The Uncut Life

I read three stories this morning that...hmm. Let me think for a second. I guess the point is that I read them. First thing in the morning, I tend to skim. It was a late night, so a late start anyway, and coffee doesn't seem to work any faster at 8am than 7. I look at headlines a lot.

One was about the crazy dockless bike situation here in Seattle (we get a full one-quarter of all the bikes in the USA right here in this city), which sounds like a mess. It's a city that's always been a little annoying when it comes to nanny-ing the rest of us, so how funny that this city of bike riders has also become a city of bike litterers. You can't spit without hitting one of these bikes.

You should not spit on anything. Personal opinion.

And then there was a WaPo story about a musician whose college girlfriend deleted his acceptance letter to a prestigious conservatory and thus seriously altered the trajectory of his career (he did OK anyway, but it's kind of horrifying to read how this one act of foolish whatever, jealously or possessiveness or something worse, had such life-changing consequences--he only recently discovered the truth, and is now suing the ex-girlfriend).

Finally, there was a GREAT article on baking DONUTS.

So my morning is just fine. Interesting, thoughtful. Ambitious. DONUTS.

...

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We went to Benaroya Hall last night to see the Seattle Symphony perform Leonard Bernstein's Wonderful Town, complete with chorus and soloists. Like Candide, which I finally saw a few years ago, I was familiar with the Bernstein score without ever seeing the production. This was a concert version but enough to make me feel as though I crossed something off a list.

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It was fine, and fun, although the singers were less appropriate for the Betty Comden-Adolph Green lyrics and style (classical singers, they were, and diction was kind of awful, even mic-ed up as much as they were). But fun nonetheless.

I'm playing around with growing a little facial hair, as you might notice. It's been a while since the last time. We're at about the one-week stage so it's on the ugly/itchy side for now. Last time I tried this, I accidentally shaved half of it off one morning, so we'll see (coffee! Work harder!).

And while I'm griping about my personal appearance, I'm pretty late for a haircut. Since my hair has started thinning in a big way lately (not that this is new), it's kind of a decision on which way to go, none of this being important in any way, not even me. I just think about this stuff and procrastinate.

And yesterday, finally going out to get trimmed up, as I was literally sitting in the chair with the tissue paper around my collar and everything, the stylist just wandering off to find some clippers, my wife texted to inform me that she had a hair appointment in 20 minutes. About 20 minutes away. With me having our one car.

So, ripping off the tissue paper in a way that I sincerely hoped reminded folks of Clark Kent heading for a phone booth, I left uncut and shaggy.

But she looked nice.

...

I'm now less than 45 days from my 60th birthday. I'm trying really, really hard to make this a big thing, but I don't seem to have the ambition required. There's nothing momentous about this, at least in my life, no decades of something to look back on, just a life. And 60 doesn't feel like anything special, although I understand the relative nature of this.

I'm slowly adjusting to my status, too. It's hard for a guy who's been working from home since he was 30. I got kind of stuck at 30, in a way. I forget sometimes.

But I haven't forgotten my father, so I'm sticking with him, at least for the weekend. He made it to 67 by a few days, so that's enough to stir up some personal gratitude for having lived long enough to see 60, and be reasonably healthy. I've had what feels suspiciously like a cold the past few days, with 48 hours or so of some mild weirdness, taking a nap one day for several hours, not remembering details, etc. Looking back, thanks to Facebook, I see that this isn't unusual for June, or for me.

I have no idea what's happening on Father's Day. I've got a few things to decide, and sometimes John wants to make these things a big deal. I appreciate this, although, you know. My dad's gone now. It's not the same, and as much as I love my children and will bask in their adoration this Sunday...there won't be a lot of adoration. We don't really take these holidays seriously, in this house, and I approve. I won't be gloomy in the least. I'll probably just be thinking of Dad, good thoughts.

I do wish you fathers out there a special day, though. If you can wrangle one, I mean. I'm all for the special.

And I guess I should mention that if you're looking for something to watch with a fatherly feel, I have a suggestion.

The above is what Arthur (writer/director) called a sneak preview, not a trailer. It's just a scene from Winning Dad, which some of you know about, and almost none of you have seen.

It won't hurt my feelings if you don't watch. Really. I don't have much of a stake anymore. It just came to mind (again, thanks Facebook).

My feelings were hurt a few years ago, actually. I'm over it. For literally three years I talked about it, the year leading up to production, the summer we filmed it, the year of waiting and editing and color-correcting and recording additional dialogue, then the festivals all over the world and the excellent reviews, and the Seattle premiere and finally the release on home video. People all over were very excited; many of them contributed to our Kickstarter to raise the funds needed to start filming.

And none of them bothered to watch it. It was amazing, to me. I mean, some people did, and some people I didn't expect to, and I was charmed and stunned and just kind of overwhelmed by some of them.

But most of my friends? Naw. A few even asked me for directions (and I gave a few codes for free rentals). A couple made bold Facebook posts about how they were going to watch it that very night.

Maybe they did, and they hated it so much they were afraid to say anything. There's always that.

But I doubt this. Any film is going to have naysayers, and it's dumb to dispute an opinion. I can think of lots of qualities this film has or hasn't, but it's definitely not a bad movie. It's simple, I suppose is the worst criticism. Simple, short, and maybe not as nuanced as the writer would have hoped, given all sorts of things (a bigger budget, for one thing).

I've never figured this out, this abandonment, or my feelings of abandonment. Some of these people I started out with, took acting classes with, lurched around high school stages with, had late-night dorm-room conversations about Shakespeare and Orson Welles and John Ford with. It seemed funny to me, and it hurt my feelings.

But, as I say, I'm far away from that now. I don't particularly care, and in fact when someone I know finally watched it, two years after the fact, I got a nice message loaded with critical comments, which baffled me. This was for...what, exactly? My next film role?

Anyway. I don't want to seem bitter because I'm not, just older and wiser. I love my friends, and I could certainly be more supportive of them, you know.

And I was heading into very strange territory by then, wasting away and fighting off some serious shit, so who knows. I've gone years before seeing a movie I really wanted to see. I shouldn't take it personally. It was my thing, not theirs.

It's just that they said they would. If you follow.

But not bitter, really, and anyway, if you want to watch, you can rent it for $4 at Vimeo, which is sort of a prestige streaming platform for filmmakers. You sign up for a free account (they only charge people who upload films, and only for a certain amount of hours per week), then rent the usual way (or buy, for $8). If you have an Apple TV or Roku or Fire or something else that lets you access internet video on your television, then bigger is better. I guess it works pretty well on a computer monitor, though.

Just thought I'd toss that out, then. And Happy Father's Day, again, to those who appreciate that kind of thing. Everyone's a winner this Sunday.

 Looking like a movie star, you betcha.

Looking like a movie star, you betcha.

Chuck Sigars1 Comment