Is This Thing On?

OK, everyone, vacation's over (hey, Larry! Hi, Dennis! Nice to see you, Campaspe! Settle down, Lapper!). Time to get settled in once more...

I'm a few days back from a six-week whirlwind tour-- first to Michigan (to see my family), then to Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida again, and finally back to Alabama once more, traveling around the south with The Babe as I helped her move from Gainesville to Auburn, where she will begin a new job teaching at the University. Internet access was available, but I made a conscious decision not to blog as much.

In part, it was because of the busyness of the move, seeing people, spending time with loved ones, eating and sight-seeing, etc. I love my loyal readers, but luxuriating in five glorious weeks with The Babe is always going to take priority over posting. I don't necessarily believe in the split between one's work (be it teaching, researching, writing or blogging) and one's private life: in the best moments, there's a real fluidity and dialogue between those two spheres (and to paraphrase Pauline, if blogging's not fun, what is it? Punishment?). But it was nice to unplug for a moment and do other things, to see movies or read the news or experience some small moment of everyday life without thinking, "Hmm..I should really blog about that."

It's odd being back in Ohio, realizing the summer is creeping to its end, and I miss my beautiful girlfriend more than I can properly express. But recharged and refreshed after a lengthy pause, it is nice to be back blogging again. I wouldn't dare promise you anything specific (we all know my track record on promised blogjects), but this here space should see more regular postings on something henceforth. In the meantime, I want to direct your attention to Dennis Lim's marvelous look at Elliot Gould, and the upcoming BAMcinematek's series on the actor's work (oh, how lucky you New Yorkers are to have it near you!).

I'm glad that Lim takes special note of The Long Goodbye, easily my favorite Gould film, although my favorite slice of his style might be the opening to California Split. Gould sits in front of a slot machine whose computerized voice is reading out instructions; in the face of such mechanized silliness, the essential, jazzy humanity of the actor's mannerisms is thrown into even starker relief. He mumbles to himself, chats back to the machine, cracks obscure jokes under his breath, as if in hip conspiracy with the audience. It's funny, inventive, sarcastic, and unpredictable-- in other words, the perfect model for blogging.


Bob Westal said…
Hey, welcome back.

And I'm still getting over the ending to "The Long Goodbye", and I've seen it at least four times. How much can a man love a cat and hate a human?
Brian Doan said…
Thanks, Bob! I know, isn't that ending amazing? I love how it alternates between the brutally dark and the ironically jaunty (with Gould's dance down the lane).
Bob Westal said…
Of course, it's also utterly un-Chandler -- something I thought I'd hate for a number of reasons before I saw it, but somehow it makes sense in context.
Brian Doan said…
I guess in some ways it's Un-Chandler-- it certainly doesn't seem to fit his image of that good man going down the dark alley to fight evil, or the image of the white knight that Marlowe ponders in THE BIG SLEEP. But I find its moody, unsettled vision of LA-- and the sense of irony that always seemed to lurk behind Chandler's proclamations about that white knight detective--very much in the spirit of at least sections of his novels and stories.

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