Monday, October 14, 2019

Austin City Limits Music Festival

Every year Austin hosts the Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park over two weekends in October. I had heard about it when I lived in Denton from friends/coworkers who went to it over the years. Being an Austinite now it seemed my duty to attend, so two weeks ago I decided to get a ticket.

ACL is like a lot of other multi-day festivals - multiple bands throughout the day at several stages, with headliners anchoring the evenings each night. I really only cared about three acts though:

  • Mumford and Sons - I've wanted to see them since their first two albums, with dream location being at Red Rocks. That just never happened, but now they would be playing in my very own city!
  • Kacey Musgraves - I really liked her performance of "Rainbow" at the Grammy's this year (where she won Album of the Year!). She's not an artist whose songs I know though, even if I am aware of her in general (she's technically country which I don't really follow anymore). But I definitely wanted to see her.
  • Lizzo!! - she's been around for awhile, bus has been having what we call a "moment" this summer with her hit "Truth Hurts". I most definitely wanted to dance to it live. 
I'm going to write about each act separately, because each one had moments that were so special and magical that they need their own space :)

The entire experience was TRANSCENDENT.  

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Cool Bike

Today I rode my bike to the Violet Crown theater to see Wild Rose. It's super easy to get to by bike from where I live, thanks to the Lance Armstrong Bikeway - a protected bike lane on 3rd Street right through downtown Austin! I literally live right off this bike route and it's pretty amazing.

As I was unlocking my bike after the movie, the guy standing close by smoking a cigarette said "Cool bike. I like the color." My bike IS cool, and the color is great. It made me super happy.

I jetted quickly over to the nearby Trader Joe's to pick up some lemon ricotta ravioli for dinner (it is to die for). I hadn't planned on stopping, and therefore didn't have a side bag with me; the paper bag would just have to hang off my handlebars. As I was unlocking my bike, a guy inside Trader Joe's looked at me and motioned handlebars and a bag. I nodded and he gave me a thumb's up.

I rode home with that Trader Joe's bag on the protected bike lane back to my apartment, where Biscuit and Chance were waiting for me and I felt at home in this city.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-man has been a tricky character for me. I have not read the comics, so my take on him is purely from the movies that have been released. And THE Spider-man for awhile was the Tobey Maguire version released the end of my freshman year of college. It somehow found a way to make a universally-agreed-upon killer sequel, giving us Doc Ock and the classic Dashboard Confessional song "Vindicated" on a truly great soundtrack album (I have very strong memories of buying this album at the Walmart I worked on, and listening to it on incessant repeat as I drove around SLC in my silver Honda Civic). Sony then found a way to make a universally-agreed-upon abysmal third outing which most everyone would like to just forget.

The Andrew Garfield-led first outing was good, but the second one was truly awful.

Which then gave the world Tom Holland as Spider-man - truly inspired casting. Not that Tobey Maguire wasn't great, but finally Spider-man was being played by an actual teenager who really nailed the funny aspect of Spider-man. Tobey's version, while great at the time, now seems so very pedestrian.

When Sony decided to finally loan out Spider-man to Marvel, we were also blessed with not having to see another film with Spider-man's origin story. Instead he gets plopped right into the middle of an Avengers movie.

I didn't love Spidey's first outing. I was bored with a lot of it and actually fell asleep for a brief couple seconds during the fight on the Staten Island Ferry. But, much like with my evolving love for Captain America, Spidey really shone in his small roles in the Avengers movies. When he tells Tony he doesn't want to go at the end of Infinity War I started crying.

So, ALL OF THIS TO SAY, I was mildly excited to catch Spider-man: Far From Home on the Fourth last week. Tom Holland is just such a joy to watch. But you know who else was a joy to watch - Jake frickin' Gyllenhaal! He was very briefly rumored to replace Tobey Maguire as Spider-man back in the day, and he's somehow never been in a superhero movie. He looked like he was having so much FUN playing Mysterio. The twist was also really neat because I thought he kind of had a point....

