Showing 1 - 10 of 133 posts found matching keyword: family

As you may recall, I destroyed Mom's 2012 Kia Optima back at the beginning of August. Replacing it has turned out to be a bit of an uphill journey.

After a month of insurance negotiations and car shopping, Mom picked out a 2017 Nissan Murano the first weekend in September. (She was looking at a model with a heated steering wheel, and I talked her into saving $5000 by buying a slightly different car. As you will see, I should have kept my mouth shut.)

First try

The Murano had all the safety features she wanted plus luxury to spare. Unfortunately, it also had problems. We only had it for two weeks when I discovered rust under the dashboard (and under the driver's seat, and behind the rear seats, and around the spare tire . . .). It took Nissan another month to declare the problem a factory defect. Eventually, Mom negotiated a buyback under Georgia's Lemon Law. Goodbye, sweet Murano.

(On a related note, we're selling a set of black WeatherTech® floor mats for a 2017 Murano, if anyone is in the market.)

Mom started her car search over from the beginning. She still wanted safety features, but she never got used to driving such a large SUV. So she got something smaller instead. Introducing Mom's 2018 Ford Escape!

Try, try again

I promise you, I've been over the whole car with a magnifying glass. There's a scratch on the interior of the driver's side headlight cover, but I can't find anything else wrong with it. It certainly isn't rusted. (And it does have a heated steering wheel.)

The Escape only has a three-year warranty on the interior electronics, so if I'm going to ruin this one, I need to act fast. I'll keep you posted.

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In 2005, I watched Super Bowl 39 between the Eagles and Patriots at my father's house in Buford, Georgia, with my father and brother on Dad's large (26") CRT TV. We were cheering for the Eagles because they were Trey's favorite team (and, so far as I know, still are).

I don't recall feeling much drama in that game. I was confident that the Patriots would find a way to repeat as Super Bowl champions. (This would be their 3rd win in 4 years.) After the game, Trey claimed that he also expected the loss to the reigning champions, and that it didn't bother him to come so close to winning a Super Bowl only to lose to a great team.

I think he was lying.

Tonight, in the Super Bowl 52 rematch, the Eagles were finally the better team. Congratulations, Trey. You don't have to lie anymore.

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Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way.

167. (1226.) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

I asked Dad what he wanted to do for his birthday yesterday, and to my horror he said "I want to see Star Wars." So I took him to see it. (A child's job is never done.) Dad may not be, but I'm getting too old for this shit.

The original Star Wars wasn't exactly Shakespeare, but neither was it insulting. By comparison, The Last Jedi begs its audience to forget everything it knows about science and society, physics and psychology. I guess that's why it's marketed as a kid's movie — a kid's movie supersaturated with graphic violence, copious death, and a PG-13 rating. Say, if you're going to remake Empire Strikes Back, can you at least keep it under 2.5 hours, please? Sorry, but I can't suspend my disbelief long enough for this level of stupidity anymore.

Ugh. Every time I think about it, I find something new to irritate me. Unjustifiably incompetent Hux. Edsel bumper Phasma. Smug cartoon Snoke. Topless emo Kylo Ren. Horny Rey. Pointless Finn. Stalker Rose. Traitorous mass murderer Po. Atmosphere in space. Gravity-assisted bombers. Belated use of indefensible hyperspace missiles. Not enough Threepio! Aargh!

Was it all bad? No. Mark Hamill steals every scene he's in as Mirror Universe Luke Skywalker. Dead Yoda is the best Yoda. And I particularly enjoyed Benicio Del Toro's parting "maybe." But then how did Del Toro's DJ know the crucial piece of information that led there? Damn it! It's impossible to even praise this movie without tripping into another of its innumerable flaws.

There were parts where I think I could see where director Rian Johnson wanted to take the movie's theme of loss and transcendence. These themes would sit much better in the third act of a trilogy than the second, so why here and now? How much of a role did Disney's executives play in distorting that vision to keep its golden goose laying? I don't know. At this point, I don't care.

The worst of it is that I'm afraid this isn't the last Star Wars film I'll have to see. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. And hate leads to me being in the theater for whatever dreck Disney cranks out next Christmas. Let the past die, Dad!

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This year Mom woke me up early (read: noon) because she was eager to open her Christmas presents. She actually shouted that I needed to wake up and see what Santa Claus brought me. Then she tossed a small bag of coal in my bed. Bah, humbug!

When did I become the parent in this relationship?

I gave Mom a coffee press. She gave me a VR headset that turned my smartphone into a migraine-inducing nightmare machine. Together, we had a great time. I can't wait to do it all again next year.

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For no good reason, I bought a Wilton gingerbread house kit from Michaels earlier this month with the plan that Mom and I would build it together. That plan was somewhat spoiled when my father interrupted our house raising. (He needed tech support for the Kindle I bought him last Christmas that he just now decided to activate for the first time.) Mom went to bed while I was on the phone, and I finished our house without her.

