You know life has changed when you consider a planned trip to get your car inspected a grand day out.
Tired of working on a card table, I ordered a proper desk last week. We’ve been talking about setting up an office area in my man cave for years . It took a pandemic to get it done. Sebastian and Juan, the delivery guys, couldn’t have been nicer. They impressively reversed their large truck up my long hilly driveway. I have problems driving it facing forward. Being the socially distancing fool I now am, I improvised on my tipping and stuck cash in my garage door. I yelled instructions to the crew from high on my front porch, safe at thirty feet.
I’m very pleased with my new set up.
Those that have visited my office in Manhattan know that I like to keep my Libery Plaza space interesting. It’s more Karl’s Kuriousity Shop than Korporate. When I took my two month sabbatical in 2018, I made a point of collecting key chains from every stop I made. That was the start of my office wall pin board collection. My friends now bring me key rings from their travels and I buy them when available at concerts. Throw in an assortment of movie & tv memorabilia and dozens of Funkos and you’ve got my unprofessional den . My favorite dork item may be the Breaking Bad snow globe encasing the BB RUV with blue crystal meth for snow flakes. The one item worth swiping is my original Blade Runner poster. Come visit sometime.
I found a computer manual in my desk once, but it belonged to Socrates.
I took a vacation day and completed another little project that couldn’t be put off anymore – our car inspections. The Escalade is months overdue . I took care of my little Mercedes today, which is only a few weeks late. Job done for $25 bargain – no problems. It’s strange times when the muffler lounge in Northeast looks more like an assortment of people from a hospital waiting room.
They had HGTV on in the lounge . I thought if I heard one more mention of fucking crown molding; opening up the room to more light; hardwood floors; high fucking ceilings; soothing spaces; cracked sconces; I’m leaving Northeast and driving to the Salisbury Muffler Queen. What is this mysterious curb appeal everyone speaks of? In these stressful times may I no longer get annoyed at having to wait for service? Can I no longer indulge in such pettiness as getting pissed off at public waiting room TV channels? I’m still a fucking New Yorker. I said nothing , per Coronavirus rules of civility.
My buddy Socrates suggested desk related movies as a theme, including Glengarry, Glen Ross.
Glengarry, Glen Ross is the feel bad movie to beat, and I mean that as a huge compliment. The David Mamet movie adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize winning play centers around two days in the office lives of four toxic real estate agents, vying for sales to keep their jobs. This movie possibly has the power cast of the past 30 years; Pacino, Lemmon, Spacey, Harris. These guys swear like I do so Glengarry has got endlessly quotable dialogue, for me. Alec Baldwin is featured in one poisonously demoralizing scene, but it’s hands down his best acting ever.
Socrates suggestec 9 to 5 in there but it’s too nice a film for me and I’m also not a fan of Office Space.
The gold standard newsroom film is unarguably All The Presidents Men. Starring Redford and Hoffman as journalists Bernstein and Woodward, the movie covers the back story of The Washington Post investigation into Watergate. William Goldman, the screenwriter’s screenwriter, won an Oscar for his screenplay. It’s a masterclass . The film makers recreated the Washington Post press room down to the smallest detail and this dynamic retelling makes you feel like you are right in there at their desks fighting against deadlines. A whip smart rewatchable .
William Goldman also wrote what’s considered the greatest book on Hollywood and screenplay writing. Adventures in The Screen Trade is a must read for anyone that loves film. Goldman had a love/hate relationship with the movie industry and his instructional tell all is gossipy, smart and bitchy fun.
Goldman won anothef Oscar for his original Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid screenplay. Now there’s a ray of sunshine for a rainy day. It’s a pleasure to watch the two mega stars, Newman & Redford, shine in the easy going Western classic.
Then watch both actors together again as a pair of con artists in best picture winner, The Sting . This co-stars the always excellent Robert Shaw as the prohibition era gangster villain, the man Redford and Newman want to take down. This one twists and turns until the end and you will be humming The Entertainer for days afterwards.
For an office based novel I’m going with The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. This novel from 2010 hovers around the private lives of the people working the desks in an English language newspaper run out of Rome. This read was a pleasant surprise.
The Office, the supreme original English series ran for only 12 episodes and a couple of Christmas specials. The fly on the wall mocumentary follows clueless branch manager David Brent’s life as he struggles and fails in his middle management role, running a Slough based paper factory. The Brits got it right, knowing when to stop. I’ve never watched the American version.