AFI: #97, Bringing Up Baby

AFI: #97, Bringing Up Baby post image

*Note: I’ve been holding onto this one because I didn’t want to post them out of order.  But its taking me forever to watch the next movie, so I figure I’ll just post this one and move along.

Bringing Up Baby (1938) was apparently a box-office flop.  I’m going to have to agree with the masses on this one.  While it eventually gained notoriety and popularity, the audience of the time didn’t seem to resonate with the screwball and slapstick comedy that the film offers.  Staring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, Baby wasn’t a complete loss, but it wasn’t my favorite either.

The film centers around the relationship of Susan Vance (played by Hepburn) and Dr. David Huxley (played by Grant).  Dr. Huxley is a prominent paleontologist, awaiting two things to make his life complete: the final bone of his brontosaurus skeleton, and his marriage to the dour Alice Swallow.  While trying to acquire funding to complete his project, he runs into the “help” of Miss Vance.  I say “help” because everything Miss Vance does seems to put Dr. Huxley behind the eight-ball.  Little does he know that Miss Vance is the niece of the owner (Mrs. Random) of the funding he is trying to acquire.  Through some twists and turns common to slapstick comedy, Dr. Huxley ends up at a country estate with Miss Vance, chasing her dog all over the property after it had stolen the final bone for his skeleton.

So who is “baby”?  Baby is in fact the name of a tame Brazilian leopard, sent to Mrs. Random as a gift.  Miss Vance hopes to procure the help of Dr. Huxley in raising Baby, as she is under the impression that he is a zoologist rather than a paleontologist.  The entire second half of the movie is consumed with comedy surround the chasing of the dog, the control of Baby, and of Miss Vance falling in love with Dr. Huxley.

Baby wasn’t my favorite film because it seemed too formulaic.  Within 5 minutes of Miss Vance’s introduction, you could tell that she would sabotage all attempts by Dr. Huxley to make a good showing.  She was instantly a 1 dimensional character, and Dr. Huxley faded likewise.  He was the bumbling genius, she was the witty flake. All other characters served primarily as comic relief, and none of them particularly impressed me (although I did some some laughs out of Dr. Peabody’s quirky facade).

This is the second Hepburn film I have seen, and I much preferred her in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.  In Dinner, she played a dynamic character dealing with an surprising situation.  In Baby, she plays a flighty young woman that falls in love.  Cary Grant was a big name from the pre-war era, and this was my first taste of him.  I’m hoping that he was genuinely acting the part of the bumbling scientist, as I found the character boring.  When I watch another Grant film, I hope to see more range out of him.

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Well, by the time this post goes live, I will have done something semi-revolutionary (for me):

I quit my job!

 

Now, unless things went worse than expected, I’m probably still employed.  I’ve never NOT given a two week notice, and this is no exception.  Whether or not they’ll want to keep me for two more weeks though, I just can’t know.  This should probably be a surprise to my boss, as I’ve given no indication of leaving and things are stable and prosperous at the law firm.  BUT, it had to be done, and now it is.

“So what the hell are you going to do then?”

Ok, stick with me here.  I’m starting my own business.  It’s going to be a consulting/service provider type thing, with me as the only employee  for the near term.  It is called Holland Web Marketing, LLC.  I’m going to provide web management services for the restaurant and food service industry.  Basically, I’ll take over maintaining and managing your entire web presence for your restaurant: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Opentable, etc.  I will act as your restaurant’s face on the web – interacting with customers, building client bases, engaging the community, and managing what is said about you on the web.  I can also provide consultancy services as needed – anything from updates to your website or social media profiles, to social media strategy, to damage mitigation on sites like Yelp.

Initially, I can’t really charge a lot for my services.  I’m basically trying to bridge two worlds that I operate in here – the restaurant world, and the web.  My close friends have been hearing me talk about wanting to be “location independent” for quite some time.  This is my act of burning the ships so that I can’t make excuses any more.  Eventually, I hope to be able to make a decent living from a few different facets of this project: a few clients each paying me better that $1000/month for my services, teaching/speaking/training others to do what I do, and passive income from information products I put out about using online marketing for restaurants.  I could also see myself expanding the business to include other small business niches, such as outdoors equipment, winery, or the hospitality industry on a larger scale.

