September movies watched, part 2 of 2:

126. (1185.) Rattlers (1976)
Military-grade rattlesnakes go on a rampage! There are a lot of (unintentional?) chuckles to be had here.

127. (1186.) Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)
Not as good as the first, but isn't the law of diminishing returns true for most sequels? Seriously, Colin Firth is much, much too good an actor to be in this kind of movie, but he looks like he's having a blast. So does Elton John. When the actors are having fun, it's fun to watch.

128. (1187.) The Book of Life (2014)
The charm of this animated movie is in the art design. The story, I'm sorry to say, isn't up to the same standard. I fast-forwarded through the third act just to get it over with.

129. (1188.) Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Wow. If Kingsman 2 suffers from entropy, this sequel is a black hole. It's charming when the principle actors are on screen interacting directly, as in the party at Stark's office. However, the plentiful action scenes — the whole reason something like this is made in the first place — are a muddled, artificial mess with bad pacing, randomly shifting character motivations, and weak, repetitive CGI. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

More to come.

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The Miami Dolphins came to Atlanta for their first visit to Georgia Dome 2.0 Mercedes Benz Stadium, and I went to see them with my friends, Falcons fans Keith and Ken (and their lovely wives).

Dolphins 20, Falcons 17

In the first half, the Dolphins played like the Dolphins, stumbling into a 0-17 hole. Jay Cutler was the worst he's been all season, playing without inspiration or conviction, placing balls where they would do the least good for the receivers. Just horrible.

However, in the second half, the Falcons played like the Falcons, committing penalties, throwing interceptions, failing to tackle, and just refusing to finish a game. The Falcons scored 0 second half points. The Dolphins scored 20.

Final score, 20-17, Dolphins! Whoo-hoo! Thank you, Falcons!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention my first impression of the new stadium. All I've heard is how wonderful it is. Don't believe the hype.

  • The much ballyhooed 360° HD halo screen is worthless for half of the stadium. Those on the ground floor have to stare at the ceiling to see anything. Those in the rafters (like me) can't see half the screen because the near edge obscures the top half of the far side screen. (Given that they can't even make the roof open — not that you'd be able to tell from most of the seats — I assume that it would have been too hard to pitch the screens into a cone so that they would be visible to all?)
  • Stadium concourses are given over almost exclusively to concessions with queue lines cutting into walkways, making it impossible to get around without running through crowds standing in line for beer and $2 hot dogs.
  • And if you want a $2 hot dog, get one early. Lines don't move quickly. I didn't go myself, but watching and listening to those around me, the minimum wait time appeared to be 15 minutes. (And if you want a Coke, your only option is to stand in line for a fill-it-yourself fountain cup which entitles you to stand in line by the "free refills" drink fountains. That's two lines for the price of one!)
  • Speaking of 15 minutes, that was the wait time for restroom breaks — to the men's room!

In short, I didn't see that this stadium was an improvement in any way over the Georgia Dome save the welcome presence of natural light, and I got the impression that I must not be alone. From the very beginning of the game, there were huge blocks of empty seats visible all over the stadium. (I'd guess it was half full.) Given the stadium's evident disdain for people who actually want to watch a game of football, I can't blame those ticket holders for wanting to spend their time doing something other than watch football there.

But enough about that. I went to the building not to pass judgement on it, but to watch a football game with friends. In the end, I think a good time was had by all.*

To be clear, this picture was taken in the first quarter. My smile came out later.

*At least, all of us cheering for the Dolphins.

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Whew. A 53-28 Georgia win shouldn't be stressful. It should be easy, a walkover that you can leave before the fourth quarter knowing the second string can put it away. Not so much this one.

Missouri 28, UGA 53

Four teams ranked inside the top ten lost to unranked opponents this weekend, and during the first half of tonight's game, I was terrified that UGA would be a fifth. Missouri, 1-5 on the season and a 30-point underdog against 4th-ranked, undefeated Georgia, scored on three consecutive drives in the first half to tie the game at 21-21. I admit it; I was watching through my fingers.

Fortunately, the UGA defense finally applied the brakes, and when the homecoming court took the field at halftime, the score was 21-34. Missouri was never a threat again.

I think being undefeated on the season is starting to give me an ulcer. I don't know that I can take many more blowout victories like this. Up next: Florida. Ugh! I might watch with the covers pulled over my head.

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I'm going to have to raise the price of my books.

CreateSpace, the print-on-demand publisher of my books, announced today that they intend to close their estore. Beginning November 1, they will be redirecting all customer requests to Amazon.com (their parent company).

While they pitch this as being an improvement for authors, giving my customers access to features "currently available on Amazon.com" such as searching, better shopping carts, and potentially free shipping, it's going to cut deeply into my (already minuscule) profits.

Right now, I make about $2.50 more per book sold on CreateSpace over Amazon. (CreateSpace pays 80% after material cost; Amazon pays only 60%.) That's why I've been directing you to buy my books there. Beginning November 1, that profit evaporates.

In response, I will be raising the price of my paperbacks from $12 to $15 each. That won't fully cover the cost that Amazon will be swallowing, but it's a compromise I can live with.

TL;DR: If you want a copy of my latest book, buy it at CreateSpace.com before November 1 and save yourself $3.

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She really does think they're someone else's toots

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Getting ready to crawl into bed, I found something large and hairy waiting for me under my pillow.

There's a bitch in my bed!

I did what anyone would do in that situation. I slept on the couch instead.

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