We went shopping for a do-over replacement kit, but Michaels was sold out. Rather than give up, I doubled down. I found a recipe and made enough gingerbread for two more houses, one for Mom to decorate and one for me. (No tech support call could defeat this plan!)

'Are you going to make a gingerbread house?' asked the cashier. 'I did that when I was a child.'
Click photo to embiggen.

In the photo above, the shared kit house is on the left with the rainbow roof. Mom's greenhouse is in the middle. My sloppy icicle house is on the right.

For my standalone house, I decided I was only going to use candy accessories that I would eat. Turns out, I don't like the taste of rainbows. Who knew?

Though I'm reasonably satisfied with the final results, the best part wasn't decorating but baking the gingerbread. (The house smelled so good!) Therefore, next year I think we'll just decorate homemade gingerbread men. And we'll turn off our cellphones, just in case.

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I said I was going to double time these movie reviews to get done with 2017 before 2018, so here you go. First batch of movies watched in December.

157. (1216.) Foodfight! (2012)
Back when I had a brother, he said I didn't know what a bad movie was because I didn't watch enough movies. Then, when I began tracking movies watched on this blog, he said that I was being too indiscriminate and not watching good enough movies. In honor of Trey, I intentionally watched this, widely regarded as perhaps the worst animated movie ever made. Don't do this to yourself. Please, please, please, do not watch Foodfight!. I could write a whole post about the many, many things that are wrong with it, but it doesn't deserve the attention. And Trey, if you read this, know that I still think Armageddon was a worse movie-watching experience.

158. (1217.) Clash By Night (1952)
This was a better noir/romance hybrid than I was expecting, probably because I missed the opening credits and didn't realize that Fritz Lang was the director. Extra credit to "Uncle Vince" who I wanted to punch in the face for being too much like me.

159. (1218.) Trainwreck (2015)
Despite the rave reviews I'd heard, I found this to be a cute but ultimately forgettable romantic comedy in the Apatow vein, probably because Apatow directed it.

160. (1219.) The King of Comedy (1982)
I hated, hated, hated this film. Robert De Niro employs all the aspects of his film persona that I enjoy least. Yet I watched the film to the end, so it deserves some credit for keeping me watching to find out how it ended. I just wanted to see De Niro get what was coming to him. Those of you who know this movie can imagine my reaction at the final curtain.

161. (1220.) Private Parts (1972)
This low-budget horror movie, on the other hand, was right up my alley. Creepy voyeurism in a decrepit hotel flavored with coming-of-age sexuality and a double twist ending. What's not to love?

162. (1221.) BMX Bandits (1983)
Nicole Kidman's Australian film debut! It's a cops 'n robbers kids movie but still very watchable if you like BMX racing and dated tricks performed by people wearing more elbow and knee pads than any real BMX rider has ever worn.

More to come.

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In 1977, my father took me to see Star Wars after he had already seen it once. He loved it and wanted me to love it too. I don't remember anything about that experience. I was only 2. However, we did have a VCR — it was huge with faux wood paneling — and I would watch the movie over and over and over again in the years following. We also recorded and rewatched the infamous Holiday Special.

In 1981, my father took me to see Empire Strikes Back in a theater after it had been playing a few weeks. I can't tell you exactly where. All I remember was that it had red walls in the lobby. Though at the time I was disappointed by the cliffhanger ending, I wasn't disappointed enough not to love all the cool new toys. Not long afterwards, my brother accidentally decapitated my original black-vested Han Solo figure, and my parents replaced him with a Han in Hoth gear. What a downgrade. (I retaliated by running over Trey's sensorscope R2-D2 with my bicycle.)

In 1983, my friend Greg Owens saw Return of the Jedi before I did. He complained the movie had too many purple-lipped talking dogs in it. Their catchphrase, Greg said, was "Eat your momma." When I finally saw it (again with my family, again theater unknown though probably in Stone Mountain, GA), his review was borne out. By Christmas, I had all the available Ewok action figures and a Wicket doll.

In 1999, I saw The Phantom Menace at the new Hollywood 24 theater in Atlanta with friends. The movie was fine enough — in fact I think I continue to like it more than many — but I was disappointed by how many people I spoke to seemed to love it for what they put into it, not what it was. Darth Maul, like Boba Fett before him, particularly irked me. Fans decided he was cool because he looked cool. Their love was for a thing they had created in their heads, not a character that had appeared on screen. This realization that fans loved the franchise not for what it was but for what they wanted it to be was the beginning of the end of my love affair with Star Wars. I have a hard time associating with people who worship style over substance.

In 2002, I watched Attack of the Clones at the United Artists Scottsdale Pavilions theater in Arizona with my brother. We both agreed the movie was terrible. Bad acting, worse writing. Between the forced romance and that CGI Artoo video game sequence, this film is almost unwatchable. I distinctly remember saying that the only reason anyone should pay money to see such a thing was to get out of the desert sun.

