27 February 2014

Leaders of the New School

Listening to: Taylor Dayne, "Heart of Stone." Yeah I just found out about Taylor last week. Yeah, last week. As per usual, my Eighties music butler struck again. Lilly was jamming out while we were working and I'm like "Who is this, Belinda?" She proceeded to educate me and now I can't stop going through Dayne's greatest hits. Technically I know "Love Will Lead You Back" and "Tell It To My Heart" and all that stuff but when you don't know the artist, it's not the same, right?

The other big shocker is that Dayne is white. This rocked my world like when I found out that Billy Ocean was black. Related newsflash: Donna Summer is black. This is just getting embarrassing right? Bill Simmons has the Reggie Cleveland All-Stars, a "list of sports figures whose names would seem to indicate that they are of a different race or ethnicity than they actually are." Should the "sings like they're a different race/ethnicity club" be dubbed the Taylor Dayne All-Stars? Anyway, up next from my personal Eighties music butler is Jody Watley and Stacey Q. (I wouldn't know anything worth knowing without Lilly.) Also, read this: "Tig Notaro Meets Taylor Dayne Again and Again (2012)," plus accompanying video.

There’s a me-sized hole on our couch from the last few weekends of sitting around and burning through movies. I found myself watching stuff in marathon sessions, like six hours at a stretch. At least they were thematic so I could declare them as fiftyfifty.me minors. For example, I started off with J.C. Chandor’s Margin Call one night and then, intrigued by more stuff on the sub-prime lending fiascos, went through The Flaw and then The Pit, a movie about Wall Street commodities trading.

A couple of days later I started at Patriot Games and then with more political thrillers needed in my system, I called up Jack Ryan again in The Hunt for Red October and then The Sum of All Fears. If Clear and Present Danger was streaming I probably would have sat through that too. (Now I feel all but obligated to watch Shadow Recruit.) Were the films actually good? Eh, mostly average, but when you need that CIA fix you need that CIA fix.

And then I discovered that HBO Go had all their old series on tap and shot through Band of Brothers in about a week. Ten hours, one week. That's a lot of binge watching but nothing compared to what was about to come. I discovered Deadwood on a Friday night and finished the whole thing by Tuesday. Feining for a Western, I queued up Clint and Sergio's Fistful of Dollars but couldn’t get into it. So I dove into Deadwood instead and twelve hours later, emerged with the entirety of Season 1 under my belt. I seriously only got up to go to the bathroom.

Deadwood was on from 2004-2006 and is set in the 1870s during a South Dakota gold rush. Timothy Olyphant plays the white hat sheriff while Ian McShane is perfectly cast as a morally ambiguous saloon owner who Godfathers the town. The series is semi-historically accurate, with cameos from a series of Western folk heroes such as Wild Bill, Calamity Jane, and Wyatt Earp. Each episode ends on such a compelling note that I had to press on.

By the time I’d finished all three seasons -- the show was cruelly cancelled early -- I was thinking in writer/showrunner David Milch’s Shakespearean tinged lines, and wanting to call everyone “cocksucker.” The show has a ton of viciously fun profanity, wanton murders, and all sorts of bad things, plus the ingenious machinations and changing alliances hold your attention in both awe and disgust. I could go on forever, but I’m too busy trying to figure out where Deadwood falls in my personal pantheon of TV series. I’m almost afraid to admit it but it might rank above Mad Men right now. And I fucking love me some Mad Men.

For most of 2007, I worked at a home mortgage place up in the Bay. I had the 7am - 4pm shift and it was horrible. The job was mostly mindless and after getting the hang of it and doing great for a few months, I lost interest and soon quit. I did learn a lot though, as we credit checked people for approvals, set them up for loans, and participated in all the stuff that are now red alarm terms: subprime lending, interest-only mortgages, , adjustable-rate mortgages, etc. Basically, I too had a small hand in the coming financial meltdown.

Out of curiosity, I Googled my old company to see what had happened to it. Apparently, a few months after I quit, the company fired five hundred employees as part of its restructuring, and there’s no doubt I would have been let go too. Looks like I got out of Dodge just in time!