The failed bid…

The results are in and someone else is now the proud owner of the stake Buffy used in Season 5, Episode 1 to dust Dracula.

Although I had the foresight to put the auction house in charge of my bidding, in the end, it was as I feared. I wrested control back from them in the final moments for a brisk round of in person bidding, controlled entirely by my heart without even a moment’s input from my head.

This mysterious phone bidder and I threw $1,000 increases at each other all the way from $10,000 to $20,000. Bidding was already at four times the pre-auction high estimate, almost three times what I expected the stake to fetch – and double my pre-auction maximum bid that only a few hours ago felt very aggressive. I tapped out when they pushed the bid to $22,500. In staring at the abyss of a $25,000 price point, my head managed to regain some semblance of control. That might have had something to do with remembering the 25% buyers premium and 6% Maryland sales tax I’d end up owing on top of the hammer price.

I took a breath, forced my thumb to stop hovering over the large green “bid” button, and let this particular holy grail of Buffy collectibles fall to the other bidder. I hope it’s gone to a good home, because those two minutes absolutely cranked me through the wringer this afternoon. Having let it go stings more than it reasonably should.

A day at the auction or: On being a hot mess of distraction…

Most of the time, I look though auction catalogs with the vague disinterest of someone who’s curious but not particularly invested. I’m not exactly traveling in the kind of circles that make sales or acquisitions through Christie’s or Sotheby’s.  Most of the auctions I’ve been to aren’t the kind of events that even bother publishing formal catalogs. If you’re lucky, they’ve posted a few of the highlights online, but most of the items heading across the block end up being a surprise. 

One of the auction houses I do regularly check in with is Prop Store. Although I’m not a prop or replica collector, it’s always a little interesting to see what bits of Hollywood history they’ve uncovered for their sales. Headlining items across the block in this week’s auction include Harry Potter’s wand and glasses and Indiana Jones’s Fedora. I’m not mad enough to even remotely consider myself a player at that level. The hammer price for those lots is going to be absolutely eyewatering. Their collection of Star Wars and Star Trek lots should also make an impressive showing. Even that, though, isn’t territory I want to wade into. 

Having said that, somewhere early in Wednesday’s scheduled bidding, there’s something I do want. At the risk of jinxing myself, it’s a piece I want rather badly…. Badly enough that I had originally planned to burn some time off tomorrow so I could bid live during the auction.

I’ve realized, however, that in a live auction setting, heart would absolutely override head and that at some point I have to be willing to be outbid, should someone with far deeper pockets have decided they’re also determined to win. With great trepidation, I’ve handed my maximum bid over to the house with the intention of allowing them to fight my corner while I try not to obsessively watch the live feed. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve left them with what I feel is a highly aggressive bid, based on what the few similar objects that have been through past auctions fetched at the final hammer.

We’ll know how things turn out by close of business tomorrow. Until then, please excuse me if I seem nervous and jerky… because through most of the afternoon tomorrow I’ll be an absolute hot mess of distraction.

Thanks Hollywood or: The Most Important News of the Day…

I like movies. I don’t like going to the theater to watch them, of course, because people, but still I like the idea of losing yourself to a story for a couple of hours. As much as I like movies, I’ve always struggled a little bit with the “awards show” concept. It’s always struck me as a bit of inside baseball, when the market already does a pretty fair job of telling us what movies are “good” and which ones were “bad.”

Box office receipts aren’t everything, I know. Some movies are made because someone with deep pockets and enough horsepower to get it done want to follow their passion. If you’ve got tens of millions of dollars to spend and that’s what you’ve set your sights on, I say good on you and go with God.

Having a laundry list of insiders telling me what movie was “best,” though, doesn’t really work for me. I find movies, like every other kind of art, to largely be something that largely depends on the eye of the beholder. I like period drama and old masters. That someone else likes comedy and modernism doesn’t make either one of us more right or more wrong.

With all of that said, I’m utterly and completely perplexed by the cry that rose last night from social media and today across the news sites and morning talk programs. I “work live” all day every day and can say with certainly that mistakes happen. You correct them and move on as quickly as possible, which seems to be what they did last night. That it’s something that anyone cares about enough to make it The Most Important News of the Day leaves me with even less faith in humanity than usual. Thanks Hollywood.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. The Oscars. Ok Hollywood, so here’s the deal: You’re paid to play dress up and pretend. Don’t get preachy. When I want analysis of global events I’ll look for people with degrees and experience in international relations, business, environmental studies, and war fighting. What I need from y’all is just to stand there and look pretty.

2. Appointments. When I make an appointment to be somewhere at 9:30 you can best believe I’ll be there at 9:30. Actually I’ll be there, sitting in the parking lot, some time between 9:00 and 9:15. In the Book of Jeff there is no more grievous sin than arriving late. So yes, if you say 9:30 and don’t come rolling in until 10:15 I am judging you. I am judging you and have found you wanting.

3. Can do. The four words that have consistently gotten me into the most trouble in my career are “Yes, sir. Can do.” It’s not that I’m promising the impossible, but occasionally I promise the very hard to do before I’ve really thought through to the illogical end of whatever project I’ve just agreed to kick into being. That’s the problem with delivering things on time and under budget when any sane person wouldn’t promise to do either. People begin to expect that as a matter of course. Maybe I should just start responding with “Uh no. That’s a dumb idea and here are the 17 reasons why.”

Selfie…

So apparently last night Ellen DeGeneres posted a selfie of a ragtag band of Hollywood A-list celebrities that thundered across Twitter faster than any tweet in the history of the universe. That’s an interesting factoid, but while I’m sitting here getting caffeinated, I’m left mostly wondering why we care.

I like movies as well as anyone else, but I don’t lionize those who make them or endow them with super-human, superlative qualities beyond them being good at acting. That’s great. I’m glad they’re doing what they do, but I don’t want to get on the band wagon of anyone who thinks the biggest names in Hollywood are spending their days doing anything particularly heroic. They’re doing their job and that makes them professionals, not demi-gods.

It’s good that a professional organization like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences pauses for a few hours and recognizes member achievement. People should be recognized when they’re reached the top of their chosen field of endeavor. What I don’t particularly understand, though, is why anyone outside that field pays attention to what those individuals are wearing, who they’re screwing, or what they have to say about politics or current events. It’s a little like looking to the best dentist in America to give me fashion advice or to tell me how to build a suspension bridge. Sure, he might have an opinion, but it’s the furthest thing from his professional area of expertise.

There’s no real point to this little ramble aside from my own continued curiosity about why we collectively make a big deal about watching other people put on formal ware and sit in an auditorium for hours. I hate putting on so much as a tie whenever I can avoid it, so the idea of making an event out of watching other people wear uncomfortable clothing simply defies any kind of logic I can muster.