Mr. White’s Neighborhood

12/06/2012

I recently had the opportunity to travel from Portland to Houston. Since I had the time to waste on it, I decided to alter my route to visit the city of Albuquerque. Yes, we all know this to be the city of fame because it’s the only word to feature 3 U’s. That is a pretty impressive achievement, but I’m not going to denigrate that fine city by pointing out its inherent vowel-fouls. I’ll just go with the obvious.

I took these pictures:

IMG_1052 IMG_1053

Fans of Breaking Bad need no explanation. The first photo is that of the White residence, and the second is that of Saul Goodman’s office locale, sans giant inflatable Statue of Liberty. Incidentally, Saul’s office is located a mere six or eight blocks from the house, which made this detour easily reward-able.

I had help from this site in finding the locations, and there are many more, but I had to get to Houston for my new job pronto, and couldn’t stop for a car wash and some Pollos Hermanos chicken.


What to Do When Your Cat Leaves You

08/22/2012

Photo by Johnny Cat

One year ago I had to move out of a house due to the recession. I had two cats I had to consider as I transitioned from 1600 square feet to a tiny room in a shared duplex unit. One of them, Scooter (who graces the top of The Litter Box) found a home with my friend. I kept Jasmine because I knew she just wouldn’t fit in with anyone else; she’s unadoptable. Having raised her from her earliest days, I knew she’d only be happy with me.

Within a week of the move, Jasmine disappeared. To this day, I have no idea how she got out, but she was missing for a week. I checked the Humane Society twice – a heartbreaking act that knows no parallel. I put up Lost flyers. I even listened to neighborhood rumors about a crazy cat lady who kidnaps cats (catnaps?) and pounded on her unanswered door a few times. Around the time I had given up hope, and prepared to accept the fact that she was gone, she slinked back into the yard, into my arms, and back into our room, where I snapped that picture above as we reunited.

As awesome as that moment was, I realize now, a year later… she was mentally changed by that move. She now views every move made by anyone who comes into this place as suspect, all of her habits have been thrown into whack because of my work schedule, and she discovered the one thing I was hoping she’d never discover. See, my yard has a chain link fence that I thoroughly fortified so she couldn’t sneak out, and for a while it worked fine. I could leave her outside, unattended, for as long as she wanted to get her porch time on.

The problem? Strays. The neighborhood is thick with them, and they appeal to her cat-sense of adventure. So, after maybe 10 or 20 observations of these feline Fagins deftly hopping over the four foot tall fence, Jazz caught on. And now that she’s found her freedom here, she refuses to come back inside; she’ll only come to the back door for food and water once a day. She also wants love and pets, but if I physically bring her into the room we shared for a year, she becomes visibly uncomfortable, and bolts back to the exit, untrimmed claws a-blazing.

I feel like she’s left me, but I did let it happen. And I think that’s the key; letting my cat be what she wants to be is sometimes liberating, and very difficult at the same time. I know she’s still going to be around, but I think her life decisions may end up shortening her life. I can’t afford to take her to the vet anymore, but I know she’s going to need some meds for the fleas alone come November. But these problems all vanish when I take her into my lap, and she climbs my chest and wraps her tiny arms around my neck, giving me the best hug I’ve ever gotten.

Love you Jasmine.

Update:

Through the past four months, Jasmine and I have gone through some major changes. Long story short — she’s now an indoor only cat, living with me in New Orleans, and as healthy as can be! Thanks everyone who offered words of encouragement.


Crushin’ on Sarah Rush

05/20/2011

Photo: ABC

When the original Battlestar Galactica series captivated my attention in the late 1970s, my friends were all kinds of hot for Athena and Cassiopeia, while my Dad lost interest in the show after Serena (the lovely Jane Seymour) was killed off. But for me, infatuation was found in the fleeting glimpses of Flight Corporal Rigel’s announcements; I absolutely adored her then, and can honestly say I still have a crush on her. She comes across as someone who not only inspires the likes of Princess Leia on hairstyles, but someone who would actually have something to talk about on a date. Also: no competition from that player, Starbuck.

The actress who played her, Sarah Rush, was interviewed last year on Galactica.TV.

Can you talk about your audition for Battlestar Galactica?

Since I was under contract, they called in all the girls, all the contract players. I came in and was very serious about my craft. I still am. It’s not brain surgery, but I feel passionate about it. Though I now have more fun in doing it than I did back then.  When I was younger I was so very serious and committed. So I came in, I auditioned and there was Glen Larson and all these people and I had to say something like: “Red alert! Red Alert! 100 microns and closing, 99 microns and closing…”; something like that.

