Gen X home buyers

Because that could be me in the near future I was interested in this article about generational home-buying preferences. While interesting, informative and mostly on the mark, I think it did get a few things wrong.

For example, it claims that Generation X dwarfs the Boomers in size.

The Gen X population, estimated at 81 million strong, dwarfs the baby boomer generation, which numbers roughly 67 million Americans.

That’s not true. Most agree that the Baby Boom generation is bigger than Generation X, and Millennials (Gen Y) are bigger than both. If anything, the numbers seem to be flipped.

Also, when the article states:

Gen X homebuyers grew up with laptops and web-surfing as a way of life. Gen Xers’ careers are important to them, and chances are, a fully wired home office will be, too.

It seems to be confusing Gen X with Gen Y. Because while our careers are important to us we did not “grow up” with laptops and web surfing. I think it is more accurate to say that we came of age at the same time as lap tops and web surfing. I know that I didn’t grow up with these things.

Still, on the whole an interesting article, which is part of three-part series. Boomers have already been covered, first of course. And Millennials are coming.

Mike’s movie recs

My friend Mike emailed me this morning about a couple of movies he thought I might be interested in. He’s a whiz at finding really interesting stuff that I would never come across otherwise. So I thought I’d share:

A couple of movies to recommend–one is “Sweet Smell of Success,” a 1957 movie with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. It’s definitely in my top 10, and I like to rewatch it every year or so. I think you’d especially like the dialogue–tight and snappy as hell. It’s kind of a noir film about the press, probably the best movie in that subgenre (if there is one) ever made, and still relevant today. The way the characters are so morally bankrupt is still a shock–there’s a scene where Tony Curtis pimps out a female friend, in exchange for a press mention, that’s heartbreaking. Burt Lancaster gives one of the greatest performances ever–for some reason, I always think of it together with Alec Baldwin in “Glengarry Glen Ross.” I mean, this guy is one scumbag. Get your hands on a copy if you can–I think you’ll really enjoy it.

The other one is a movie that I’d heard about for years but was never able to get my hands on–Todd Haynes’s first film, “Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story.” It became legendary on the independent circuit in the ’80s, especially after it was pulled from circulation when Richard Carpenter filed a lawsuit–almost the entire soundtrack is Carpenters songs, which Haynes never got permission to use. (The film is pretty critical, too, so I’m sure that played a part in it.) The gimmick, if that’s what it is, is that the whole movie is “acted” with Barbie dolls–and yet it isn’t jokey or campy. It’s actually very touching. It was made for nothing and looks it in a lot of parts, but somehow the graininess and “dirty” look adds to the sordid atmosphere. (On the other hand, it also makes use of very detailed and carefully scaled sets, which is kind of fascinating in itself.)

You can’t get it on DVD or VHS, except for bootlegs, and I’d forgotten about it until a few days ago. Since one of the neighbors’ high-speed wireless connections was up and working, I decided to search for it online. Sure enough, you can find the whole thing on Google video. It’s about 45 minutes long. The next time you have a free hour, you might want to give it a look. At the very least, it’s like no other movie you’ve ever seen.

Thanks, Mike!

Amityville Horror House for sale

Cost: a mere $1.5 million, according to Gawker.

Sounds like a deal for a place you can brag was the scene for multiple murders. Or was it really? There’s always been some dispute about how true the story really was/is. Still, the book and the movie were pretty formative events  in my life. The book more so than the movie, although the movie really freaked me out. Not as much as The Exorcist, which is still the scariest movie I have ever seen. Back then horror movies weren’t tongue in cheek or ironic or played with a knowing wink to the audience. They were played straight and deadly serious.

Anyhoo…for me the book was a much bigger deal. I used the carry that tattered paperback that I got from the used book store around with  me everywhere. I’d read it between classes and even during class if I could get away with it. In Language Arts class (why it wasn’t just called English I have not a freaking clue) we had free reading time on Fridays and that was one of my books. I read mostly horror back then. I got a thrill out of it. In fact, to increase the rush I’d sometimes get up in the middle of the night to read alone in the dark with a flashlight. For the Amityville Horror I’d purposely read at 3:15 am, the supposed time that the murders took place. Just to freak myself out.

