Landlocked Film Festival

I had a chance to attend parts of the Landlocked Film Festival, Iowa City’s answer to Cannes. I watched a couple of programs of short films. One program was billed as comedies, the other as dramas. I enjoyed the comedies more. They didn’t take themselves as seriously and seemed to be made for the sheer joy of filmmaking. For example, “Deathstu”, about a socially inept serial killer named Stu who goes on a date, was made by a 14 year-old and his buddies.

Some of the dramas, on the other hand, were heavy film school productions, including one animation that reminded me of a screen saver. Another, titled “Look Through the Clown’s Eye” was about a guy who envies the broken head of a clown figurine, saying things like “my body is body—it’s not me.” The filmmaker was there and after listening to him I understood better where he was coming from: it was simply an assignment at NYU.

A real adult

I’ve never been the type of person to be anxious about milestone birthdays or the prospect of getting older. I have noticed, though, that the older I get the more aware of getting older I become.

I read in the paper about the Beloit College Mindset List, an annual list compiled to remind college professors that their students have a completely different set of cultural references. The salient point for me, though, was that I started college as many years ago as the class that is starting college today was born. I still don’t feel old, but I am a generation older than some other adults. You could say I’m in my late teens of adulthood.

I intend for this is to be the last I write on this topic for a while. I don’t want this blog to become a cliche on aging.

Remember Sniglets?

Remember “Sniglets”? They don’t seem to have survived into the Internet age, possibly (according to the one article I could find about it) because their author, Rich Hall, has moved on for the sake of his career. There is no official “Sniglets” website and they appear on some other websites with apparent impunity from copyright laws.

Streets of Iowa City

Groups of students with band instruments practice on a field.
The impending football season is always a sign of late summer.

Since it’s back to school time, Iowa City is being repopulated by “stoonts”. Mostly I notice the bad driving, which has been compounded by a sudden rash of street construction all around town. I’m not sure why the city waited until August to start all these much needed street repairs. Anyway, I bicycled with Lore over incompletely repaved streets to work this morning. On the way we found the university marching band practicing on a field. They weren’t marching but practicing with their instrument groups around a mock football field.

A sand sculpture of a bear roasting a marshmallow over a campfire.
This was probably the cutest sand sculpture of the lot.

Downtown, this weekend is Sand in the City, a sand sculpture competition and festival. Lore wondered out loud why a landlocked city like Iowa would have such an event. It’s a fun thing for the returning students and their parents who can be seen accompanying them around town during the weekend before classes start.

Speaking of landlocked, the Landlocked Film Festival is next weekend. I’ve missed it every summer. I’d like to break that streak.

Smears of black grease in the shape of a bicycle gear on a man's leg.
I've been thinking about where I can use this pattern.

I had a little mishap on my bike. I’m embarrassed to say it happened while I was walking it across the street and more embarrassed to say I don’t know why it tipped over, but I got an massive smear of chain grease on my calf. It looked like an interesting tattoo when I squinted and ignored the lacerations.

First Blood

I’ve never seen “First Blood”. Before you roll your eyes, remember that I was eight years old when this movie was released and that my parents, unlike some others, weren’t the types to let an eight year-old watch an R-rated movie. By the time I was old enough to watch it I was also old enough to not give a damn.

But we watched it tonight. I was surprised by how many other movies borrowed from it. “Predator”, for example, was essentially the same movie with an vagina-faced alien instead of a fat country sheriff.

“First Blood” has some merit as an action film but I don’t think it is a good movie.  It’s often praised for portraying the problems some Vietnam War veterans had returning to civilian life, but this commentary consists mostly of a short monologue by Sylvester Stallone at the end. It’s also very campy. Richard Crenna seemed like a character out of another generation of films (like the John Wayne generation) and just didn’t seem to fit in.