Showing 1 - 10 of 59 posts found matching keyword: dear diary

Taken 38 years ago today in a K-Mart photo booth:

8-28-82 K Mart Walter & Trey

I sure did like Pac-Man.

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True story: Emma is my favorite Jane Austen novel, and I was really looking forward to the latest movie adaptation when it finally opened in my local theater the second weekend in March. (I've seen other adaptations, of course. The 1996 version is good enough that it almost made me like Gwyneth Paltrow.) However, the second week in March coincided with the arrival of COVID-19 and the global shutdown. That's right, this whole pandemic exists just to keep me from Emma. Curses!

Well, I finally fooled you, COVID-19.

126. (1780.) Emma. (2020)

Fifteen minutes into my rental, Mom asked me, "What is it you like so much about bitches?" She was referring to protagonist Emma Woodhouse, who at the start the novel is very unlikable indeed, something the movie leans into *hard*. (Some might say that she's not much better at the end. Those people are heartless monsters.) Mom also knows I just watched 6 seasons of Downton Abbey and developed a bit of a crush on Lady Mary Crawley, another character who always gets it her way. In response to her question, I replied, "I like women who are like my mother." We did not talk much for the rest of the movie.

The enjoyment of Jane Austen's story is Emma's journey of self-discovery through a series of misadventures and comic misunderstandings which the movie does perfectly. In fact, the movie does just about everything perfectly. If you can't get behind Miss Woodhouse and the rest of the amazing cast, you at least should be able to marvel at the lush, Technicolor-like cinematography and stunning Regency period outfits. (Oscars for everyone!)

If I have any complaint, it's that the relationship between Emma and her beau develops too quickly. (Austen's Emma is constructed more as a detective novel than a romance. All the clues are there the whole time, but nothing comes together until the end.) It's a minor quibble, and the modernization of the plot does nothing to damage an otherwise wonderful adaptation. (The Harry Potter movies disabused me of the notion that movies should be exact visual duplications of their source material. If you're going to adapt another piece of art, you need to bring something new to the table.)

I've been in such a foul humor lately, what with the eternal cycle of bad news, that it's truly an unexpected delight to have a distraction like this. While I've always highly recommended Emma, the novel, I can now do the same with Emma., the movie.

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I finally decided to throw in the towel on my current keyboard. I've never liked it. It's a ergonomic Microsoft Sculpt. While the layout is fine and the sensation of typing is pleasant enough (very reminiscent of a quality laptop keyboard), I can no longer tolerate the latency of the wireless connection. It often takes two presses of a key before it realizes I am typing, which can make both blogging and coding really, really frustrating.

Finally fed up, I decided to replace it with another ergonomic keyboard. I've been using the non-traditional keyboards for over a decade and a half, and I would rather not go back to a standard keyboard if possible. However, it was only after I decided on and ordered a wired Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard LXM-00001 that I realized I've never actually been fully satisfied with a Microsoft brand keyboard.

My previous keyboard was the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. It was a monster. I mean the thing was huge. It had so many media and macro buttons that I never used plus a built-in scroll bar. All those superfluous buttons only got in the way. (I'm not especially dexterous. I'm not even not-especially dexterous. Bulls in china shops have better fine motor control than I do.) The 4000 and I never really got along, and the bulky size is what prompted me to by the slimmer Sculpt. At least it was wired.

Prior to the 4000 was the Microsoft Comfort Curve 3000. (Why isn't the model I just ordered a 6000? I guess Microsoft was wary of eventually creating a 9000, a model number best avoided unless you're a huge fan of robicide and daisies.) Unlike the 4000, the 3000 and I got along well enough for a while. I used it for about 4 years, and wore many of the letters off. However, the tactile experience was never great — the keys always felt cheap and loose — and I think it was a lack of funds more than anything else that kept the two of us together for so long.

So why after years of disappointment with Microsoft keyboards did I order another instead of choosing a different brand? I can't answer that question. My first guess would be brain damage. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me four times in a row... maybe it's time for the artificial intelligence to make the decisions for me.

(Footnote: I've had the new keyboard for 24 hours now, and so far so good. Firm buttons and quiet. I'm actually quite pleased with it. Maybe this is why I keep choosing Microsoft: they come out of the box so nice. I'm sure everything will be fine — as long as they don't push any updates to it.)

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On May 29, I decided I couldn't put off buying a new chair for my computer desk any longer. I'd broken the wooden chair I'd been using. The last two wooden chairs, I'd used, in fact. What can I say? I sit a lot.

Research was done online. (You may have heard that there's a pandemic on, and I didn't want to visit any showroom and sit in potentially infected chairs.) The purchase was done online, too. I ultimately placed a $200 order via Amazon.com. The seller — who was not Amazon because Amazon doesn't actually sell anything itself anymore — said I should expect it between June 8 and June 11. It did not arrive by June 8. It did not arrive by June 11, either.

