Saturday, May 12, 2007

Time to Get The Hell Out

Our apartment complex was bought by new owners.

For the last five years Rita and I have been living happily in West Seattle, in a complex run by fairly nice people; nice location, reasonable--hell, cheap, even--rent, and quiet neighbors who don't induce either of us to jab lead pipes into our temples. Of course, this couldn't last.

Earlier this year, the new owners (or as I like to affectionately dub them, the jackbooted fascists) took over the property. They're converting the south end of this thirty-building complex to condominiums. They'll likely do the same to the north end (our neck of the woods) within a year. To prepare for this eventuality (or maybe just because they're greedy jerks), they've pulled out a whole gallery of A#&hole Landlord Toy Surprises: Copious random apartment inspections with zero notification time, an attempted $200 rent hike with thirty days notice (a flagrant violation of Seattle landlord-tenant law), a chronic inability to answer the telephone (beating baby seals and kicking old people has a way of pulling you away from the phone, I guess) and a palpably snotty disdain for the pathetic serfs who currently reside here.

It all begs the question: why do so many landlords have to be such moustache-twirling Snidely Whiplash knockoffs? It seems so much more labor-intensive than just being civil to your fellow man. Then again, I'm not so obsessively devoted to money that I roll around in it like an especially stupid and belligerent dog in cat poop.

Enough grumbling: The good news is that life goes on. After much frantic scrambling, the missus and myself found an old but nifty and spacious house on the south side of Lake Washington. The rent's reasonable, our new landlady seems like a decent human being, and we get a panoramic lakeside view to boot.

Of course, we've gotta move out of our old digs by the end of this month, when both of us are experiencing some of the busiest times ever at our respective places of employment. And the massive pile of DVD's, books, CD's, vinyl LP's, and various hunks of pop culture detritus in which Rita and I currently reside will be a mightily formidable moving challenge. But this too shall pass. With an asskicking view, besides.

All of the above tumult means that I may not be posting for awhile (like I'm Mr. Prolific in the first place). This isn't to say, however, that the old Pop Culture Absorption Gland hasn't been fully inflamed between spare breaths. I've got about a half-dozen entries in various stages of completion, and a few random huzzahs to hurl your way in the meantime:

Amy Winehouse, Back in Black CD: How a little British girl who looks like the more rebellious little sister of Janice from Friends can sound like a magnificent blend of Billie Holiday, Mary Wells, and Dusty Springfield is utterly beyond me. She writes powerful, timely, and timelessly soulful tunes. And her current success on this side of the pond damn near restores my faith in the American record-buying public.

Grindhouse: This lovingly-rendered opus from Messrs. Tarantino and Rodriguez is much more than mere pastiche and tribute: It's one of the most joyously entertaining movies I've seen in ages, and a valiant fist in the air at the antiseptic coldness that's settled over mainstream cinema since accountants wrested control of the motion picture industry away from creative people. The movie's abject failure on this side of the pond has damn near obliterated my faith in the American movie-going public.

Hot Fuzz: The gents behind Shaun of the Dead produce an unlikely-yet-sublime alloy of quaint British comedy of manners and Bruckheimer-palooza excess. That's nerdspeak for "funny as Hell."

Jarvis Cocker, The Jarvis Cocker Album CD: One of the greatest lyricists in the English language is back. 'Nuff said. OK, maybe not, as a big fat Blog on Cocker's fine work is in the offing.

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard: Caught a fine UW Drama School production of Stoppard's work last week (it's sadly since closed). This play bounces back and forth between the 1800's and the present day with a Citizen Kane-style unraveling of a century-old mystery that proves to be trenchantly witty, revealing, bittersweet, and ultimately profound.

More later: There always is. Drop me a line and let me know how you are in the meantime.