Anticipating TIFF 2012

My goal in Toronto each year is pretty simple. I typically see about 30 films at the fest, and if I choose the right 30 then for the next twelve months I get to participate in the larger critical conversation about contemporary world cinema, despite living in a midsized city in East Tennessee.

Version 13

I shelved Long Pauses in 2010, soon after my daughter was born, because, frankly, the web had become boring.

Happy Birthday, Rory

An Easter-time photo of my now two-year-old daughter.

Joanna at Work

The next issue of UT’s alumni magazine, The Torchbearer, will feature Joanna, so I used the photo shoot as an excuse to play with our new Panasonic GH2.

To be continued . . .

In the nine years since I first read Denise Levertov’s poem “Making Peace” and pulled the words “long pauses . . .” from it, I’ve bought and sold two houses, changed jobs three times, and launched a freelance business. I’ve attended nearly a dozen film festivals, interviewed several of my heroes, and developed lifelong friendships […]

Rory Greer Hughes

6 lbs. 5 oz. 20.5 inches. Born at 4:09 pm on April 27, 2010.

Long Pauses Version 11

The variety of communications tools would be overwhelming but for the fact that my friends and I are engaged in what is essentially a single, extended conversation. It’s all come to feel perfectly natural.

Ramshackle Knoxville

Reading Cormac McCarthy’s Suttree last year changed my relationship with Knoxville. There’s more poetry here now, and more grime and ash. Suttree’s one of the main reasons I no longer blink before calling Knoxville my home town, even though I’ve only lived here for just over a decade.

When Smart People Talk Dumb

And, seriously, she really needs to stop using “elite” as a pejorative — first because it degrades language (if “elite” doesn’t necessarily describe the most powerful office in the world, then it no longer means “elite”), and second because SHE LIVED IN THE WHITE HOUSE FOR EIGHT YEARS. Her efforts to exclude herself from “the elite” is an embarrassment to her intelligence and experience.

Migrant Daughter, 1936

Oh, how I love Shorpy, “The 100-Year-Old Photo Blog.” The photo above was taken by Dorothy Lange for the Farm Security Administration in November 1936. The caption reads: “Daughter of migrant Tennessee coal miner. Living in American River camp near Sacramento, California.” I need to learn more about Lange. How did photos like this happen? How much posing and staging was involved? What kind of camera and film did she use?

Rocky Top Rowdies

To carry this silly analogy a bit further — and to indulge for a second in my other current obsession, The Wire — I gotta say that University of Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl has got the best “package” right now.

Quite the View

We’re having some crazy weather here today. The wind started blowing just before noon, and the rains came around 2. Ever since, the sky has been yellow, which is apparently the perfect recipe for rainbows. I laughed like a six-year-old when I saw this through our bedroom window.

Coolest Wife Ever (part 18)

On Wednesday morning, Joanna and I are headed up to Washington, D.C., where she’ll spend a week at the Smithsonian, reconstructing the faces of two of the original Jamestown settlers.

Recent Developments

Today is August 16th, which means an entire month has passed since my last post here. I believe that’s a first in the six-year history of Long Pauses.

Can I Go Home Now?

Watching this video it occurs to me that, instead of the presidency, this guy would have been much happier if he’d inherited a West Texas Chrysler dealership. I have to admit that I more or less supported Bush’s immigration plan. It’s the first time in six-and-a-half years I’ve been able to say that about a White House policy.

Mine’s Pretty, Too

No staging was involved. My desk really is that neat, much to the chagrin of my coworkers, who stop in from time to time to shake their heads and to joke about leaving bits of scrap paper behind.

The Day Job (Part 2)

Redesigning the UT Knoxville front page was the first step in an on-going overhaul of the university’s web presence. Step two went into effect today, when I officially released the design template for all colleges, departments, and units. Conceptually, this design was actually the greater challenge — much to my surprise.

March Madness Pick ‘Em

I’ve created a group at Yahoo Sports (the “Dziga Vertov Group,” naturally) and invite all interested parties to join the fun. Fill out your bracket, then test your mettle against other film bloggers and Long Pauses readers. If you want to play, leave your email address in the comments or drop me a private note, and I’ll send you the group number and password.

Coolest Wife Ever (part 17)

And, yes, these were taken on the set of the Phillip Fulmer, Bruce Pearl, and Pat Summitt shows.

Why Hillary Ain’t on My Short List

Have you learned that it’s not okay to allow fear — including fear for your career in politics — to herd you along with the crowd.

Why It’s Been So Quiet Around Here

My office at work is fairly small. Windowless. Tidy. Lit by three underpowered lamps. Spartan. The back wall is dominated by a large dry-erase board that, for the past four months, has been covered in brown scribbles, which is a kind way to describe my handwriting. Sometime back in the fall I wrote myself a long to-do list on the board, and in the weeks since I have slowly but steadily crossed off each item. A brown stroke through each brown scribble. On Wednesday morning, just before 7 am, I erased the board.

YouTube (Instead of) Memory

Here’s an odd clip I just stumbled upon. I witnessed that exact event after stepping out of a film at TIFF this year. It was in the Paramount Theater, at the top of the long escalators. And now I no longer need to remember it. My memory has been captured, uploaded, tagged with metadata, and stored safely away, where it can be retrieved immediately — by anyone. And I played no part in the process.

I Think I’m in Love

Jim Webb during his first hearing with the Armed Services Committee . . .

