City Grid

From the BBC: The Hidden Ways that Architecture Affects How You Feel.

One thing that is guaranteed to make people feel negative about living in a city is a constant sense of being lost or disorientated. Some cities are easier to navigate than others — New York’s grid-like street pattern makes it relatively straightforward, whereas London, with its hotchpotch of neighbourhoods all orientated differently and the Thames meandering through the middle, is notoriously confusing.

I can speak to neither New York (which I found confusing), nor to London, but the Hyde Park neighborhood is one of Austin’s more walkable neighborhoods, and it is built on a pretty rigid grid.

The Traveller and the Sport

I wanted a new fountain pen that would better fit my passport-sized Midori Traveller notebook. I’ve been using a Pilot Metropolitan and a Platinum Preppy. The Metropolitan is a little too fat. The Platinum fits better, but the clear plastic dresses down the Traveller. The Kaweco Classic Sport is a short, pocketable fountain pen that has a barrel that looked like it might fit inside the Midori pen loop without a clip (the Sport doesn’t come with a clip). The pen writes great. The fit in the notebook is okay, but not perfect. You can see how lose it is in the photo below. With a little help with the elastic band, it’s okay. I got the plastic version of the Sport, so I don’t worry about losing it as much as much as I would with a nicer pen.

Kaweco Sport Classic and Midori Traveller
Kaweco Sport Classic and Midori Traveller

Choose Me

It’s common for a movie to have two-dimensional characters, poorly acted, placed in a riveting plot. The Star Wars comes to mind. It’s somewhat more rare for well acted and complex characers to be placed in a manifestly ridiculous plot. But that’s what Choose Me is.
The plot feels like it owes a debt to Three’s Company in that the most improbably coincidences place characters in one another’s bedrooms. But somehow, the characters make it all work. Keith Carradine plays Micky, a mental patient who either escaped or was released from his institution. It’s not explained which. Nor is it explained whether he is a pathological liar or a former spy. Or a romantic or a creep.

Mickey lives in LA and hangs out at a bar named “Eve’s.” He mainly hits on two female roomates.
One roomate is a host of call-in radio sex counsellor. The other roommate owns the bar and is a frequent caller of the radio show. Somehow, neither of the roommates realizes they are talking to each other on this call-in show. You might thing the distictive accent of the radio host would be a tip off.

Describing the plot of the movie makes it sound far more ridiculous than it is. The characters are all neurotic to some extent, and the movie is entirely about their interactions. Just accept the plot as a given, and try to pick out whether the mental patient is really a lover; wheter the sex therapist finds her first love; and wheter the jaded bar owner settles down for a one-man committment.

Merchant of Venice

Sunday before Memorial Day was the last day of the Austin Shakespeare production at Zilker park. Here we are waiting for the play to start.

Crowd waits for the play to start.
Waiting for the play to start

Rock ‘n’ Roll High School

Today’s movie is Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. It a it is an updated, punk-rock version of a Frankie and Annette teen romp, just as the Ramones are an updated version of 60’s pop. And while the Ramones are legit punk, it is too sweet and good natured to feel truly disreputable. That is probably it’s biggest charm. None of the students are really ruining their lives.

The story belongs to two girls: Riff Randall, who thinks school is a drag and just wants to have fun, and her smart friend Kate Rambeau. Kate is apparently on track to be valedictorian but keeps getting in trouble by hanging tight with Riff. It’s like Lindsay from Freaks and Geeks never stopped hanging out with Millie, her mathlete friend. Another break with expected types is the high school star quarterback: he is neither the villian nor a hero. He’s just another dull high school boy who doesn’t know how to talk to girls.

The Ramones play a concert, and while it isn’t really concert footage but it’s great band footage regardless. It was probalby about the most serious thing in the movie. Consisering they played a song about Pinhead at a concert attended by a six foot mouse, that sets a low bar for seriousness.