I sat in the middle on a chair with everybody around me and I used my fist as a microphone, said my lines and then looked at everybody. They all burst into laughter! I was so serious about it. We laughed and I got the job. It was wonderful and a blessing, even though my role was so small. I wished I could have been around more. You can imagine. I was just 22 years old and this show was so fantastic. I got to work with Terry Carter a lot and talked to him about acting. I don’t even know if he knows how important he was for me. He was so supportive. It was such a great cast and to me it was a blessing to be on the show.

Frakking adorable.


Robert Shaw Trivia

06/02/2010

I’m on a Robert Shaw kick lately, after scoring a great deal on one of his movies at the nearby Hollywood Video’s going-outta-biz sale. I managed to snag Force 10 From Navarone for a few dollars. This has always been a movie I would rent every few years just to see it again, or show it to others. Now I own it, and since  we’re coming up on the 35th anniversary of the premiere of Jaws, here’s some factoids about Quint, aka Mallory, aka Lonniman (It’s Lonnegan!).

From IMDb:

As a boy, he attended Truro and was quite an athlete, competing in rugby, squash and track events but turned down an offer for a scholarship at 17 to go to London with furthering education in Cambridge as he did not want a career in medicine but luckily for the rest of us, in acting.

He went on from the Academy, after two years (1946-1948) to Stratford-on-Avon, where he was directed by Sir John Gielgud who said to Robert Shaw, “I do admire you and think you’ve got a lot of ability, and I’d like to help you, but you make me so nervous.”

He appeared briefly in 1954′s The Dam Busters.

Around 1959, he became involved with the well-known actress Mary Ure, who was married to the actor John Osborne at the time. He slipped her his telephone number one night at 3 a.m. while visiting the couple and she called him the next day. It was around this time, in 1960, that Robert Shaw became a reporter for England’s Queen magazine and covered the Olympics in Rome. Robert Shaw and Mary Ure acted together in Middleton’s The Changeling at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1961. He was playing the part of an ugly servant in love with the mistress of the house who persuades him to murder her fiancé. Robert Shaw and Mary Ure had a child on August 31st, even though they were still married to their other spouses. His wife Jennifer and Mary Ure had children to him only weeks apart from each other. Mary divorced John Osborne and married Robert Shaw in April 1963. The couple was often quoted by the press as being, “very much in love” and together, they would have four children together. (Ten total for Shaw.)

It was in the following films, The Sting and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three that Robert Shaw became familiar once again to American audiences but it is his portrayal as a grizzled Irish shark hunter, named Quint, in Jaws that everyone remembers, even to this day. Hard to believe that Robert Shaw wasn’t that impressed with the script and even confided to a friend, Hector Elizondo, “They want me to do a movie about this big fish. I don’t know if I should do it or not.” When Elizondo asked why Shaw had reservations he mentioned that he’d never heard of the director and didn’t like the title, “JAWS.”

“Avalanche Express” was Robert Shaw’s last film in which he played General Marenkov, a senior Russian official who decides to defect to the west and reveals to a CIA agent, played by Lee Marvin, that the Russians are trying to develop biological weapons. (Shaw sadly died of heart failure midway through filming.)

Many of Captain Quint’s ramblings in Jaws were actually Shaw’s improvisations, and he is considered one of many authors of the famous USS Indianapolis scene.

Allegedly he didn’t get along with Richard Dreyfuss while filming Jaws.

His performance as Captain Quint is ranked #28 on Premiere Magazine’s 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

He also wrote four books that were well received, along with some plays.

“Writing is where the real center of my integrity lies. I never write for money. I only act for money, but not invariably of course. I would never write certain sentences that I say in films, or even that I write in films, because I often fix up my lines.”

“Acting is instant enjoyment and childlike. As an actor, Lord God, I can take an audience in a theatre and throw them in any direction. I can’t do that as a writer. Writing is painful, it’s lonely and you suffer and there’s no immediate feedback.”

I knew there was some reason I liked him from the get-go. The Shakespeare work doesn’t surprise me, but the life of this man we barely knew through his few cinematic roles is, to say the least, incredible.

Link [IMDb]  (More Jaws and Force 10 stuff to come)


Bands and the Women They Courted

04/13/2010

More on the heavy metal bands of the 80s and the words of Chuck Klosterman:

“Here’s a list of what type of girls the premier metal groups liked (or at least seemed to like)…

GUNS N’ ROSES: Bisexual models; submissive women; girls who would buy them booze.

