Back when I had HBO I used it to seek out the old or obscure movies that I tend to prefer. I don’t have HBO anymore but Netflix fills the gap nicely, especially since going to the theater is so expensive now that I really only do it for social occasions.
Anyway, though I’m not a big sports fan I remembered liking Varsity Blues, so when Friday Night Lights showed up on my recommendations I decided to try it. Am I ever glad I did! What a great movie. It starts off a little slow and disjointed, but you soon realize that’s because they’re introducing the main characters, who don’t necessarily hang out in one group. Character development–imagine that. And you wouldn’t expect Hollywood to choreograph a football game worth anything but this looked great to me, especially since a lot of the camera angles seemed designed to mimic the way TV covers a game. People who know more about football than I do (almost everyone) might find stuff to criticize there, but it looked brilliant to me. The cast is an ensemble and I didn’t recognize most of the faces, so they apparantly haven’t gone on to great things yet, but Billy Bob Thornton does his usual great job, in this case as the coach balancing small-town political pressure to win against his personal responsibility to the players, who after all still kids. And all done with near-zero melodrama and no obvious plot formulas. Of course it’s a coming-of-age movie so there are formulas all over the place, but as in Top Gun they’re used wisely and advance the plot without distracting. I’m not really a football fan, but I think it’s safe to say Friday Night Lights is a football movie for football fans. You can never assume that in these PC times…
My alternate title for this post was “Fear my net.stalking skillz, or I Can Read LJ and Click on Links!”. But I decided that was going a long way for not much of a joke. Anyway, I ran across Meagan’s LJ and from there to her AudioStreet page where she’s got an mp3 posted. I’ve told a couple of my friends before how she brought down the house at Freddie’s one night, so I was pretty interested to hear her singing her own stuff. And you know what? I like it! She definitely reminds me of someone I’ve heard before, though I can’t come up with the name offhand. Think somewhere between Tracy Bonham and
Veruca Salt Ani DiFranco, though that’s probably a horrible comparison and all my more music-literate friends will tar and feather me for it. Anyway, go listen, you’ll like it!
Clearly, I wasn’t clear in my last post. That’s non-sarcastic–as I look back I don’t think I made my point well. Christina and Clint’s comments just confirm it. Given that, a couple points bear elucidating (I got yer $10 word right here!):
- Nontraditional architecture – What I meant to do was respond to the WaPo writer’s assertion that “Not to build such a splendid, modern structure would have been a dumbfounding mistake. The error would have been noticed around the world…” It seems to me that the implication is ‘new and cool’ has intrinsic value of its own. The marketplace may say that it does, but I think saying DC should have interesting modern buildings because other great cities like London, Berlin, Hong Kong, etc have them just a variation on “everybody’s doing it”. A pissing contest, as Clint said.
That’s not to say that DC should always have neoclassical architecture because it’s always had neoclassical architecture in the past (though this is apparantly the city’s policy.) I just feel that if the motivation is “I saw something awesome in London last summer, there should be something weird and interesting here too”, that’s a bad reason to build something. A good reason would be that the design addresses a particular set of needs in an innovative way and was preferably “invented here” by local talent. I’m not going to have much extra pride in my city because someone brought in outside talent to build something intended to look like a shinier version of something else in some other city, without much regard for setting or function. Yes, that’s an aesthetic sense on my part, but that being so it puts me in the Ayn Rand school, which is also basically the Frank Lloyd Wright school so I’ll go ahead and hold my head up.
- Property rights – Just to talk about Clint’s point for a moment. I disagree on the basis that if your neighbor were to build a borg cube with pink bunnies that takes up their entire lot, it reduces the market value of your property because most people don’t want to live next to a borg cube (with or without pink bunnies) and will be willing to pay less for your house. So it does affect you, and along with health hazards related to industrial facilities, that is the reason we have zoning. If enough people want to live in borg cubes, they can in theory get together and buy land, lobby the county to create a borg cube zone, and cube it up to their heart’s content (as long as they plant trees so the next subdivision isn’t forced to live making the same boring cubist jokes day after day)
Real quick, this Post article from last year about the approval of Norman Foster’s glass canopy for the Old Patent Office Building courtyard (link from DCist) gives me an chance to say something I like to say about architecture and urban design whenever I find someone to listen. The article includes the following sentiment beloved of, from what I can tell, every architect in the universe:
Not to build such a splendid, modern structure would have been a dumbfounding mistake. The error would have been noticed around the world, for sure. Today, architecture plays a significant role in establishing a city’s competitive credentials. To turn down a wonderful building out of excessive caution or misplaced preservationist zeal? Definitely embarrrassing.
My personal opinions aside (short version: I’m on the fence about modern architecture, but have no love for columns and porticos just because they’re traditional) it’s an even bigger error of judgement to potentially blight the landscape for the next century or more just to add a big-name building to the city’s resume, or because something similar looks cool somewhere else in the world. Followers build things to keep up with the Joneses. We should do-or not do-based strictly on our own needs and wants.
A lot of my button-down shirts have plastic tabs in the corners of the collar to keep them stiff and pointy. I am usually too lazy to take them out before washing, but it’s never been a problem til today. Or so I thought. I bought a new shirt this morning and went to give it the pre-wearing wash. When it came out of the dryer it was short one plastic tab. I felt around the bottom of the dryer, checked the lint filter, nothing. I said a mental “blah!” and went on about my folding and ironing. Afterward I decided to check again just for fun. This time I spotted a faint outline of something next to one of the fins inside the dryer.
It was a plastic tab, partially stuck under the fin. But it wasn’t the one that came out of my new shirt, it went with some other shirt. I went on to recover the matching tab, plus the one for the new shirt for a total of three. So one of my shirts needs tabs, doesn’t have them, and may not have had them for several months. Check those dryers!