For me, I think it also helped that Spider-man is now linked to the larger Avenger stories. I definitely recommend, even if you didn't see the first one.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Mindless and Endless

I went off Facebook two years. I did it in direct response to a mean-spirited attack against me from a family member over email. Tuning out of Facebook seemed like a good way to shut everything out for a little while. That little while turned into a year.

It was amazing.

But also somewhat of a hindrance when wanting to know about goings-on and being invited to things. Even hosting my annual Piesgiving became a bit more difficult because I didn't have email addresses for everyone I usually invited (through Facebook). Thankfully my friends were pretty good about telling me about movie nights on the Square and get togethers, so it wasn't as if I was completely removed from social gatherings and society in general.

Then I remembered my friend Will Bishop. Will was, and still is, old school in that he hasn't joined the smartphone ubiquity and still owns a simple flip phone. While I "celebrate" over ten years on Facebook, Will has also never joined the social media site. However, Will was ALWAYS invited to any and every event or get together that was being held. People just knew he wasn't on Facebook, so when an invite went out there was usually a last line to the effects of "And someone let Will Bishop know!".

In my sabbatical from Facebook I was still on Instagram, and I was running the Bike|Walk Denton Facebook page, so it wasn't as if I was completely off the grid. I reactivated my account purely for March Madness and the competition I run on an Anderson extended-family page (that I created and was admin for). It seemed selfish to not create the event since every one seemed to have lots of fun with it.

When I first came back on, I only checked it in the morning for the Memories. I am a very sentimental and nostalgic person, and I love seeing old posts of what I was doing on the same day but one, three or nine years ago. Then I was checking it at work. And at home. And all the time.

Facebook can be really great. But it can also be a huge time-suck. While I work to be better about not spending so much time mindlessly, endlessly scrolling through the same twenty people that the algorithms have deemed and countless ads, I'm going to attempt to blog more.

And get out and explore this new city of mine more.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Three Years and One Sold Home

Three years ago today I signed papers making the home at 2601 N Locust in Denton, TX MY home.

Two weeks ago I signed papers making the home at 2601 N Locust in Denton, TX NOT my home.

I had moved out two weeks before signing the papers, and was at my new job in Austin when a mobile-notary from the title office came to my office. It was a bit strange, but I was already removed from it as my home since it had been opened up to strangers for showings and an open house.

But now it was official.

When it officially became mine, my friend Stephanie was with me and we had tacos afterward. It was super hard to concentrate on work the rest of the day.

When it officially became not mine, I was at work with coworkers I don't really know yet. None of them know me or the joy I felt in buying that house. I went back to work to my desk, then made a quick trip to the bathroom to shed a couple of tears. I texted some friends back in Denton, to have a small and fleeting connection to something familiar.

The first month of this change to Austin has been tough. Just because change is tough in general. Many, many emotions were felt, including some very intense feelings about a haircut I had paid a lot of money for. Things have finally settled into a groove, though, and I am meeting people and getting to know my coworkers.

I will also love that home on Locust Street. I painted and hung shelves and weatherized my pipes and had friends over. It was full of love, from friends, family and my cats.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Stranger Sightings

Last night I set out from my apartment, on foot, around 5:15 p.m., headed to the Alamo Drafthouse to catch a showing of Toy Story 4. As I walked in the crosswalk taking me from one side of the I-35 service road to the other, I passed a person walking in the opposite direction. The person "stood out" with their dreadlocks, tight green shorts, white shirt, and multiple tattoos. As I often do when passing strangers, I wondered where he was walking to.

I continued on my way down sixth street, saw the movie, then meandered around downtown Austin before finally heading back home around 9 p.m. As I made my way to fourth street to cross under the interstate, I enjoyed the pleasant evening air. I walked in the crosswalk taking me from one side of the I-35 service road to another. And as I walked under the interstate, I passed the same guy I had passed earlier in the evening! I wanted to say hi to him, to some way mark the small connection of our lives, but didn't want to be a creeper under the bridge.

So I let him pass, and thought about what he had done with his night on the east side of I-35 while I was on the west side of I-35. Where was he headed to?

