Well, since I’ve been officially in slack mode for the past month I figured it might be a good time to throw something up on the blog in the form of an explanation for that slackitude. There have been a number of important goings-on here at Rancho Yesteryear that have had a profound effect on my blogging output, and while I haven’t been able to completely iron out the kinks I’m hoping that some of the measures I’ve taken to mow the grass that’s grown will ensure a bit more activity and the return of some of our beloved (and not-so-beloved) features.
A few weeks back, my office chair decided to put in its retirement papers…and since I’m still interviewing candidates for a replacement I haven’t been able to sit down in front of the computer for prolonged periods of time. Right now, I have two temp chairs filling in—one of which leaves my ass numb after ten minutes…the other fifteen. I’ve got a third chair that does rather well when I have to sit and watch movies…but it comes up woefully short whenever typing and other computer-related duties need attending. (Clearly the solution involves funding for a new chair…but that’s a bit down the road a ways.)
True Classics calls them—have both been experiencing some mild health concerns of late; it’s nothing too serious, just the usual complaints when you’re past the “spring chicken” stage…but nevertheless, it’s a situation that I’ve had to monitor closely. As such, I felt it was better for all involved if I relinquished my position as associate editor at ClassicFlix in order to free up time for this, and so I tendered my resignation at the end of January. I’ve not completely severed ties with CF; I will still contribute the occasional movie review and write their “Where’s That Been? (It Must Have Fallen Behind the File Cabinet)” column on a monthly basis—you can access those reviews by clicking on the ClassicFlix logo in the sidebar on the right, and I hope to also include links to these reviews in the “Movies” section of that sidebar before too long.
I included the above picture to show you that the ‘rents are still in the pink as they pose for a birthday snap (Dad's 82nd) with their favorite grandson.
I was appointed head of a sub-committee to look into cheaper options (my fault, really—this is what happens when you leave the room to get a refill on iced tea) and our first choice was DirecTV…but when the competent DirecTV technician came out to install the dish, he informed us that it would not be feasible due to the large amount of “forest” surrounding the house. (We do not live in B.F.E., by the way—it's just our neighborhood is rather heavily shaded, treewise.)
The dispute, from what I have gleaned reading accounts on the Internets, is not unlike the recent kerfuffle between Charter and Atlanta’s WSB-TV; The Weather Channel is demanding a payment increase from DirecTV, and DirecTV has responded with sand and some pounding instructions.
(The fact that INSP has both The Virginian and The High Chaparral would seem to me having it available to your subscribers a must.) If you’re a DirecTV subscriber, and you’d like to make your opinion known on this issue, the details are below (click to embiggen):
I’ve heard mixed reactions to U-Verse (though admittedly more than a few of them are on those Comcast Xfinity commercials…and we don’t get Xfinity in our area) but we’ve not had any problems with it so far. We sprung for the HD option, and to say that both parents have fallen in love with it would be a mild understatement; Mom has been raving about it ever since it was installed. There are two big pluses with the U-Verse: 1) we’ve got a DVR now, which allows me to record movies that I’d like to watch without having to stay up later than normal or set my alarm for same, and 2) both televisions—the one in the living room and my room—get the same programming…which means The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ is now available for viewing in me boudoir. (Oh, and we get both The Weather Channel and INSP…so suck it, DirecTV.)
But on the other hand, I watched those stations only because I couldn’t get Tee Cee Em in the back bedroom. We’re also getting the Encore channels—which means my Gunsmoke habit has started up again via Encore Westerns, and we also have access to FX Movies, IFC and Sundance. (Most of these, sadly, are now riddled with commercials, for which I can only say: boooooo.)
Several of my friends have successfully cut the cable umbilical cord, and I say more power to them; I would love to do likewise but the ‘rents have got a sports jones that constantly needs scratched and not having cable simply wouldn’t be an option for them. (As for Father—well, he’s bummed because The
Military Channel isn’t available in HD.)
What we’ll probably do is keep U-Verse for a year…and then if we can’t
make a deal with Monty Hall when the year is up we’ll go back to Charter…and
then play one off the other the way people used to do by moving from apartment
to apartment when the rent was due. (Don’t
try this at home, kids.)
Working on some outside projects kept me from cobbling together a Coming Distractions in January…but it’s the usual 31 Days of Oscar programming on TCM, so you’ve not missed much. I do want to mention that the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon is currently underway in the same time period (February 1-March 3), hosted by Once Upon a Screen, Outspoken & Freckled and Paula’s Cinema Club—I haven’t officially RSVP’d, but if all goes right I may put forth a post for that.
I have, however, committed to the Sleuthathon—a ‘thon that will doff our respective deerstalkers to the movie and TV detectives of yesteryear, and will be hosted by our good friend Fritzi at Movies Silently. When I approached her about this on Twitter, I originally suggested doing a piece on my favorite small screen crime drama of all time, Naked City…and then a closer examination of the rules and regs revealed to me that the focus is just on detectives—cops is verboten. So I had to change to an examination of the cult detective series Johnny Staccato, starring future auteur John Cassavetes. The Sleuthathon gets underway on March 16th (it’s a two-day affair), so skate on over if you’re interested in participating.
Three other blogathons that I have not officially inked a deal with (okay, more like two) but will probably throw in once I see how my schedule looks include the Big Stars on the Small Screen Blogathon, which will be hosted at How Sweet It Was on March 20 and 21. (Previously unknown trivia fact: the proprietress of How Sweet it Was and Once Upon a Screen are one and the same! Think about it—have you ever seen a picture of them together? I thought not…)
The Diamonds and Gold Blogathon, hosted by the gal reverently referred to here at Rancho Yesteryear as Our Lady of Great Caftan and the indestructible Rich from Wide Screen World, is scheduled to take place from April 12-13. Caftan Woman’s subject is compelling in its simplicity: select an actor or actress who continued to work in films well into their twilight years…and ignore the fact that a good many of them probably had to, because 1) actors have to act and 2) some of them also have to eat. I’ve told Her Caftaness that TDOY will review one of my very favorite silver screen Westerns, The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), which features a man who continued to want to perform even after they nailed his coffin shut: Harry Davenport. (Okay, I may have made this last part up.)
Last—but only because I grouped these by date—and certainly not least is The Romantic Comedy Blogathon, hosted from May 1-4 by Carole & Co. and Backlots, a formidable pair of bloggers that nobody can deny (whoopee!). The title is self-explanatory; it’s a tribute to the great romantic/screwball comedies of the movies, and I do plan to participate…I just need to nail down a topic. It’s one that’s right up the ol’ Thrilling Days of Yesteryear alley.
So if you’ve been sitting around and staring at a blank blog, wondering what cinematic subjects you could possibly explore, you have no excuse for not participating in any of these fine events. (Well, unless you’re trapped in a cave right now. Or dead. But we’ll need a note from your mother.) Okay, my ass is now telling me that my fifteen minutes is up, so I’ll leave things where they’re at and get back to the blog soon.