Overzealous Recycling 014: Hodor, we’re becoming a real newsletter!

Maybe it’s because I have extra time on my hands with the Easter holiday weekend and major rain here in Asheville, but it feels like time to put my mail where my mouth is.

— If you missed the last Overzealous Recycling, you can read it here 

I keep saying this isn’t a newsletter and have posted that content here instead. But the reasons I haven’t really followed through on trying to do a newsletter is a) not having anybody sign up would be kind of depressing and b) I’m not writing enough at other outlets to have anything to collect here.

Plus, I’m already asking people to subscribe to The Podcass, which friends and followers have been supporting nicely, and I’d really like that to do well. At some point, you all will just get sick of me tugging on your pant legs, right?

But here’s the thing: I miss the old days of blogging. With me writing less professionally, I need an outlet and I’m enjoying writing for fun again. The era of Blogger, LiveJournal and Tumblr has passed, but the spirit of blogging still seems to exist, if not the interactivity and sense of community. Maybe it’s just in newsletters and podcasts now.

So here we go. This is becoming a newsletter. I’ll try to get this out on Thursday or Friday, since a lot of newsletters go out on Sunday. Please subscribe to Overzealous Recycling at tinyletter.com/casselberry. And thank you in advance.

** I miss Alex Pappademas at Grantland (and really miss his podcast with Wesley Morris, Do You Like Prince Movies?). I love Keanu Reeves (and eagerly await John Wick 3). Pappademas writing a profile on Keanu seems like a happy place. It’s kind of amazing that Keanu is still doing what he’s doing. He’s 54 years old! [GQ]

** I’ve tried to keep my coffee intake to one cup in the morning now, maybe followed up by green tea in the afternoon. But I’ve definitely thought about trying to wean myself off caffeine. I really do enjoy that morning coffee, though. [Outside]

I did kick my caffeine addiction once, about 10 years ago. I was flying to Malaysia, trapped on a plane for 20-some hours. I remember the headaches and sweats, and I realized what was happening, but had nothing better to do but sleep. Got right back into it when I returned to the States, though.

** The shuttering of FilmStruck upset me, though the truth was that I didn’t nearly get my money’s worth out of the streaming service. (I purchased a subscription as a gift for a friend.) But now that it’s been reborn as The Criterion Channel, I intend to make up for that and watch a bunch of movies. Some really good docu-series in its catalog, too. [IndieWire]

The Door

This might be too much of a Curb Your Enthusiasm scenario, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Larry David actually dealt with something like this on the show. (No, I haven’t watched the entire series. It’s on the list of things to do someday. But then I see that we’re talking about 90 episodes, which makes me tired and I want to do something else.)

I like to think I hold doors open for people relatively often. It just feels like one of those things that can make living together in this society somewhat pleasant, a demonstration of courtesy or politeness that results in a civil exchange between others. They thank you for holding the door, you return the sentiment with a “You’re welcome” or “Sure,” and everything seems OK for a couple of breaths.

Of course, it doesn’t take much for me to change my mood and direct the full force of my disdain for my fellow citizens, usually silently. (This is often the difference between real life and Curb Your Enthusiasm.) If I hold the door for someone and he or she doesn’t thank me or otherwise acknowledge the gesture with something like a smile or nod, I will point the full searing heat of my dislike at that person — usually silently, but the “fucking fucks” and “motherfuckers” are booming in my head.

But how long should you be expected to hold a door open for someone?

Sure, it depends on the situation and many variables like personal preference factor in. Like if you saw an elderly person using a walker, maybe you can expect to wait a little bit longer than you would normally. For one thing, you don’t want to hurry him or her up. And more likely than not, you’re going to wait to open the door and hold it until that person is close to the entrance (or exit).

So here’s the scenario that is making me ask this question: I was at the movies and heading to the bathroom after The Curse of La Llorona was finished. A few steps behind me were a dad with at least a couple of kids, and I heard him say he needed to use the bathroom. Figuring he was pretty close behind me, I held the door for him. But no one was behind me.

I turned back and the guy was asking the kids if they needed to use the bathroom, a conversation that was taking longer than the “yes” or “no” exchange you might presume. I don’t know exactly how long I was holding the door; I wasn’t counting. But it was long enough for me to notice. So let’s say longer than five seconds.

That felt like enough. So I let go of the door to walk into the bathroom. But as I let go, the guy was coming toward me and we made eye contact. So it may have looked like I saw him and decided not to hold the door for him. Apparently, that’s how he perceived it because he glared at me as we stepped toward the urinals.

