Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Antonioni: 1912-2007



Ingmar Bergman is a lot more famous in the States than Michelangelo Antonioni, and there will probably be more film compilations on the movie channels for Bergman. Antonioni is not quite as accessible, but with a similar view to depicting alienation as one of the hallmark human conditions. Existential angst and death as a companion, or at least as a motivator towards living in the moment, were central themes for both, but Antonioni was a bit more fascinated with modern themes, even 'hip' people, and was not very well understood at the beginning of his career. His lack of dialogue and action was a bit too distancing for mainstream audiences, and he never had a film win an academy award, although he did get an achievement award here.

But Blow Up is always on my top ten list no matter how many new wonderful films I see. I had it on beta, I had it on VHS, I have it on DVD. And yeah, it's distant and cerebral, but it also magically captures a moment in time - mid 60s London - and was the first (that I know of) to show the dark side of the free love movement without being a bit hysterical and judgmental. I think it's riveting.

So weird that they went on the same day. So lucky for us that they both lived so long and produced so much.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Thoughts about the crash

The two Phoenix news helicopters crashed about 10 blocks from my house, at Indian School park, in my dog's favorite spot. This spot is right by the man-made lake where there are usually about 20 ducks hanging out or swimming, and a few people fishing and just hanging out. At noon in Phoenix, there are not going to be a lot of people hanging around outside in a park, so that is a lucky thing. Not sure about the ducks.

But this is the only open area for miles around. Right in between the veteran's hospital AND A SCHOOL. There is one lame, petty criminal making a getaway from police, not even a high-speed chase. Do 5 helicopters need to cover it? Do we need to see this stupid car chase stuff over and over again, so that people take these ridiculous risks and fly over heavily populated areas? It's one thing for them to take the risk, but we don't sign on for it.

My friend Joann called me after, but had heard on the news that the helicopters crashed into a park in between Indian School and Osborn. She raced home from work, went through 3 red lights, rushing to see if our houses were burning and to let the animals out, if possible, because we live on the only park in between Osborn and Indian School. So even with 5 helicopters, they could not get the information correct. She was lucky she did not hurt herself or someone else in her panic to get home.

I talked to a restaurant owner in the Melrose district today, which is about 10 blocks the other way from the accident. He was still home before it happened, and he watched the petty criminal drive by with flattened tires, get out, and steal another truck to keep going. Where were the cops then? They flattened the guy's tires and still couldn't catch him? I feel really safe now.

Don't get me wrong - I feel awful for everyone involved - the random snuffing out of life over a stupid risk - the poor families, co-workers, and friends. Imagine their last moments- just horrific, horrific. But it was completely unnecessary - they were not rescuing anyone, they were not performing a heroic feat - they were trying to beat the competition to a stupid story on a slow, hot Phoenix day. Why can't one helicopter go up and share the feed? Were they in the way of police helicopters? Why would there even be police helicopters for such a lame thing?

Argh.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

House Tales

When you sell a house, the house is like a girlfriend who has a crappy boyfriend, and all she wants is a commitment. She gets all painted up, gets new decoration, always looks her best, stays home to wait for calls, and all she hears is, well, maybe if you didn't have such a past (ok, so I was built in '39 but I look good!) and maybe if you were a little less well-traveled (nuthin' I can do about being on 12th street!) and maybe if you weren't so hot (HUH?!) then maybe I could make a commitment.

And what is it about people who are adamant about seeing the house TODAY and then they don't show up or call? I have had that 3 times already and it's only been on the market for 3 weeks.

Get this - I had one woman write before the house was even listed - I just floated it on Craig's List for responses. She asked permission 3 days in a row to come on a Sunday morning. So sure, I cleaned like crazy (remember, it wasn't really ready yet), and she didn't show up or call. A couple days later she emailed asking if it was still available. Yes... again, didn't show up or call. So I'm up on Clarkdale, trying to be on vacation (THAT is another whole story) and she and her husband were looking in the guest house windows when my friend Joann just happened to come over and feed the dog...

So Joann calls me and says, ummm, do you want me to let these people in?? And I said, sure, what the hell, if you have time, and it turns out to be the multiple no-shows. And, they invite the sister, who comes running down the alley because she lives nearby, to see the guest house, her potential future quarters.

So they love the house right down to my Rushmore poster (It's our favorite movie too! Cosmic! Beauty! Karma! whatever...) I get an email a couple days later asking for more information -about plumbing, electrical, etc. I send a long, nice email back and invite them over to spend more time here.

A week goes by. My realtor calls them for feedback. Here's what they say:

"Oh, we're not in the housing market, we're not in any position to buy, we were just really curious about the house. We really love it! Tell her good luck."

!!!! I sent them a bill for my time.

Or how about these: I have an open house, really good turn out, no bites. One pair, a woman and her son, told the realtor they thought the guest house WAS THE MAIN HOUSE. !!! And another one, a German woman, thought the house would be around 200K (it's 350K) and if I could drop it to that, she would be interested, because then it would cost the same as her condo. !!!

This is the best yet though - I took the doorknob out of the guest house door - it is just a hole you can see through, the door only stays shut b/c the cooler is blowing it closed. And a realtor was there when I got home from the grocery store the other day. She told me she and her client didn't see the guest house because they didn't have a key for that.

Sigh.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Out There

The Teslathon: In May, the Carlton Road United Reformed Church Hall in Derby saw Teslathon UK – a small group of men and women gathered around a 9ft-tall tesla coil zapping the walls. They meet twice a year to show off their coils, and similar events happen all over the world.

Government!
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network activists told reporters in June that at least 59 U.S.-trained Arabic speakers have been ejected from the military because they're gay (and in each case despite being a native English-speaker who completed intense, expensive military language school). But a month before that, as symbolic of the government's shortage of Arabic speakers, an official of the U.S.-funded Al Hurra Middle East television service admitted that it had recently, inadvertently, broadcast several pro-terrorist programs (including an hour-long tirade encouraging violence against Jews), attributing the error to the fact that no senior Al Hurra news manager speaks Arabic.

Tape Art

Monday, July 09, 2007

Thoughts on Live Earth

I only caught bits and pieces of this but there were some weird choices made by Bravo, as there always are... and just some weird stuff in general.

- Why did all the performers keep talking about New York City when Giants Stadium is in New Jersey?

- Why one song by Red Hot Chili Peppers and 9 million by Alicia Keys?

- Why did people on Fox news keep referring to it as a fund raising event? (Sometimes you just gotta watch Fox, like you just gotta watch Joel Osteen et al - see what they're up to)

- Was Kelly Clarkson actually screaming or was her voice just giving out?

- Did Madonna really only do one live song besides having the video for Hey You?

- Why oh why did I miss Snow Patrol? OK, that's a rhetorical question.

- Is Karen Duffy pregnant? Who was that guy with her?

- Most importantly, where were Bruce and U2?

You can watch all the concerts at msn when you want, here:

http://entimg.msn.com/i/ExperienceData/p1-7/us/x.htm?sh=LiveEarth&ep=le_london