In 2005, I have no memory of watching Revenge of the Sith. My friend Keith has told me he remembers my laughter at the final reveal of Darth Vader, so I assume I watched it in Atlanta, presumably back at the Hollywood 24. It was awful. How could any so-called fans of the older Star Wars films still love this franchise after old Ben Kenobi was revealed as the kind of man who turned his back on his friends and his responsibilities, "master" Yoda was an isolationist failure, or Vader himself was a tantrum-throwing idiot? Weren't these supposed to be kids movies? Yuck! If this was the Star Wars Universe, I wanted no more part of it.

In 2015, I watched The Force Awakens at some theater on the north side of Atlanta with reserved seating in recliners that kept my feet from touching the ground. I didn't want to see it, but I'd made the mistake of saying I'd watch it if they found a way to bring Han Solo back. They did. I watched. I found it an insulting exercise in nostalgia. (Hey, guys, let's forget all that prequel nonsense. Remember what you liked about Star Wars? Here it is again!) It's now the highest grossing film of all time.

In 2016, I watched Rogue One at Regal Cinemas 11 in Panama City, Florida. It was my father's birthday present. It was a bad present. The movie was yet another excuse for brand reinforcement, a short story intended to fill gaps in the original Star Wars backstory with stereotypical yet well-costumed characters that would make good action figures.

In 2017, Disney released The Last Jedi. A new one already? As if I wasn't burnt out enough. I hear it's different. I hear this one will change everything I've ever thought about Star Wars. I feel like I've heard that before. Maybe I'll see it one day when it comes on television. Maybe. I'm not in any hurry anymore.

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I'll talk to you later.

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Another year in the books!

Kentucky 13, UGA 42

Today's Kentucky/UGA football game was the last home game for outgoing seniors Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, who combined for 238 yards and 5 touchdowns on the way to a 42-13 win.

(It wasn't really as close as the lopsided score indicates. By the end of the game, Kentucky players were gassed, and Georgia's second line of running backs kept gashing them. UGA had 381 rushing yards overall on the day.)

The win doesn't exactly make up for last week's collapse at Auburn, but it does inspire confidence going forward to Georgia Tech and the SEC Championship. Go Dawgs!

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Today was a UGA home game. The Bulldogs played Samford in Sanford Stadium at 7:30pm. However, I wasn't there to see it. Instead, I had to spend the day on Tybee Island with Mom.

She seeks sea shells by the sea shore.

Don't get me wrong. I love Tybee. (And I love Mom.) Tybee is a charming coastal town with some fantastic scenery. (And Mom is Mom.) I'm happy to report that most of the island survived Hurricane Irma just fine, though plenty of scars from last week's storm were still visible everywhere. But it wasn't Tybee's beauty or Irma's wrath (or Mom's Momness) that brought us to the Georgia coast. No, we were here to attend friend Brian's beach wedding in the shadow of Tybee's historic lighthouse.

Mom is a big fan of former Secretary of State George Marshall

Mom rented a wonderful house at 117 Cedarwood Drive, and she, Audrey, July, and I used it as a base of operations for our weekend stay. Mom frequently visited the beach (just a few hundred yards to our north) to collect shells, each time leaving Audrey behind to rue Tybee's draconian "no pets on the beach" policy.

Bring me back a pizza!

Sadly, I somehow managed not to take any pictures of the groom or bride, Veronika. For that matter, I don't have any pictures of groomsmen friends Ken, Keith, or Michael, either. The wedding party didn't show up on the beach until after the wedding officiant warned the attendees not to take pictures because that was the wedding photographer's job. Instead, you'll just have to be satisfied with this screen grab from the lovebird's official wedding website.

You know it's true because it's on the Internet.

In fact, the only picture I have of the wedding was taken by friend James. (James was one of my few friends in attendance who wasn't actually in the wedding party. Matt was the other. Why was I not in the wedding party? I'm sure it had no small part to do with my vowing to Brian after Keith's wedding that I would never wear anything dressier than jeans to a wedding again. "Except mine?" Brian asked. "Even yours," I answered. That's what I like about Brian. He listens.) James couldn't resist disobeying the order not to take any pics, but he somehow still managed not to get the wedding party. (Reminder: "Never do what James does.")

My wedding photo

I haven't attended a lot of weddings. I don't like them. Yet I found this one left an especially bittersweet taste for many reasons, not the least of which was that Brian was the last of my single friends likely to get married. From this point forward, we're all more likely to reunite at a funeral than another wedding. That's an uncomfortable thought, though it's better than imagining the possibility that I may have to sit through yet another wedding ceremony.

Thanks to Irma, there is much less dune area to be fined in.

Good luck, Brian and Veronika. Do me a favor and be so happy together that we don't have to do this all over again, ok? Thanks.

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To be continued...

 

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