Friday, August 24, 2012

How old am I? This many.

This was my favorite TV show as a kid. I also loved The Liberace Show.
There were lots of shows on where you'd get to watch people dancing. The music was great too. Late at night, there was only a test pattern on.
These were my heroes as a pre-teen. I kept scrapbooks of clippings about them. I met Alan Shepard as an adult (during his book tour) and he signed my old LIFE magazine with him on the cover.
I witnessed these events on live TV. What an emotional roller-coaster!
This guy on the right held me in his arms onstage. Toddlers are hard to resist. About 12 years later we met him again, and when my mother asked if he remembered it, he nicely lied and said that he did. I got to see the guy below, on the left, when he looked like the picture on the right.

My first concert that was unaccompanied by parents was this one. I went with my older girl cousin. I don't think she was into the British Invasion, she preferred Elvis and Frankie Avalon.
I got to see these rock icons in concert. I most regret not seeing Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, or The Beatles.

The 17-yr-old version of me had this closeup view of Plant. More about that here.

I lived in a whole bunch of places, some of them twice. Trying to settle down a bit more these days.

Yes, it's another birthday. Nothing planned except maybe a day off work. I will most likely be well-behaved and probably go to bed early.

Here is Liberace playing "Bumble Boogie" on his TV show.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Low Rent Birds

We have a whole lotta birdhouses. We have about 3 of the fiber "hive" style (all unoccupied), store-bought styles made of wood (unoccupied), cutesy store-bought metal ladybug (unoccupied), a couple of ones I made from plastic corrugated yard signs (unoccupied), a couple of multi-unit condo styles on tall poles (probably partially occupied, hard to tell), about 5 plastic "gourd" styles (maybe a couple occupied, not sure)...

...but instead of choosing one of those, some birds have made a nest in this ripped-up party balloon that is lodged in a tree.


They do whatever they please.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Death, warmed-over

Seen today on South Congress Avenue, always a good place for people-watching, day or night... it's a real person in that getup, which isn't that strange except for the fact that it got up to 102°F today (38.8°C) with a heat index of 107° - and he/she did it voluntarily and not as part of one of those "dress up as a mascot and wave to people driving by" jobs.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

This music could melt your face

Ramen Noodle Rag

The South Austin Jug Band became one of our favorite bands after we moved down here in 2000 (which is right about the time the band formed). They were amazing, and we felt lucky to be able to see them fairly often. The peak of this version of the band was when they won "Best New Band" at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 2003. It was a pretty big deal. Over time they had some personnel changes, and each person who left took a few songs with him along with a playing style. The ones who joined the band in their absence were equally awesome, the overall sound was a bit different... more of this... less of that. They finally called it quits at the end of 2008, all of these guys and the later band members went on to be part of other bands, both new and old, and are all still hitting the stage on a near-daily basis. This reunion show of the original line-up (which may be just a one-off) that just happened on August 5th will be a night to remember for all of us.


This lineup, left to right: Matt Slusher, Will DuPuy, James Hyland, Warren Hood, Willie Pipkin. Later band members include Dennis Ludiker, Brian Beken, and Matt Mefford. All musical monsters down to the last man.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Rental Review Time

A Face in the Crowd [imdb] [wiki]

This is an old classic, and yet, amazingly, neither of us had seen it before. Made in 1957 and directed by Elia Kazan, it was a story with a strong statement about the always unholy relationship between entertainment and politics, and the raw power that comes out of it. If you were a Keith Olbermann watcher, you know that every time he brought up Glenn Beck, he called him "Lonesome Rhodes" Beck. The Lonesome Rhodes character is the one played by Andy Griffith in this movie. He was a drifter who happened to have a folksy personality, a little musical skill and a lot of charismatic crowd appeal. He ends up on the radio almost by accident, becomes really popular, and the spiral begins. Really recommend this one that we watched on DVD via the library. The DVD also included a little documentary about the making of the film, and it includes relatively recent interviews with the now-deceased Budd Schulberg (the screenwriter), Andy Griffith, Patricia Neal, and Tony Franciosa. Also in the movie are a young Walter Matthau and Lee Remick.

The Adventures of Tintin [imdb] [wiki]

I love Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Steven Moffat, John Williams, Andy Serkis, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Mackenzie Crook, Daniel Craig, etc., I love animation, kid movies also made for adults, adventure, and action. Despite all that, I got bored watching this and we didn't even finish it. That's very unusual. Maybe it's better if you have some background with the Belgian Tintin comics - getting to see the characters come to life - maybe it would have helped. This kind of realistic motion-capture animation sometimes gives me the creeps, and other times (other movies) I think it works fine and doesn't bother me. This one is in the former category. I was just wishing they would have either used real-life people (animals included) or go completely cartoon and give it the look of the original. In fact, that would have been awesome. The action scenes in this just didn't carry me along with them, and characters were pretty flat. I won't say "don't see this," but I will say that we got bored with it. Your results may vary.

The Grey [imdb]

This was presented as a true-to-life survival drama, but I would really say it's more surreal than real because of the way the wolves are portrayed. There are probably animals in the wild that are this big, this dangerous and possibly this mean, but not wolves. OK, so suspend disbelief and pretend they are real wolves (and I wish that they had just made up a fictional critter instead of fostering unnecessary wolf-hatred), and it's a pretty good story about survival, living vs dying, overcoming fear, the basic nature of humans, and sorting out religion. It was a teensy bit predictable here and there, but did have quite a few surprises, including the ending. Even though there are lots of philosophical discussions among this bunch of Alaska plane crash survivors, the movie doesn't resolve them for you. I liked that. One of the most striking things about this movie is the reminder that there are places on earth where humans are not meant to live, but still do.

We saw this on regular DVD which included some deleted scenes, none of which I thought should have been left in, so good call there. It was entertaining and worth a rental. Also, the snow scenes might help take the edge off these hot summer dog days.