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 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.


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.

Coupland cleans house

Check out this blog post about Douglas Coupland donating his papers to the University of British Columbia.

Among the more interesting items to me is the first draft of Coupland’s breakout novel, “Generation X,” and a manuscript for an unpublished novel entitled “1991” but which was later retitled “The Day the Muzak Died,” which I thinks is much more interesting. Oh yeah, also a Generation X comic strip.

I am sure that Coupland’s papers will be one of the more eccentric and interesting collections that exist.

Less Than Zero sequel

Brett Easton Ellis’ follow up to Less Than Zero is due to be released June 15th. It’s titled Imperial Bedrooms.

I would never have thought of Ellis as a sequel kind of guy but he has moved from NYC back to LA and is working to produce films now, several of which are based on his novels. Perhaps he’s caught the sequel bug from Hollywood.

If so, one wonders if perhaps there is a follow up to American Pyscho kicking around in Ellis’ imagination.

And is there the possibility of a movie sequel as well? To American Psycho as well as Less Than Zero (i.e. a movie of Imperial Bedrooms,duh).

In any case, I plan to nab me a copy of Imperial Bedrooms, the day it comes out, if possible. I’ve read everything else the dude’s written, so I’m not going to stop now. Besides I’m curious to see what Clay, Blair,  Julian, Rip and the gang are up to in their 40s.

Stay tuned for my stunningly  insightful review…if I get around to it that is.


Stands for: Start Making It Livable for Everyone.

A little cryptic, right.

It’s part of the early intervention program for divorcing couples with minor children. After about a 45 minute lecture from a Referee, a lawyer, about how you can really screw up your kids by not getting along in a post-divorce world you are required to watch a couple of videos and listen to another mini-lecture about how  you can really screw up your kids by not getting along in the post-divorce world. A message so nice you have to hear it twice.

Video production was pretty lame, but it was worthwhile, just as a reminder of what NOT to do, and what you can do that will be helpful. Honestly, I didn’t mind, and was in fact glad that this was provided. Too bad this sort of thing wasn’t around when many of GeXs parents were divorcing; might have avoided a lot inflicting a lot of damage on a lot of kids. Ah, well, as the French say, C’est la vie

However, can’t help wondering if this meeting doesn’t have at least something to do with my heightened state of agitation this morning. Seriously, I feel like I’ve already hit my tipping point on coffee — shaking hands, increased heart rate, sure I’m going to bite someone’s head off any second and for the most minor of offenses, real or imagined.

Sitting in that little office with the county seal on the wall and the big  elevated desk that the Ref/Lawyer sits behind — she even had a freaking gavel, for crying out loud — made things seem really “real,” you know.

I hate it when things get real!