MÖTLEY CRÜE: Strippers; women who have sex in public (particularly elevators); lesbians.

RATT: Hookers with a heart of gold. Or strippers with a heart of gold. Or thirteen-year-olds.

DEF LEPPARD: Drunk girls; female vampires.

THE CULT: Female vampires only.

FASTER PUSSCAT: GNR Rejects.

W.A.S.P. : Magician’s assistants; women with rape fantasies; lower primates.

AEROSMITH: Models, but not waifs; high school snobs; more girls who like having sex in elevators.

CINDERELLA: Gypsies

TESLA: Farm girls; whoever they used to date in junior high.

VAN HALEN: Party girls; bikini models; the homecoming queen; cast members of One Day at a Time.

DAVID LEE ROTH (solo): The same as Van Halen, except with bigger boobs.

BON JOVI: The girl next door.

VINNIE VINCENT INVASION: The dominatrix next door.

SLAUGHTER: Girls who couldn’t make the cut as Bon Jovi groupies.

WINGER: Whoever Bon Jovi groupies used to baby-sit.

POISON: Girls who liked to tease; girls from small towns; good girls gone bad.

KISS: Any girl who wasn’t dead.

IRON MAIDEN: Dead girls.

JUDAS PRIEST: Boys.

METALLICA: None of the above.

Fargo Rock City Rocks. (Photo by RabidBallerina)


Unfairly Obscure: I Love You to Death

04/08/2010

In my post, Great Movies That Don’t Get Major Play, I listed five flicks that have become what I’d call Unfairly Obscure. So in that vein, and since I keep thinking of others that (other than word-of-mouth) aren’t all that well-known, I’ll just update this new category now and then.

First up, I Love You to Death. Sandwiched between Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill and Grand Canyon, this comedy wins over every person I’ve ever shown it to. Kasdan favorite Kevin Kline is an unfaithful husband to the wholesome/batty Tracey Ullman, and a cast right out of ensemble nirvana carry out his punishment: to be put out of his philandering misery.

Sample scene here featuring the brilliant William Hurt, the perfectly cast Keanu Reeves, and the tragically-talented River Phoenix.

(YouTube Link)

More River Phoenix clips at river1983.

And speaking of River and Keanu, I remember spotting Reeves walking through Northwest Portland around 1991, and tried to circle back in my car to catch up, but lost him. I had wondered about it, and if it was real, when I later learned that he and Phoenix had spent a month or so living in a house in Portland, researching their roles for My Own Private Idaho. They even jammed out with bassist Flea, and Phoenix comes across as someone very serious about his craft here, in this rare video of the creative process.

(YouTube Link)

(Poster: Tri-Star Pictures)


Dazed and Confused – Raw

04/07/2010

Led Zeppelin’s song “Dazed and Confused” is the epitome of the heavy metal arena song of olde. The studio version was my introduction to the band, and I’ll never forget walking across the school football field after dark, boombox in hand, as those first eerie notes echoed around us.

And then, the live version on The Song Remains the Same Soundtrack truly made me appreciate the talents of Jimmy Page. Well, BoingBoing points us to this video of the earliest known recording of the boys doing Dazed and Confused at some Spokane, WA (!) show. It’s just as epic (albiet not as sonic and crisp) as the other versions, and a reminder of the wonderful thing that is/was Led Zeppelin.

(YouTube Link)

tomyman’s got a whole set of ‘em here.


Texas Flood

04/04/2010

(YouTube Rain)

The best blues guitarist ever needs to counsel me on the April rains pouring down now. Oh yes, this is good stuff.


The Road Warrior

03/16/2010

(YouTube Link)

I remember exactly where I was when I first saw this trailer for The Road Warrior.  It was the Westgate theater in Beaverton, Oregon. My friend and I were doing a double date, and were prepared to be awed by the premiere of Blade Runner. I remember him actually mocking this preview (we’d never heard of Mel Gibson or Mad Max before) and saying it looked stupid. I remember laughing along with him politely, but internally telling myself, “This looks so amazing!”

Needless to say, it’s one of my favorite movies ever. What George Miller created with a shoestring budget is fairly unequaled, and still impresses the kiddos today. Oh, and the editing in that trailer is pretty good. I like how they inserted The Gyro Captain into the scene where Max delivers his best line: “You wanna get outta here? You talk to me.”


Dog Will Hunt

02/17/2010

This is my dog.  He’s original.  (Warning:severe wind noise in the second half of this one minute clip.)
He’s usually a stick fetcher, but he prefers his sticks to be the size of fallen tree limbs.


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