Hey dudes!Long time no talk! I have a message for all my programming peoples out there. A friend working with an Austin based company is looking for Android/iPhone game developers who are located in ATX or willing to relocate. I can put you in touch with the necessary people and get the ball rolling. Is this you? Let me know!
A solitary man wanders across a barren desert. The sun is scorching, and the wind is still. Plateaus and hills line the horizon, and wiry scrub patches the ground. The man reflects the landscape. He is weatherbeaten, dusty, and silent. He wears a shabby, dirty suit and an old red baseball cap. After pausing and gulping his last bit of water, he walks on, into the void. Later, in search of moisture, he wanders into a decaying saloon, eats a handful of ice, and collapses. A local doctor asks him who he is and where he's from, but the man will not speak.
So begins Wim Wenders' masterpiece, Paris, Texas. We soon learn the rambling stranger is Travis Henderson, who disappeared four years ago along with his wife Jane. Their son Hunter went to live with Travis's brother Walt and his wife Anne. Travis has been gone for so long that his family had given up the search. Once Walt hears from the doctor, he drives from Los Angeles to Texas to retrieve his brother. Walt has no idea why Travis left or where he went, and Travis, still mute, does little to clarify.
This simple yet intriguing setup is the foundation for a marvelous film. The audience begins with very little information. There is a very clear bond between the perspective of the viewer and Walt. He is happy to have his brother back, but concerned about what that means. What was so terrible that caused Travis to disappear? What will happen to Hunter now that his father is back in the picture: will they even be able to reconnect? Walt and Anne have been the only parents the boy has known: can they share him with the man who abandoned him?
Slowly and powerfully, you also develop an emotional connection with Travis. He opens up inch by inch. First, his behavior is very childlike. He insists they drive the same rental car all the way back to California. He talks cryptically about a vacant lot he owns in Paris. When he moves into Walt and Anne's home, he shines all of their shoes in the middle of the night. As he begins to communicate with Hunter, his development continues. Travis realizes he needs to confront Jane. On the one lead available, he and Hunter set out to find her.
This film is remarkable for many reasons, but in no small amount for its performances. Harry Dean Stanton, a legendary character actor, plays Travis. We see the pain behind his eyes, but he doesn't beg forgiveness. He manages to make an individual, who would be repellent to nearly anyone, human. Hunter Carson, the young boy playing an eponymous role, stuns the viewer with his emotional range and subtlety. He never steps outside of the behavior of children, but creates details in his performance far beyond his age. Although her screen time is limited, Natassja Kinski packs maximum emotional impact into her creation of Jane. The dynamics between the three leads display a rare chemistry allowing for an astounding result.
Paris, Texas is simple, yet complex. The film seems to be about a simple question, but larger ones seep in as time passes. What makes up a family? Can you be too in love with someone? How far can we fall before we realize what we've done? Is the American Dream real? How far will we go to forget the things that hurt us? Can we ever? Is there a point of no return? Wenders skillfully and naturally creates a conversation with his audience. The script from L.M. Kit Carson and Sam Shepard deftly avoids saying too much. For a film that deals with trauma and emotional scars, Paris, Texas is gentle and beautiful.
The cinematography and soundtrack wrap this package together perfectly. Robby Muller paints incredible pictures from start to finish. His deserts are sprawling and alien, sunsets fiery and consuming, and highways endless and winding. Ry Cooder created a score that set the template for western sounds. A lonely slide guitar dances in and out of scenes, punctuating the plot but never crowding it. As an appreciator of film and of Texas, I can say with confidence that this is one work of art that gets both right.
A DilemmaThe number of people who have told me they like Inception makes me instinctively distrust it. I never saw Avatar on similar logic. I am curious, but everyone being so psyched sets off my radar.
If this was a disease, I would call it "Geoff Ramseyitis"*.
Boring Euro Electronics QuestionHeading out to Germany next Friday, so I'm just trying to get all my ducks in a row. Quick question on power converters. The two main powered items I plan on bringing with me are my laptop and my camera battery charger. I want to make sure I can get full use of both while I'm there. Yesterday I went to Target to look at a converter, and the one I found said clearly on the box: "NOT FOR DEVICES WITH ELECTRONIC CONTROLS." An employee at Best Buy assured me if I bring my chargers in, he can show me what I need, but I want to be sure. It'd suck to get over there and blow out my gear. Anyone with some experience have some ideas? Thanks!
Great weekend in NYC!One of the big advantages of being on the east coast is how quickly you can get somewhere completely different. I am a Texas boy, so used to the car culture that comes with the territory. Everybody has a car, very few people ride the bus. Dallas got a light rail around a decade ago, but it only goes a couple places. I was incredibly excited to get a chance to sell my car and give public transportation a try.
I love it. I love not worrying about gas, insurance, repairs, tires, traffic...all of it. Driving a car can be fun. There's a sense of freedom when you're rolling along, going where you want when you want. It's just all the things that come along with it that make the car a ball and chain. When I get home to Texas, it's nice to borrow my parents' car and go for a drive, but it's even nicer knowing it's a limited engagement.