Thanks to Mike for hipping me to this news.

30 year Empire

Really? It’s been thirty years since The Empire Strikes Back was released in theaters? Wow. How time flies, eh.

Empire is my favorite in the Star Wars series, and I think arguably it is the best of the six films. The author of this article on salon.com backs that up.

The Empire Strikes Back, raised the bar on science fiction and fantasy storytelling. I would argue that it set the standard for the entire saga, becoming the measuring rod by which the other episodes in the Star Wars tale are judged.  I would also argue that no other Star Wars film has really lived up to the greatness of Episode V.  Of course the prequels are easily bashed, but not even A New Hope or Return of the Jedi had the scope, gravitas, and amazing story arc of The Empire Strikes Back.

Indubitably!

Perhaps I’ll celebrate this Memorial Day weekend by watching it with my daughter, who is 9 and loves all things Star Wars. She’d have to to be my kid.

the urge to purge

I got it!

But I’m not talking self-induced puking. Ew! Gross!

I emailed a friend recently that I had the strong urge to just chuck out all my writing that I have stored on my computer and all the books on my bookshelf. This is not an uncommon impulse for me. I get it ever few years or so.

My friend interpreted my comments as a desire to simplify my life, but it seemed more than that. I really wanted to wipe the slate clean. To what purpose I can hardly say.

Perhaps it has something to do with my non-existent professional writing career. As an amateur, i.e. non-paid writer, I’m doing quite well. But as someone who banks Benjamins via writing not so much. In fact, not at all. I rarely, if ever, use my writing skills in my current job, which is a big part of the reason I’m looking for new working digs. Besides, 6 years seems long enough — time to fly away little birdy. Fly fly fly! Fly fly fly!

Problem: Michigan employment atmosphere sucks! They say it is getting better, and with an undergrad and grad degree I’m in a better position than most, but still… It doesn’t seem all the great.

Maybe my urge to purge has something to do with feeling as I’m stagnating, you know. At least chucking all my stuff would be something. Right now feels as if there is little if any movement in my life.

Or maybe it is claustrophobia. I moved from a 1,100 sq. ft. house to living in a single bedroom, and with all those books on top of the usual furniture and junk, it’s feels even smaller. And it’s transitory, you know, not really my place/space. I’m just holding up there while I save some cash and figure out my next move.

In the past, I wouldn’t have had a problem just chilling for a time, but now, I don’t know. Life seems more immediate, and suddenly shorter, and maybe that’s because technically it is.  But also time seems to be moving faster. Must be a thing that happens after you turn 40.

In the end, I know I’m not going to chuck anything out. I couldn’t even if I tried. Just need to channel this energy in a productive direction, you know. Like copy editing a piece of fiction that I just finished a draft of.

Something anyway.

Off weekend

It’s an off weekend, which means Addy is with her mom.

Our weekends had been pretty fluid, and we were all spending time together no matter whose weekend it was. But this weekend is a bit less so, though I’ll still see Addy on Sunday night. I guess we’re easing into more defined boundaries.

Anyhoo… what it means is that I need to find ways to occupy my time. More so than past weekends. Of course blogging helps, and I can do some other writing, work on my fiction. I can go see a movie, although I’m really trying to NOT spend money right now, as much as possible anyway, even though I could use a new pair of shoes…and jeans. But no! Funds must be saved! It is…imperative. Gasp!

Time drags on off weekends. It doesn’t help that it’s raining. Not a downpour or thunderstorm or threat of tornado, that would at least give me something to focus on, take my mind off … things. No. It’s just a steady drizzle, a mist really, persistent and with enough of chill to make you shiver a little.

It’s gray.