Envious Grumpy Old Men

Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola are wonderful film makers. They are also both grumpy envious old men who have lost the joy of the medium they work in. Just like the curmudgeons who dug their nails into film photography and then DSLR’s when camera phones became a thing.

A couple of articles for reference.

Scorsese - Coppola

Look I love their movies, but Scorsese couldn’t have made his most recent film WITHOUT the Marvel / DC movies. The underlying technology he relied on to make De Niro young again in his latest flick wouldn’t be where it is without the money behind blockbuster hero flicks. I’m not sure what they are complaining about. Well I am but we all get old and have regrets. Arguably Scorsese has been making superhero (idolized gangsters) for nearly his entire career. Then we have Coppola with the Godfather trilogy and let us not forget Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Essentially the two old bastards have lost the joy of movies and have their heads so far up their own asses they can’t see how pitiful they are making themselves look. It is sad as I really love most of their respective bodies of work. That does not give them the right to try to piss on other peoples success. Just make your work and let it stand on it’s own merits. Scorsese could have done that with his latest film. Coppola has struggled for a couple of decades but could potentially pull one out if he can get with it.

80% - Brilliantly Articulated

People trying to get something done smash up against brick walls all the time. I do it, frequently. Starting is a bitch, over preparation = is a vial, insidious precursor to procrastination.

And then there is finishing. This is about that. Also you should be subscribing to these brothers YouTube channels. The various streams of content are GREAT.

Things That Annoy

So I must be tired, or stressed, or just thin skinned enough today to pop off on a few things that annoy me. If it is enough to get me to post, something must be up.

!st on the list today is the phrase “living my best life”. The urge to reply to that with “fuck right off” is usually pretty strong. Those 4 words generally encapsulate a desire for some combination of bragging and self pity with a cry for attention. It is almost always preceded by some life event that caused discomfort or “struggle”. Now said person has found a new hobby, job, significant other, or they spent a weekend at the beach. Great, good for you, have a cookie. Welcome to real life, now STFU.

2nd would be people who respond to statements with advice or comments that counter something you’ve told them when it has no bearing really on your situation. Example: I mentioned to a friend I need some sort of supplemental freezer as I am attempting to eat more things at home than go out nearly every night. I’m buying more frozen foods and I have a tiny freezer in the fridge. Their response was “fresh is better”. Yeah thanks. However, I hate going to the grocery store, I can’t exactly whip up a fresh meal for lunch while I am working from home, and I already know I wont bother cooking fresh stuff. Did not ask for you to tell me I was wrong, was just sharing a decision I had made. The correct thing to do if you wanted to contribute was to offer freezer suggestions if anything.

3rd and last for this rant today, not answering straight forward questions. I had a conversation with a friend who had gone out for drinks and I assumed food recently. I asked them how it was. They asked food or companions. I replied both. They just told me who they went with and the type of food they ate. My response to that was, great, that doesn’t really answer any of my questions, thanks for nothing.

Vegas - Not One Penny Gambled

I’ve never been a big gambler and when I suggested Keri and I go to Vegas that wasn’t even a consideration. We went because we knew at the very least we’d have a blast hitting restaurants. Vegas has a ton of really amazing places to eat. It is relatively easy to get to from Nashville, Southwest has direct flights which are so much more preferable to layovers. Off we went.


The flight went quite smoothly, we planned and scheduled a shuttle to take us to our hotel which was quite fortunate instead of renting a car. What we discovered upon landing was that we chose an arrival on one of the 2 days the strip was closed. The Rock and Roll marathon was taking place. It took us roughly 1.5 hours to get from the the airport to our hotel.


The first full day started out nicely with a good breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris casino. Then confirmation we were indeed in Vegas.


I’ll just drop a few food photos here. You can’t throw a rock without hitting good food in Vegas.

We saw two shows, Body which was in the Luxor and the posted that photography was prohibited, but I had to snag this shot because reflections and perspective.


We also visited the Arts District , we went in the middle of the week, mid day and there wasn’t a lot of activity. There is some pretty impressive graffiti in the area. This is an area that is getting revitalized so you may some some homeless folks and I’m pretty sure there was a tent city on a pretty large lot. Hit the link and check out what is going on there though. It has some potential and there are a couple of nice restaurants planting themselves there.