This weekend I took a short two day hop up to New York to visit friends. My first trip to the Empire State was in 2000. My high school band flew us up for a concert, so we did the standard touristy things. Fortunately there was some flexibility. I am not one for the stereotypical traveler activities. I don't like crowds, and can take or leave most landmarks. I'd rather spend my time living like the locals, which is always easier when you have a friend to show you around. And, if you don't, even better. I like the anxiety that comes with meeting new people. There's nothing like working to relate to strangers.
My previous jaunts to NYC kept me in Manhattan. The friend I stayed with lives in Brooklyn, so I got a chance to see new things. In a lot o ways, Brooklyn reminds me of Austin. There is plenty of young fashion disaster hipster scum, music, tons of bars, and bad facial hair. Austin is clearly superior when it comes to food and outdoor activities. Brooklyn is a short jaunt into the city where the opportunities are many. That was something i disliked about Austin. Very easy to have fun, but harder to get a good opportunity to move forward with your life. It's like an island of the Lotus Eaters, only with tacos
People party very hard in New York. The sprawl of the place can be mind-numbing, but the size means more to see and do than you could ever imagine. Coming from Dallas, where I felt crushing boredom seeping in through my pores, this is a nice change. I love comfort. I love a big warm bed, a nice kitchen where I can make myself dinner, and a chair I can curl up in to read a book. All the same, I love the chaos of new things. I like not knowing how my day is going to happen, and just winging it. It's worked for me so far. We'll see how Germany treats me this summer.
1. I stopped watching LOST on a regular basis around the close of the 3rd season. At that point, I had become convinced that there were too many threads waving in the wind, and a satisfying resolution was impossible.
2. It is impossible, even if the finale was really good, that LOST is the best show ever. This is because the Wire is the best show ever, even though about half of Season 5 was worthless. If LOST was the greatest, we would know the end times had arrived. Other signs? Soxy declared "World's Sexiest Man", Roadblock sings Whitney Houston like that Taiwanese kid, and TravisBickle posts. Now that we've gotten that out of the way...
So, wow, that was a pretty epic cop out, don't you think?
One of the problems I've had with all of J.J. Abrams' work so far is his tendency to repeat himself. When you're writing a TV show for a broad audience, it helps to build familiarity. When audiences get attached to characters, they develop an emotional connection. When something happens to that character, the audience cares, and watch to find out what happens next. But when familiar crosses into formula, it becomes a problem. I became convinced that Alias was wasting my time when every episode involved a mysterious gadget and a bad wig. My patience with LOST waned when every episode featured a time jump, a trombone glissando, and a cut to black. The finale suffered from similar problems, trudging through every character remembering their time on the island and sharing tearful embraces.
This brings me to a broader point. Did you think LOST was a show driven by characters, or the plot? If you said characters, maybe this was a satisfying ending for you. Some people I've spoken to seem to think so. Long lost lovers were reunited. The big bad guy died, and the little bad guy was redeemed. The flawed yet ultimately heroic main character did his duty and sacrificed himself for his friends. However, I never found LOST to be character driven. I kept watching for as long as I did because of the plot. I wanted to know what the hell was going on, and what the hell HAD been going on. My curiosity motivated me to turn on the television Sunday, assuming they'd answer the big questions.
Instead, the writers shirked the responsibility and opted for a happy ending. They played it as safe as they could. Rather than answer the infinite number of issues remaining on the table, they painted with broad strokes, creating a vague and emotional picture. This would be fine if this were a David Lynch movie, but it's not. Abrams, I know David Lynch, and you, sir, are no David Lynch. I've sat through movies where people in rabbit masks speak esoterically about domestic disputes over a creepy laugh track. I've stared intently while a woman lip syncs a particularly emotional acapella version of a Roy Orbison song. And I was fine with it. Why? Because David Lynch has made clear his films are often elaborate dream sequences. He doesn't delude you into thinking there are going to be answers to questions when there won't. My point is this: you can't make a show that starts as a detail driven science fiction mystery, then end it like a high school philosophy class.
I can't decide whether this ending was a case study in the problems of writing by committee, or this was how it was always intended to go. The show is over. It has its own Wiki filled with questions, most of which will never be answered. That's fine with me. I gave up on it long ago, and after I satisfy my curiosity about LOST a little longer, I will return to whatever it is I spend my time doing. Still, I can't help thinking this fanbase should largely feel betrayed. Now I'm just curious which show will next inspire such psychopathic devotion.
Well put.Rowen put up a nice little entry taking responsibility for some things that have gone wrong in his life and looking to the future. He has obviously been taking an inventory of his situation and is putting in the time and work to progress. I'm happy for him. The only way things improve is when you decide you want them to.
No one will take responsibility for you until you take responsibility for yourself. People might pity you, but pity rarely extends beyond a pat on the shoulder and a knowing nod. And even when it does, freebies and sympathy don't take you out of the hole. Sometimes they just dig it a little deeper.
Want to be a grown up? Examine your life and figure out what you'd like to improve. Then, start deciding what you can do about it. There are rarely quick fixes...and easy come, easy go. Want to get in better shape? Get a gym membership and do physical activities that are fun for you by themselves. Want to meet girls? Get off your fucking computer and learn to talk to people.
Appreciate that real change is incremental. Deep, meaningful development doesn't come as a lightning bolt, but through daily commitment. You are of your own creation. If you do positive things on a regular basis, you will get positive results. Your upbringing, your genes, and other ingredients create parts of you, but you're responsible for the packaging and the presentation. Own it!