Yeah, he glared. I could feel it and looked back at him to confirm. What the hell? And just because it’s a question that might be asked, he was white. So two white guys here. Maybe I had an annoyed look on my face — probably true — and he was wondering what my deal was. Maybe he thought that I took a look at him and decided I wasn’t holding the door for him. But I don’t think I misperceived this brief moment of tension. And as I was finishing my business, this question occurred to me.

How long should I have held the door open there? Or maybe I should stop trying to be nice, civility be damned.

** It’s been a while since Popular Mechanics moved beyond cars, tools and technology for its stories. “Mechanics” can apply to many other fields, like writing. Or Working, as Caro’s new book, is called. And the process of how Robert Caro researches and assembles his vast historical biographies — the typewriter he uses, the archives he sifts through — in an increasingly digital age is compelling. [Popular Mechanics]

** Believe it or not, Caro has been the figurative white whale for Conan O’Brien. The late-night host is a huge fan and has tried for years to get the author on his show. On tour to promote Working, Caro finally agreed to sit down with O’Brien for an event in Los Angeles. [New York Times]

Mug Shots

I know this is silly and something small to make social media interesting for a second or two. But I also think it’s interesting to see what people contribute to the thread. Maybe you’ll learn something about him or her.

Comic book editor Shelly Bond asked her followers to post a photo of their two favorite mugs. Naturally, mostly comic book industry peers and fans responded. But it’d be kind of fun if this went a little bit wider.

What are your favorite mugs? Are they both at home? At work? One of each? Do you like the way the mug looks? Was it part of a set? Is it a travel souvenir? What do those mugs say about you?

For me, the Route 66 mug is a gift from a friend who took a cross-country trip. And the Captain America one is letting my geek flag fly. Its predecessor was an Incredible Hulk mug — which is a bit more on-brand for me — but that was dropped and broken recently. Even though I have other mugs that could’ve replaced it, I felt like I needed another Marvel superhero holding my coffee.

And one mug for coffee, a different one for tea, right? Doesn’t everybody do it that way?

** Ramin Djawadi is probably best known for composing the Game of Thrones theme song and music for the series, which has brought him rightful recognition and plenty of questions about spoilers. (He composes for Westworld and Jack Ryan, as well.) Here’s a stroll through his greatest hits for Thrones. [The Ringer]

Personally, I love the music he created for Pacific Rim, especially for the end credits.

** Among the many fascinating aspects of baseball is the difference each ballpark can have on the game. For instance, the shape and size of the outfield. No park may have a more distinct outfield than Fenway Park. Here’s how the three Boston Red Sox outfielders approach their home territory. [Boston Globe]

** Movie projectionists are a nearly extinct species. Nearly all theaters use digital projectors now and get the movies on hard drives. But the Jacob Burns Film Center in New York is doing what it can to keep the “niche trade” alive, training staff to show classic films on celluloid. [New York Times]

Grocery Store Playlist

If this is your first time tuning in, here’s the deal with these Grocery Store Playlists: I’ve often joked with friends that the best music I hear these days is playing at the grocery store. Songs from the ’80s and ’90s just hit my sweet spot. So I started keeping track (with some occasional help from Shazam) of what was playing.

A couple of people have told me I spend too long shopping if I can jot down 10 songs. That’s surely true, but I dash in for a couple of things plenty of times. I make these lists when I’m taking my time. Cruising those aisles brings me some peace — especially if I’m enjoying the music!

I’m here to argue that “Never Gonna Give You Up” might be the perfect grocery shopping song. Gets the mood up, keeps the energy going, makes everything more fun. Just what I need to read those nutrition labels.

** Whatever happened to Michael Sam, the former Missouri defensive end and SEC defensive player of the year, who came out before the NFL Draft and was the first openly gay player selected? Sam never played in the NFL and became increasingly alienated, seeking escape in hard drugs. Was he used as a symbol and a gimmick? He’s ready to talk about it now. [Yahoo! Sports]

** New comic book publishers like TKO Comics, which releases its stories all at once for “binge-reading,” and Artists, Writers & Artisans, with former Marvel executives Bill Jemas and Axel Alonso behind it, are one of the more exciting developments in the industry. Artists, Writers & Artisans just got a $5 million investment from former Fox executive James Murdoch too. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Weekly Affirmation

This week’s creative nudge comes from film and TV writer Scott Tobias, formerly of The A.V. Club. The Onion was part of Univision’s sale of Gizmodo Media Group to Great Hill Partners.

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