Since this career path takes me from the realm of employed to self-employed, my income needs will be a little different.  I’ll have to pay for my own taxes and health insurance now, for example.  But my gas costs and lunch costs should decline, as those were both a product of working in the suburbs.  My earliest goal is to hit $5000/month in income, regardless of source.  I don’t need nearly that much money to get by, but it is the goal I am going to shoot for.  I hope to go on a road trip with my friend Sean in May/June, and if I can get to that income level by then, I will be able to afford the road trip.  So that’s my goal: $5000/month by June.

For those of you scared for my general health and well-being, I do have a couple of things going for me.  I have one client to start with, at $500/month.  I also have a chance to work at a bar Friday and Saturday nights for the foreseeable future, giving me another $800+/month in income.  I might be able to do some of my previous job freelance, and I know some people that could use my help right off the bat.  So I should be able to at least stay afloat till June.  The goal is $5000/month, but if I can at least manage to stay afloat until then, I’ll consider it a success.  I also bought a bunch of ramen, so I’ll at least be able to eat. :)

“Ok, but why?”

To understand why I’m making this change now, I need you to think long term with me.  Obviously, in the short term, the best choice is to stay at the law firm.  It pays well, full benefits, nice workplace, flexible hours – what’s not to love?  I’m going to take a drastic cut in salary, one that I really can’t even afford.  Despite my outer-facade of fiscal responsibility, my finances are generally a mess.  I have stupid debt, a luxury vehicle (read: not nice, just out of my actual price range), very little savings, and no assets.  Ouch.  Of course, the prudent thing to do would be to cut my current expenses, stay at the law firm, and make gradual progress to financial freedom, and THEN make a jump in careers.

Alas, as everyone I know always says when they make these types of decisions, “There’s never a good time to _________.”  It’s true, of course, although there are better or worse times.  This may be a worse time in the short term, but it doesn’t matter much in the long term.  What I want to get to is 2-5 years down the road if I focus on it.  Knowing myself, the above scenario of personal responsibility would never take place at the law firm.  The longer I stay at the law firm, the longer down the road that goal goes.  So if I stay at the law firm one more year, then that goal is 3-6 years down the road.  I’ve wanted this same thing for 3-5 years now, so I would already be there if I would have never hesitated.

So what do I want that I’m not getting at the law firm?  What do I mean by “location independent”?  I can use the aforementioned planned road trip as an example.  Sean and I want to go on a 2 week+ road trip out east to see New York City and Washington DC, both our first times.  At the law firm, I could technically make this work if I stretched it over some holiday weekends and gave myself no recovery time.  In my ideal world, with my new business, I’ll be able to make this vacation work by working while on vacation – minimally, but focused.  And that doesn’t bother me in the least – I’m happy to work for a few hours per week while I’m on the road if it means I can be on the road as I please.  If I did this trip while still at the law firm, it would use up all of my vacation time, and I’d have to resort to lying about sick days to take a day off here and there (don’t judge – you do it too).  With my new business, I don’t even want that to be my last trip of the summer, much less of the year!  And next year – get this – I want to try to go to Africa, which would be outside of the realm of possibility if I continued to work at the law firm.

Of course, my more astute readers can point out all sorts of problems with my analysis.  I make plenty of money at the law firm, I just spend it too quickly, and that is why I don’t get ahead, right?  Not to mention I could start this on the side, and grow it until it can replace my income.  Why aren’t I going after something more traditional?  Why don’t I go back to school for a degree that can get me a good job?

Know thyself, readers.  I’m 30, and I’m going to just go ahead and follow my heart here.  The ships have been soaked in gasoline, and by the time you read this post, I’ll have thrown the match.

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AFI: #99, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

AFI: #99, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner post image

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a film about a time and a place.  The time was the 1960s.  The place was America.  The story?  Simple, really:  Guy meets girl.  They fall in love.  Girl brings guy home to ask for her parents blessing in marriage.  Booooooring.  So what's the catch?  Well, it's the 1960s, [...]

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AFI: #100, Yankee Doodle Dandy

AFI: #100, Yankee Doodle Dandy post image

Yankee Doodle Dandy is a 1942 film directed by Michael Curtiz.  It stars James Cagney in the lead role of George M. Cohan, with supporting roles by Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, and Richard Whorf.  In the interest of full disclosure - I have no idea who these people are.  I've heard of James Cagney, but [...]

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My take on “5 Myths Atheists Believe About Religion”

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Watching the 1998 AFI 100 years…100 movies List

In keeping with the "write about whatever the hell I feel like" theme, I think I'll share a little hobby I have going. In 1998, The American Film Institute put out a list entitled 100 years...100 movies.  Basically, it was the top 100 "important" films in American history.  I stress the word "important", because I [...]

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