On June 12, I finally looked into the FedEx shipping system to discover that the package had arrived in their Georgia distribution center on June 4. It must have liked it there, because it didn't move again.

On June 14, I called FedEx, and the customer service representative took one look at his computer screen and told me that "anything that hasn't moved in that long we consider a lost package." But he couldn't help me find it. Instead, he recommended that I get in touch with the shipper so that the shipper could file a claim. The shipper told me they'd get back to me once they'd looked into it.

On June 18, no one had gotten back to me, but Amazon.com's algorithms finally allowed me to request a refund on an undelivered product. So I did.

On June 20, I got my refund. Now I have my money back, but I'm still sitting in a broken chair. Since Mom had already planned an outing to Costco on June 24, I figured I'd bring home whatever they had available. At this point, I'm willing to sit on just about anything.

On June 24, when I woke up, an email was waiting for me from FedEx. They say the chair had been found and would be delivered to my house. Hooray! I was finally going to get the chair I ordered. I don't know why they were sending it to me after all this time, especially if they had already given money back to the seller, but if it was going to show up at last, I figured I'd accept it and settle up with the seller later. So I went to Costco and didn't buy a chair.

And when I got home, I got an email from FedEx saying that delivery had been delayed. It'll be there on June 25 now, they promise.

*smh*

That's what I get. I'm going back to Costco tomorrow, and I'm coming home with a chair. If FedEx delivers another, so be it. As the old adage tells us: Two chairs are better than none.

UPDATE

On June 25, the chair was delivered before I could get to Costco. The box was in very bad shape, but the contents seemed well enough. So I assembled it and didn't buy a chair from Costco. But since the chair was finally delivered, I decided that I return my refunded payment to the seller. That proved to be another ordeal.

Long story short, as of July 2, the seller is paid (somewhat slightly less than the original amount), and I have a chair. The new moral here is that patience is a virtue, even when it can be hard to stand for.

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My Memorial/Independence Day yard art:

America still needs your help!

And a closer image from his inside stand (each painting so far has it's own foot so that it can be displayed in the house between visits to the yard):

Based on art by Marvel Comics

I created Captain America about two feet taller than Santa Claus because he's someone everyone should look up to. (Santa Claus, on the other hand, is a dirty socialist.)

Happy Memorial Day!

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I've been wondering how I will remember these dark days when we come out the other side. Travel restrictions, face masks, food shortages.... Frankly, we probably should have experienced it before now. America has been continuously at war with someone or other since 2001, and the public hasn't experienced any hardships like what happened in previous wars. Would we still be in Afghanistan if Americans had to share rolls of toilet paper in 2002?

Waaaaay back in the first week of March, when it became clear to everyone that this Covid-19 thing was going to be a real problem for neo-isolationist America, I rather naively believed that if everyone hunkered down, it would all blow over within two months. What a sucker I was for assuming everyone in the country was taking the plague very, very seriously. Like, prison solitary confinement seriously. However, I failed to take into account that no one can tell an American that they can't enjoy a Big Mac while test-firing their AR-15 inside the church of their choice. 'Merica!

It's now quite obvious that this thing isn't going to be over any time soon. I'm no president, but even I recognize that we can't start to relax restrictions until we know actually who has and who can spread the disease. Two months in, we've managed to test less than one percent of the country. At the current pace, it will take another sixteen years to test the rest. That speed will inevitably accelerate, but by any metric, we're still many months away from where we need to be for resuming what used to pass as "business as usual."

Personally, I'm still terrified that I'll catch the disease and give it to my family. Last month, I broke my piggy bank to renew my UGA football season tickets, but I cannot imagine that I'd attend any of those games if something doesn't drastically change in the next five months. Given the pace of progress, I'm beginning to suspect those games won't be played at all, at least not with fans in the stadium. I don't know what I'll do without football — specifically college football, that is. If the NFL doesn't play this fall, it may be a good excuse for me to give it up. It's not like the Dolphins have been all that entertaining over the past two decades.

I don't have much of a reputation for "staying positive," but I'm trying. Fewer cars on the road will help with global warming. Families will have time together they otherwise never would have experienced. People can explore new hobbies. For example, I'm now delivering what groceries I can find to my father, who is spending his time writing Trump fan fiction. Such is life in 2020.

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So, when I took down my Santa Claus decoration for Christmas, I left two anchoring poles embedded in the front yard. Rather than let me pull them out, Mother insisted that I create more decorations for other holidays.

Turns out, I've got nothing else to do.

Introducing my Easter Bunny:

Easter Bites Back

Here's another beside the front door for better scale.

