Sunday, March 22, 2009

Use Your Head

Lots of hats and heads in this photo from Let's Dish on South Lamar. (Including a shadow me head with spiky hair, a sort of signature in these photos as you know.)

Lots of thoughts lately all jumbled and unblogged. Some unbloggable, crossing lines I don't cross. (Spell check doesn't like unblogged or unbloggable for the record.)

SXSW is over and a visit from two aunts (one with husband) and two cousins (one with wife) to my Dad is absorbed and recorded. I have once again realized that there is not a winning strategy to a game called 'Spinner' played with double nine dominoes with a wild 'spinner' thrown in and certain family rules. And that these family gatherings will always be familiar in certain fundamental ways.

I'm enjoying my morning, thinking about the movies and music and SXSW and reading some things in The New York Times. Using my head to think about issues and the arts. Interesting essay about a C.P. Snow essay in yesterday's Book Review and a review of a play we might see when we go to New York. I can entertain myself thoroughly by watching movies, reading and then writing and thinking about them. (I also took a quiz on Facebook about 'what writer are you' and it came out Jack Kerouac. That's food for thought. Or impetus for a road trip.)

I didn't get to watch as many movies at the end of SXSW (or as we call it here 'South By') as I would have liked because of the relative invasion. I had to make a trip to the airport on Friday which I dreaded but which turned out to work very smoothly.

On Thursday, we saw "Soul Power" which is made from footage of a 1974 three-day soul music festival in Zaire when Ali and Foreman had the 'rumble in the jungle'. Amazing footage of the musicians and music and some great Ali monologues, too. Made me want to see "When We Were Kings." I thought I was going to have to take my aunt and uncle to dinner, but they went out with Dad and so I got to go with FFP to see "The Way We Get By" which is a doc about troop greeters in Bangor, Maine. Sort of ironic since the aunt and uncle I was ignoring are not that different than the movie people: they are both ex-military and live in Maine. Excellent doc. One of the people profiled was the director's mother. This wasn't clear until the Q&A which, I think, is a good thing. Does that mean that the personal is fine as long as you can take a step back? Maybe the personal is the only thing that works, in some ways. I was giddy to get to see this extra movie when I thought I'd be engaged with the relatives. I'm glad it was a worthwhile effort. I shudder to think what the movies cost me on a per movie basis since we bought badges and pretty late at that, not getting much of a discount. After that movie we went to Taste and had delicious fried chicken and champagne.

Before I had to go to the airport we got time to see "Breaking Upwards." We get wrapped up in docs and the fest is a great time to see them, but it's fun to find an indie narrative that you really like and this was one. The stars were co-writers with another writer, the male lead directed and the stars played people with their own first names. In other words, the film was very personal. It felt 'real' with funny lines and situations tossed away for free like in real life. Sometimes you thought you'd probably missed two or three things because it was going along like life in messy, sometimes irrational directions like life itself. It was very satisfying I think and ended ambiguously without trying in romantic comedy fashion to tie up loose ends. The parents of the leads were beautifully drawn as well as some minor characters.

I had to do further excavation in my car before I went to the airport to find room for relatives' luggage. Uncovered a stack of unread Harper's and The New Yorker magazines I still couldn't recycle. Never will there be enough time for the life of the mind I'd like to pursue. But I did take one inside the airport to wait and had a satisfying few minutes reading. I was early because I was afraid of traffic and finding a short term parking place around the 4:30 arrival of the plane, but it was actually early and so it was good that I didn't cut it close and leave the relatives in the lurch. The rest of the evening consisted for finding a suitable restaurant for dinner for eight, eating homemade pie and playing the aforementioned game about which one can hardly muster a shred of strategic thinking.

Saturday I devoted pretty much the entire day to family. Picked up a couple of things for my dad at the grocery, got his shirts from the laundry and visited with the assembled family and a friend who dropped by. Got through lunch (take-out barbecue brisket and sausage and sides from Rudy's...I had to pick up but not was a cheap weekend that way), more games, leftovers, several pots of coffee, discussion of family matters and excused myself at nine or so as everyone was winding down. I also excused myself from the next day's activities and departures. There was a time when I wouldn't have done that. That time is passed and I have become more selfish. So be it. Thus I was able to watch the SXSW fireworks from my balcony, make a brief appearance at a party in the building and go to hear a set of music at 1AM on Sunday morning (Partice Pike at Momo's). (Yeah, we never do that, but we did it Sunday and then slept and goofed off the morning.) We ended up catching a set of music from the Jeff Lofton quarter at Belmont in the afternoon and then attended possibly the best anniversary party ever.

Speaking of selfish: I have used my pea brain to decide that I will do my duty but also be a bit selfish. I have been accused of "selfish bordering on narcissistic" in the comments of another blogger. I was misunderstood, I would claim, but that made me realize that commenting in other people's corners is unwise if the topic is serious to anyone. (And lots of things are serious to people.) I decided to save myself from the unsettling arguments by not commenting in such space nor even reading the comments of others or any further messages directed at me there. It is much better to write in your own space and moderate your own comments. I know I'm a selfish person...but I don't need that taken out of context! You must be accurate in your assessment of why I'm an ass or it makes me mad.

So, yeah, I'm enjoying my morning, thinking and reading and doing as I please and going over in mind the things that I want to think about. It's great to have activities. But it's also great to have a day when you can exercise, do chores and think when you feel like it. We are back to a more normal schedule now and that's a good thing.


Sarah said...

Well, of course you're selfish, it's the only sane way to be. If you don't appreciate and take care of your self (mind as well as body), who will? And what would you have to give anybody else if you hadn't taken care of yourself? All of that "unselfishness" stuff is yada, yada, yada. In my not-so-humble opinion, and I'm old enough to have had an opinion for many decades.

The only unselfish person I know is my dog, and even she takes care of herself, eating, sleeping, playing, so on. I want to be more like my dog.

Linda Ball said...

Being more like a dog is a goal I might just entertain, too. I used to think maybe dogs didn't have much 'life of the mind' but they probably do!

deb said...

"You must be accurate in your assessment of why I'm an ass or it makes me mad."

Now there you have it. Perfect. The dog's life idea has it's merits but I think I'd go for a cat. I like the concept of being a bit more independent, and yes, selfish. Cats appeal to me!