Happy Thanksgiving

We had our annual Thanksgiving pot luck dinner last night. Along with the traditional turkey, stuffing, cranberry relish, and pumpkin pie, we had Polish mushroom rolls and potato salad, smoked salmon sushi, Mexican bread pudding, and two Taiwanese dishes: a sweet bean dessert and beef viscera.

Good Eats: Salmon and Mediterranean Rice

When I visited Seattle a couple weeks ago, I had what was quite possibly the most satisfying meal of my life.

Looking at Photographs

Szarkowski’s response to Laughlin’s The Language of Light is my favorite passage — it struck me immediately as a perfect Long Pause — but every page is a new discovery.

North by Northwest

This is my first visit to Seattle, so any recommendations would be much appreciated. After a nap, a shower, and a cup of coffee yesterday afternoon, I walked to Wild Ginger, a restaurant that was recommended by a local friend.

Version 9.0

I had two main goals this time out. First, I wanted to return to the conventional blog format. As I said in my announcement of the last redesign, the widescreen format was an experiment — a usability study, really. And what I discovered was . . . it wasn’t as usable. Second, and more importantly, I wanted to stretch my CSS skills a bit.

I’ve Been Meme’d

Girish tagged me.

London Trip 4

We got back to Knoxville late Wednesday night, and for some reason I’m still feeling jet-lagged and out of sorts. Maybe it’s just the depression that sets in each time I return to the routine and responsibilities of “real life” after a great vacation.

London Trip 3

We’ve been running around town at such a pace that when we finally do return to the hotel each night, I don’t have much energy left to write. Here’s a snapshot of the last few days.

London Trip 2

When we arrived yesterday at St. Paul’s, we discovered that it was closed to tourists. So after snapping a couple pictures, we headed south, taking the millennium footbridge across the Thames to the Tate Modern.

London Trip 1

With two hours to kill before our room was ready, we dropped off our bags and wandered through the Egypt and Greece rooms at the British Museum.

An Important Announcement

On May 1st, just a few days after Joanna and I return from our trip to London, I will begin a full-time job as a web designer at the university, and I’m damn eager to get started. I’m especially excited about my new title: Artist.

A 10th Anniversary Card

I’m still not sure why she grabbed me that day or why I’m the one who gets to share life with her. To say I’m grateful wouldn’t come close to expressing the mystery of it all.

A Post About London

Last week, a friend sent us a link to a British Airways deal, we talked about it for a day or two, and then we made our reservations. Twelve days, eleven nights, taking off three weeks from Friday. Crazy.

Pass Me the Hammer, Norm

I’m fighting the urge to buy a house down the street. It’s been on the market for several months now, and, after finding pictures of it online, I can see why.

Best Christmas Presents

Joanna still tells the story of the first time she visited my family at Christmas. Although she had come from an upper middle-class home, she’d never seen so many presents under a tree. In fact, they weren’t just under the tree. They were under and around and near the tree. They were piled in corners on the opposite side of the room from the tree.

Now in Widescreen

Welcome to Long Pauses (version 8.0). Consider this redesign a usability study.

Happy Thanksgiving

I love that this photo managed to capture all fourteen of our guests (plus the top of Jo’s head at the bottom of the frame), and I still enjoy looking at the expressions on their faces.

Catching Up

While sipping my second glass of wine, I did my best to affect the look of someone waiting for that old friend I had arranged to meet — you know, staring intently across the room, even rocking forward onto my toes from time to time for a better vantage — but apparently I failed miserably.

One of Those Political Posts

I’ve come to feel increasingly alienated from evangelical culture, and politics is an important reason. I used to write about this a lot more on Long Pauses, but I grew tired of my own voice and my own hypocrisies. Too much finger-pointing. Plus, the results of the 2004 election broke my heart. I’ve felt more than a bit defeated and hopelessly cynical ever since.

Still Thinking Randomly

Instead, I’m working on another conference paper — this one to be delivered next month in Atlanta, which is an easy drive, and thank God for that.

Random Thoughts

A few years ago, some friends and I threw a surprise party for Joanna. The coolest present she got was a life-sized cardboard cutout of Legolas — the perfect addition to our Orlando Bloom-themed party, which was all about pirates and elves and horses and my then-31-year-old wife’s Peter Pan syndrome.

A Girl and a Gun

That is how George Fasel began his first post at A Girl and a Gun. He became one of my Daily Reads a month or two later. Like I wrote in the comments there, as saddened as I am to hear of George’s passing, I’m also feeling strangely inspired and encouraged by his example.


I’m not a slob. Really. Which is why I grabbed my camera this morning. I wish I could say that I had doctored this photo or had carefully arranged my bedside table for dramatic effect, but this is what I woke up to. Sad but true.

An Explanation

The reason I haven’t been posting lately is … well … it’s because, apparently, I’m getting dumber.

In Praise of Rob Lowe

What so impressed me about the episode is that, even during the final, most emotionally-rich scenes, Lowe never slips into scene-stealing TV actor mode.

Speculate Away

“Well, we don’t know what’s happening exactly, but it must be big. Speculate away!”

Just a Question

Many of us who opposed the war did so, in part, because we feared that destabilizing Iraq would provoke a civil war that would prove a humanitarian crisis worse than even Saddam’s regime. I wonder how American sentiment toward our role in Iraq would change if we admitted that the civil war has already begun?