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Toy Story 4

Toy Story 3 came out nine years ago and I was pretty pleased with it. Well, more than a little. It was pretty much perfect, which means I wasn't expecting a fourth outing. And when a fourth outing was announced by Pixar, I certainly didn't expect it to be in any way as good as the third.

Except it was.

Toy Story 4 could be seen as unnecessary, as so many films with the letter or number 4 in their title are. And I guess it is unnecessary, but in the very capable hands of Pixar the story and characters never feel unnecessary. A new adventure is had by Woody, Buzz, Bo, Jessie, newcomer Forky and everyone else and it feels very much necessary.

The animation and cinematography in the film is amazing. The entire film is gorgeous to look at, but pay attention to the scenes where Woody and Bo say goodbye in the rain, Woody and Forky are walking along the highway, Bo is leading her entourage on a daring plan through the antiques store, Woody and Bo catch the late-day sun-through-the-chandelier, and anything during the carnival at night. It is all truly spectacular.

Again, Pixar makes tells a story through animation and toys that is so relevant, beautiful, touching and poignant that I laughed and cried. I was also a little terrified of the dummies! This movie may be animated and rated G, which in our culture means "kid movie" but this most certainly is not; I can't imagine any kid younger than 11 sitting through it and actually enjoying it.

I love that the story gives us a completely bad-ass Bo Peep, a character who didn't have much character in the first two films. Woody is quintessentially Wooody, and Buzz has some great moments as he listens to his "inner voice".  And Rex gets the best line of the movie - Look at how long his arms are!

Definitely see this in the theaters. It'll likely be my favorite film of the summer.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

2019 Oscars

It's time for the 2019 Oscars. I haven't blogged in almost a year, but there's something about the Oscars that makes me want to put all my movie thoughts out into the interwebs.

Best Picture
Thanks to Cinemark's Oscar Week, I was able to cross off two more nominees on Friday and Saturday, bringing my total of Best Picture nominees to 5 out of 8. I feel like it was a really weak year of nominations and I wasn't really excited about any of them (except A Star Is Born which I was very excited about it when I bought my ticket). I generally have at least one that I loved and I'm rooting for despite it's slim chances (Brooklyn). This year I feel like instead of rooting FOR movies I'm rooting AGAINST movies to win. 

Black Panther - didn't care for it; the best Marvel is Captain America: Civil War by far (although Infinity War was pretty spectacular).
BlacKkKlansman - didn't get around to seeing it
Bohemian Rhapsody - I ended up seeing this purely on my cousin Phaedra's love for it; I enjoyed it, and did not expect to cry, but there are some issues with the portrayal of Mercury
The Favourite - just saw this on Friday night after swearing off Yorgos Lanthimos films after The Lobster; however, it was fun and entertaining and just might be my pic for most liked/didn't hate film this year.
Roma - didn't see it; heard from several people that  it has no story and is incredibly slow (which doesn't make it bad, but does mean that if watching it at home  means I'll fall asleep).
Green Book - no desire to see this film.
A Star Is Born - really excited to see it, but it didn't quite live up to the hype. I felt it floundered a bit in the second half. 
Vice - saw it against my better judgment yesterday just so I could adequately compare all nominees. The movie is boring and incredibly slow, with very weird tonal choices that left me wondering if it was meant to be a comedy (the only laugh I heard from the audience was at the beginning title card). It was awful and I'm actively rooting against it to win anything. 

Best Actor
Christian Bale and Rami Malek are duking it out, and this one is both me actively rooting against and rooting for. I really do like Bale, but the film is not good and I dislike giving an award based on physical transformation. I'm actively rooting for Malek because I like him in Mr. Robot and think he's a really great actor. In another year, it would be Bradley Cooper's year for singing, playing, acting and directing himself

Best Actress
No dog in this fight really until I saw The Favourite. Now I'm all in for Olivia Colman.

I just hope it's a fun night with some surprises (Richard E. Gant!!!). The Academy has really been botching things as of late, and the hostless ceremony this year is just one more. But I'm optimistic, and I'm going to watch anyway because I like to see what everyone is wearing and, most of all, I love celebrating film!


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