Monday, March 04, 2013

Update

Well, the weekend was pretty busy, and somehow my time stayed filled, as well.  Amy worked both Saturday and Sunday. 
Even though Amy worked this weekend, we still found time for some fun stuff.
On Friday night we went over to our friend Reid's house to play Artemis with Reid, Jim, and Seth.  I think we've gotten better at that game, but we were playing at a pretty high difficulty setting and using a light cruiser, which isn't an especially powerful ship.  We got beaten up on pretty good.  I think we only successfully fended off an enemy invasion once, and that was when we accidentally started the game playing a dreadnought (a much heavier class of ship) and didn't really realize it until we were halfway through.  We had a fun evening, for sure.
On Saturday Amy went to work, and I spent the morning grocery shopping and doing a few chores.  Saturday afternoon I went for a pretty long bike ride.  It was nice.

(The Reivers of Steanso's youth)
Saturday night Amy and I went to see The Reivers.  The Reivers are a band that was considered sort of "up and coming" and "on the rise" way back when I was in high school.  Along with Poi Dog Pondering, The Reivers sort of helped to define a kind of proto-alternative Austin sound that I remember from way back in my high school years.
Well, a lot of years have obviously gone by, and I guess The Reivers broke up right as I was getting out of high school.  The members of the band went their separate ways.  According to Wikipedia, lead singer John Croslin worked as a producer for bands like Spoon and Guided by Voices while still playing in a band of his own.  The Reivers always had a pretty warm critical reception, and apparently at some point Hootie and the Blowfish even covered a couple of their songs after they split up.
(older, wiser (?) Reivers)
Anyway, after getting back together a few times for benefit shows and special occasions starting in 2008, the band released a new album in 2013.
On Saturday we went and saw them at the Cherrywood Coffeehouse.  They didn't play very long, and they were working up some new songs (seems like they were polishing them up for some bigger upcoming shows), but they sounded good, and it was fun to see them.  As I was telling Amy, their sound, for me, hearkens back a bit to the days of Paul Westerberg and The Replacements.  Their musical style is simple and straightforward, but they have good lyrics, interesting harmonies and melodies, and generally uptempo, catchy tunes.  The crowd, many of whom probably remember The Reivers from bygone days, were definitely a little older than at some other Austin shows, but the audience still had rock and roll in their souls, and everyone had a good time.  As an about-to-be-40 aspiring musician, I appreciated seeing the Reivers do their thing and watching people enjoy it.  You don't have to be The Rolling Stones to keep on rocking.

Sunday we got up and walked to Central Market for breakfast.  We had a nice meal, and then we went for a bike ride.  The weather was nice.  We pedaled around the Bouldin Creek neighborhood and talked and enjoyed the sunshine.
As it got closer to noon we rode home.  Amy went to work in the afternoon.
While Amy worked I attended a baby shower that my friend, Jennifer, threw for my friends Rosa and Nathan and their son, Dash.  They've got a daughter on the way.  It was a pleasant afternoon.  Tasty food, good drinks, and nice company.  It was a nice, sunny day for that sort of event. 
Amy made delicious chicken tinga for dinner Sunday night.  I really like that dish.  It was in the slow cooker, and it made our house smell good.
In the evening we watched Homeland.  I'm liking Homeland, but, as Amy has figured out, I've watched a lot of espionage shows and movies over the years.  I've been having a little bit of difficulty with it, not because there's really anything terrbily wrong with the show, but just because it's received so much hype and acclaim.  It's always so much harder to enjoy something when you go in with high expectations.  Also, I really enjoyed the show Rubicon, which ultimately failed because of low viewer ratings, and the movie Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which had some critical success but a smaller audience than it probably deserved.
Both Rubicon and Tinker Tailor suffered from complaints that their pacing was too slow to keep the attention of an audience.  Personally, I thought that both did a good job of gradually and steadily developing their characters and plot lines.  In both Rubicon and Tinker I felt like climactic moments were made much more satisfying by the slow build to a crescendo out of early moments of subtlety and nuance.
Homeland isn't a bad show, but has a lot of sort of in-your-face drama right from the start (in case the spy stuff doesn't grab you, you also get the dramatic home life of a returning POW and a wild card, maverick protagonist who struggles to control her "mood disorder"). 
I guess it's not that I dislike Homeland- it's more about the fact that I'm seeing the pacing and style that are required in order to really engage audiences for a modern espionage program, and I'm realizing that some of my favorite stories probably never stood a chance.
Still intrigued by Homeland, though.  Now that I've written this, I realize I'm mostly bemoaning the failure of other things.  Gonna stick with it!
Anyway, that's it for now.
Hope you guys are off to the beginning of a good week!

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