The High Roller is not to far from the Westin where we stayed. We walked under it a few times and the following photo is one of my favorites taken with the iPhone.


The Image - Moving or Not

Tumblr is in the news for some bad things. They are apparently making it worse for legit users by being hamfisted and clumsy in their response. It is well known that there are some less than savory blogs on the platform. They should totally scrub the child porn off and I suspect they are cooperating with authorities as best they can.

I’d like to share a trio of wonderful blogs I’ve followed for years. All three are related to filmmaking and movies.


Movies In Color

9 Film Frames

Cinephilia and Filmmaking

These aren’t all updated regularly but they do have some deep content so enjoy digging in the archives.


Encounters - Denise Stewart-Sanabria

The Huntsville Museum of Art has a series that has been running since 1986 called Encounters. It is focused on regional contemporary artists and I always enjoy getting a chance to hear the artists speak on their work and answer questions. This exhibit, running October 7th through January 20, 2019, is featuring two bodies of work from Denise Stewart-Sanabria. Denise lives in Knoxville and I’ve met her a couple of times at shows there.

She also has a solo show in Nashville running October 6th through the 25th at The Arts Company.

I could try to describe her work but honestly, listening to her talk about the influences is s tough act to follow. Below is is a video from Knoxville Public Access Television featuring her in her studio and a few shots I took at the talk at the museum.


Spider Stories and I Told Myself So

Yesterday was a day for spiders. It started with a coworker who is generally REALLY creeped out by spiders showing me a fuzzy silhouette spider eating a bug pic on her phone sent to her by another coworker. She wanted to know if I knew what kind of spider it was and said it’s really big. I don’t have this pic to share but it was small and shot through a screen. I couldn’t make out any details really, but I offered up this image to illustrate what a big spider really looks like.


Next up, another friend began a conversation that started with “I just did a horrible thing.” Long story short, she tried to save a spider which she normally would have squished but in the process the spider lost a couple of legs. I explained it could survive that way just fine and go her for overcoming her normal first reaction to just kill it.

Next up, on the way home I noticed a little jumper clinging to the outside of the driver side door window. It was a decent size and was tucked in nicely. This morning on the way back to work, it was still hanging out so I managed to snag a crummy cell phone shot (more on that in a minute). If it is getting good meals hiding on the side of the car I may get a chance at a better photo this afternoon.


Now the “I told myself so” part of the story. This morning I eyeballed my camera bag and waffled in whether or not to put it back in the car. I said to myself nahh but you might regret it. Well I regretted it when I pulled into the parking lot. Perched on a lamp post between me and the front door was a very nice calm hawk.  

So that’s two photos I could have gotten with the good camera and a proper lens that I had to settle on cellphone shots with instead. 



Snoozing Facebook Keywords and Other Random Shit

I just saw a blurb somewhere that Facebook is adding a feature to let you snooze keywords for 30 days. Soon you will be able to avoid or limit exposure those topics you are tired of seeing or shows you don't want spoiled. 

Alexa has a skill that will let you post to Slack via voice / dictation. While I find this interesting I don't work in a place where when I am anywhere near an Echo device that I want to think about work at all. Work is the only place I use slack. Also - pretty much anyone can walk up to an Echo and and say "Alex use dictate this to slack please" and it will get posted as the person logged into the device. 

I think it might be time to read "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield again. I always seem to get energized after a read/listen. There is a lot in there I need reminded of and it is a short listen perfect for round trips to Sewanee, Nashville or Chattanooga. I'm going to need a break from "Dreamsongs" by George RR Martin soon anyway, while short stories it is a big tome.


Tested - D+

I’ve been a fan of Tested.com for years. Really just the YouTube channel so some of my complaints might be unfair. I really do enjoy a reasonable number of their videos. Granted some of their stuff is tedious and appealing to the deep nerd/geek culture. The best content usually involves Adam Savage from Mythbusters fame. Frank Ippolito also generates excellent content. Norm annoys me most of the time, but just because he is so darned awkward. It's a nerd channel so you get what you pay for. Speaking of paying, they have a fair amount of content behind a pay wall. I'm sure that has value to a good number of people and you can't do what they do without having a revenue stream of some sort. The aging content on the premium side does sometimes find it's way to the free YouTube channel periodically too.  