The great American chocolate bar.

I'm already working on the next piece. (I had to brave a trip to Michael's, where only 10 customers are allowed inside at a time, to pick up some blue paint.) I'll show it off when I get closer to July.

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Is this a little late for April Fools Day? Yes, it is. But I just got my power back after an unexpected storm caused considerable problems for my neighborhood on Tuesday. (Out like a lamb my ass.)

Anyway, a little holiday appropriate fooling around with Weird Al.


And a YouTube link, in case you don't see the embed above.

Hmm. I have his version of Peter and the Wolf around here somewhere. Oh, there it is.

Yes, I have a football on my nightstand

Al and I go way back. I first heard In 3-D — still my favorite Al-bum — while at summer day camp at Stone Mountain Park. (Which may be why "Nature Trail To Hell" remains one of my favorite tracks.) My brother gave me "Weird Al" Yankovic, his debut album, as a present in 1985. (I suspect that Mom and/or Dad actually bought it, probably at the Turtle's on Memorial Drive.) Polka Party came to me as a 11th birthday present at Six Flags Over Georgia. (It is the only thing I remember about that party, and possibly the only good experience I associate with that park.) And I spent weekends in 1989 recording lip-syncing videos to the UHF soundtrack. (I've written about my love for UHF before.)

My brother worked for a Hollywood agent for a few years after college in the 20-aughts, and the only celebrity that he met that made me star struck about was Weird Al. Trey bumped into in line at the post office. Trey had very nice things to say about both David Duchovny and Allison Janney, but that Weird Al goes to the post office himself makes him a bigger star in my book.

Keep on being weird, Al.

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There's been not much else to do lately other than watch movies.

27. (1681.) Naughty Marietta (1935)
In this musical romantic comedy in the vein of Taming of the Shew, opera-singing Marietta (not her real name) is "naughty" in the same sense as a headstrong child, not a burlesque dancer. I only figured that out once I realized they were all singing that high-falutin' opera stuff. (Opera fans don't care for titties.)

29. (1683.) Girls Trip (2017)
Stealing every scene and delivering all the laughs, Tiffany Haddish deserves her status as breakout star in this, an otherwise unremarkable raunchy sex comedy. Which is not to say that it's bad. Raunchy sex comedies by their very nature aren't trying to break new ground in cinema. The genre is dependable comfort food, much like Coca-Cola for the eyes.

Drink Coke! (Girls Trip)

What's that, you say? You think a disposable cup in a street scene isn't intentional product placement? Ok, fine. How about this?

Drink Coke! (Girls Trip)
Case Closed.

30. (1684.) Pygmalion (1938)
Once upon a time, my father, discovering I hadn't seen My Fair Lady, said, "Aw, just tell everyone it's a remake of Pygmalion." Now that I've finally seen Pygmalion, holy shit. It's exactly the same film, minus the songs. I always thought Rex Harrison was a dick in My Fair Lady, but that's not his fault; it's the part. Sorry, Rex.

31. (1685.) Manhattan (1979)
An utterly beautiful movie better watched with the sound off. Woody Allen goes out of his way to make his own life miserable in almost all of his movies, and he doubles down here, dating a child and sleeping with his best friend's mistress. Yeah, that's going to end well.

32. (1686.) The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017)
I suspect that the reason Ryan Reynolds' roguish charm works in this film is due in no small part to Samuel Jackson doing his best to one-up him. They seem like they're having fun, and that's often infectious for the audience.

34. (1688.) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
While I really appreciated the cynical comedy in this, it's the ending that really sticks with you. Is this a Shakespearean comedy, or a tragedy cut off just before the fine act? A good conversation piece.

More to come.

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I was watching LEGO Masters (on Fox!) when this was shown on the screen for like, a whole 5 seconds, and I. Lost. My. Mind!

You are watching Foxes

That's Captain Carrot on national broadcast television!

I can see you sitting there shaking your head. No, obviously it's not the real Captain Carrot. He lives on Earth-C with the rest of his heroic Zoo Crew. And of course, Captain Carrot is a boy. (The original Roger Rabbit, in fact!) But still. On national television!

Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew was the first comic book that I collected. The concept was created for DC Comics in 1982 by Roy Thomas and Scott Shaw! with half an eye toward developing a Saturday morning cartoon. The cartoon never materialized, so the genius of a super hero league of funny animals remains visualized only by comics aficionados of a certain age.

I was so excited when I saw my first hero on TV but I didn't know who to tell. Who do I know who would be giddy to see Captain Carrot? We're a very niche group, and I assure you that you don't really want us at your parties. So I'm doing what those of us who were raised as the first Internet Generation do in these situations: I'm blogging about my thrilling experience.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a rabbit!

You're welcome, Internet.

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To be continued...

 

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