiple Sclerosis, while my mom was in Maine. It was weird coming home to a suddenly empty house. I'm still adjusting. Now I'm not sure if I'm going to keep looking for a new roommate, because I really want to buy a house, and I don't want someone to move in if I'm just going to move again in a couple of months.

August 18, 1999

"Eyes Wide Shut" is a Great Work-Out Incentive

I went to see "Eyes Wide Shut" yesterday. I thought it was both mesmerizing and uneven. I kept noticing continuity errors, which I found distracting. I also thought the last line detracted from the import of the whole film. I'm still analyzing my reactions to it. I may have to see it again to crystallize my thoughts.

But the sight of dozens of beautiful naked women with perfect bodies made me think--I'm never going to be six feet tall (and I don't want to be) but if I worked out, I could look really good, instead of just OK. It really strengthened my resolve to start working out consistently again, so that another year doesn't pass without me being in shape. I talked to a personal trainer yesterday; I really want someone to get me started in the right direction again, and give me a good reason to leave work and exercise.

August 9, 1999

Rollercoaster Virgin No More

This past weekend, Shannon H., Jenna and I drove to Houston. After dropping Jenna off, Shannon and I spent Saturday at Astroworld trying to ride as many rollercoasters as possible.
It was very exciting to me, since I had never been on a rollercoaster before! We started out on a non-rollercoaster to warm up, but I think it was possibly the scariest ride of all, (the spaceship one where you swing in ever-higher arcs, and then go completely around) because we were hanging upside down for such a long time. I was terrified of the straps breaking and releasing me for the long fall to the concrete.

We then went on the Texas Cyclone, which is the old wooden rollercoaster modeled after the one on Coney Island, and it's pretty scary because it's so jerky you think it's going to fall apart, and also because it seems as if you could hit your head going under the wooden arches. The most vertiginous ride was the Texas Tornado, with four (count 'em!) FOUR loops, and the steepest drop, but I thought it was the most fun, and we only had to wait about 10 minutes! So...now I'm no longer a rollercoaster virgin! I wanna go again!

August 2, 1999

"Barf" Witch Project

Well, after a couple of attempts, I finally saw "The Blair Witch Project" this Saturday with my roommate and another friend. We got there right before it started, so we ended up sitting in the second row, which was waaay too close, especially for that film. All the shaky hand-held whirly pans had me seriously nauseated by the middle third of the film. It got so I couldn't look at the screen unless the camera was still, because my head was spinning so badly. I really thought I was going to have to get up and go to the back of the theatre, but I needed to be in a seat, so I decided against it. So, it was hard to focus on the content of the film, since I was concentrating on keeping the contents of my stomach where they were.

Still, I thought that it was very cleverly done, especially having the characters be so pretentious, juvenile and generally irritating that you kinda wanted something bad to happen to them. There's nothing like having a whiny, bossy bitch be reduced to a terrified, blubbering mess. I think it helped implicate the audience, and added to our unease. I thought it was common sense to know that when you're lost in the woods, if you happen upon a creek or a stream, and you know you're in Maryland, you follow the creek bed, since it will be heading east towards Chesapeake Bay. Sooner or later, you're bound to hit a bigger river or a highway. At least that way you won't be going in circles. It may sound cold, but the movie was a good example of a "Darwin Award": three people who were too stupid to live and reproduce.

July 17, 1999

Phone List Poem

An unorthodox way of asking a coworker for an updated phone list:
Oh beauteous maid, wilt thou perchance update
The list of those who now do work with thee?
Else shall those Tulsa folks be quite irate
And recommend a punishment for me!

July 8, 1999

Last Gasp at Liberty Lunch

Some friends and I went to see Sonic Youth at Liberty Lunch last night. It's the last gasp for the club at the old location before they tear it down to make way for a new development. The new Lunch will be just north of Stubbs on Red River. Wiley Wiggins from Dazed and Confused was there. I was talking to the club owner, and he recently broke his foot, so we were trading injury war stories. (He also has a three-legged dog named Lucky.) I was demonstrating how I was twisting the night away at Oilcan Harry's the night before I tore my ACL, when a guy took my photo. He turned out to be a photographer from the Austin American-Statesman! And I guessed his name on the first try! I don't think the picture made the paper, but it was pretty cool anyway. Also, Kim Gordon, the main gal in Sonic Youth, walked right by me and Shannon H. on her way to the ladies' room! I guess there is no special treatment for the talent; they get to mingle with hoi polloi, as it were. Very punk.

July 1, 1999

Connected Again

I finally got a permanent internet connection at work, and then yesterday my own real email account. I have been so busy here. We put out three press releases yesterday; I was at work until 7 pm the other night, working on an announcement. But it's all worth it; an investor called last week, and asked who we have writing for us now, because our recent press releases were the best-written and most lucid the company has ever put out!

Shannon H's birthday was yesterday; I got her a book, some sparkly cosmetic goodies, and a CD of the best of the Public Radio show, "This American Life." I can't wait to listen to it, (I mean, until she listens to it) because it's really funny and clever. To celebrate, the gang went out to the Slaughter Leftwich winery, which overlooks Lake Travis, and we had a sort of picnic, with wine, cheese, olives, and other goodies.

Tonight will be quieter, I hope. I bought a cool modern lamp on sale this past weekend, but still haven't had time to take it out of the box and set it up. I want it to be a reward for sweeping and dusting the living room. On verra.