This may be a nit pick to some people, but for me it seems like an essential part of what makes a good youtube channel of this sort is missing. Video production is top notch, that is never a problem. Where they are lazy and I find this really shocking, is show notes for the episodes. They mention products left and right and claim to be all about the maker culture and facilitating creatives. But you watch a video like this one and have to wonder "How much effort would it have taken to link even the most basic of things below the video?" 

They don't link to anything mentioned in the video. Even a dolt would link to the resin kit they are painting. Heck the template at the bottom of the video notes doesn't even mention Frank who is in the video. 

Here is another one, same basic problem. This one just begs for more info. They did however manage to link to their inspiration for this project. Not quite as bad, but you can tell from the comments that people want help with finding some of the stuff they use in the vids. Come on guys, get with it. Hell these are both from the premium feed, people paid good money and deserve the extra effort. 

Kick Start my Heart

In general I am a fan of Kickstarter and to a lesser amount, GoFundMe. I've backed quite a few things on Kickstarter and been pretty darned pleased with most of them. Where I find myself reluctant to back a product is when it involves slightly complicated production or technology. Particularly if this is the teams first go at a product. They tend to run way past projected delivery, stumble, and the end product isn't always that great. 

Where I am rarely disappointed is backing a book. Books are generally pretty straight forward from concept, design, production, and fulfillment. Things fail of course. Sometimes the creator wasn't far enough along in the content creation and when they HAVE to produce they panic and collapse under the pressure.

Never, ever expect the project you fund to deliver on time. It rarely happens. People make plans for their project based on meeting their goal. Lightning strikes and they end up funding 200 or 300% and aren't prepared for the success and struggle to scale up. They offer stretch goals and don't factor in the added time it takes to fulfill those goals. 9 out of 10  times book production appears to be in China. It's just economics. It takes time to get things from there to here. Proofs have to be created, shipped, turned around if problems are found. There are holidays that might unexpectedly  delay production. A hurricane might sink your ship. Essentially shit happens, don't freak out if it takes a while to get your reward.

If you do back something, engage with the team. Kickstarter has messaging within the platform. If the team working the project is communicating with you and giving updates, respond. It encourages them and garners you good will and helps keep you informed of what is happening so you don't think they just vanished with your money. 



I have a DJI Spark. I picked it up a couple of months ago and have only flown it in my back yard so far. I've not shot anything anyone would consider more than amateurish of course. I haven't really had much practice time. 

This weekend I took it with me to my girlfriends restaurant which she is currently in the process of reopening in a new format. Formerly known as IvyWild, it was a farm to table fine dining restaurant. The food was amazing and it was a popular spot for special occasions in the town of Sewanee, TN. The new format is a wood fired pizza and wine bar. Soon to open and it is going to be wonderful. I'll post more about octo π soon. 

My plan was to do some exterior shots for her and just get some more time on the drone with some real settings that would give the footage a bit more of a cinematic look and feel. Sadly, no flying or footage in her location as there is a small airport near there and her restaurant is just inside the no fly zone. Rejected.. 


Whoah - What Did I Just Watch?

I cut the cord on subscription cable TV years ago. However sometimes you still want to watch what approximates TV so I subscribed to Sling. Amazon Prime has it's benefits, but the offering always seems thin to me. It could be nothing more than the weird suggestions and search function. Netflix generally rocks but you are funneled into their suggestions pretty hard too. That is fine.

Sling offers a base selection of channels and à la carte features as well. One of the channels in the standard line up is El Rey Network. Kung Fu classics, Godzilla marathons and old action TV series are on the menu most of the time. Yesterday I noticed a series I had never heard of before called Starhunter Redux. I knew it was going to be bad, the lead was Michael Paré. I was not disappointed.  Wow. The first episode had a plot hiding in there, but the cuts from scene to scene to scene really had no connection what so ever. The character motivations were horrible or not explained. Things just didn't make any sense. Super low budget, but the space scenes are interesting. Just can't express how bad it was. 

I'll probably watch another episode.