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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.
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 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.
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.
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.")
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.
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.
Movies. June. 3/3.
90. (1149.) Cornered (1945)
The plot mostly involves Dick Powell getting hit in the head a lot until he accidentally murders the right guy. It might be a rough watch if not for Powell's commitment to the role. He totally owned the noir films he was in. He's so good at noir, it's almost hard for me to watch him in his early song and dance films.
91. (1150.) Gypsy (1962)
The true life story of
Gypsy Lee Rose Gypsy Rose Lee as told in song! I hope in real life, Gypsy Lee Rose Gypsy Rose Lee was more charming on stage than the very appropriately named Natalie Wood. (I liked the film anyway. It was pretty good when Wood wasn't on screen.)
92. (1151.) Zabriskie Point (1970)
My view of late 1960s counter-culture was formed purely by episodes of Dragnet and The Monkees. This film sets out to prove that both of those models were completely accurate. The movie is as beautiful as it is vapid, as though made with a child's understanding of hippie reality and a college art student's pretentious self-indulgence. Re-reading my review, I find I've made it sound far more enjoyable than it actually is.
93. (1152.) When the Game Stands Tall (2014)
Biopic of Bob Ladouceur, who comes across as the Jesus of high school football coaches. There's more than a little luck in his story, but I certainly wish more coaches would emphasize doing the right thing over gridiron victories.
94. (1153.) Wonder Woman (2017)
As I quipped to Coop, the film is called Wonder Woman because Mediocre Woman wouldn't sell as many tickets. Gal Godot is amazing. Everything else is only ho-hum. The third act in particular is a real slog. Way to wear out your welcome, Wonder Woman.
95. (1154.) I Married a Witch (1942)
Fantastic movie with some pretty good special effects for its era. Lana Turner has a reputation as a hell raiser and rumor has it that her costar liked to call this movie "I Married a Bitch." Perhaps that's why she seems so right for her role as a devil woman tricked into mortal matrimony. Recommended.
More to come.
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Not so long ago, Cam suggested that there should be an official Wriphe.com Seal of Approval. I approved of her suggestion.
And now I approve of this.
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That doesn't happen often. I think the last time I was sick was last spring. Once a year seems about right.
The only good thing about being sick is it give me an excuse to post this picture of an awesome wreath that friend Cam made last year out of Coca-Cola bottle caps.
When I do die (which won't happen from this illness, but is, sooner or later, inevitable), I don't want flowers. I want wreathes of Coke caps.
I'm super jealous that Cam finds time to make such cool art, while all I'm doing with my free time between coding video games is writing novels and getting sick. Obviously, I need to do something about my priorities.
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The Atlanta Falcons were up 28-3 over the New England Patriots late in the third quarter of the Super Bowl. No team had ever come back from such a deficit in the big game, and the Patriots didn't look like they were going to be the ones to do it. All Atlanta had to do was keep doing what they had been doing for the better part of 2 hours, and they would be NFL champions.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you who won.
The Falcons were good enough this year; they should have been able to beat the Patriots. But the one thing holding back, the lead weight around their necks, was their own history. The 1999 Super Bowl. The 2011 Divisional game. Now the 2017 Super Bowl. When a few plays late in the game went wrong, you could see the Falcons lose confidence that they could win. If you think you're going to lose, you're right.
I'm not a Falcons fan, but I do consider myself an Atlantan. This loss hurt. It hurt bad. Like a second betrayal by an unfaithful lover, it's the sort of pain you never get over. You can forgive, but you'll never forget. You can only blame yourself for believing she wouldn't do it to you again. A loss like this, in a city seemingly incapable of escaping it's terrible luck at team sports (1 MLB title, 0 NFL titles, 0 NBA titles, 0 NHL franchises), this loss leaves a permanent scar on our soul.
As my friend Keith, a Falcons fan since birth, said at the start of the postseason, "I'll believe the Falcons can win a Super Bowl the day after they win a Super Bowl." After this game, I don't think either of us will live that long.
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The final tally of movies watched in January was 14. I've already given you the first batch of 6 (including La La Land — have I mentioned La La Land?). So here are the remaining 8.
7. (1066.) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
I really don't understand why people like this movie. Yes, it's patterned after a World War II movie, but few of the "sci-fi" elements (by which I mean fantasy elements with electrical power) or enemy motivations make any sense. Worse, no time is spent on character development. (I swear, some of the characters exist just to sell toys.) Everyone seeing this already knows who wins, so when people start dying, as they must, THERE IS NO REASON TO CARE. If you don't just love all things Star Wars — because, I don't know, nostalgia? — avoid this exercise in fanwankery.
8. (1067.) My Favorite Brunette (1947)
Friend Otto called me an artless heathen because I mentioned that I don't like Bob Hope movies, so he insisted that I watch this. It's cute. I can definitely say that it's the best Bob Hope movie I've ever seen (but that's a pretty low bar).
9. (1068.) American Gigolo (1980)
This film, cut from the same cloth as Basic Instinct, looks and sounds like Miami Vice. No wonder Richard Gere only plays prostitutes or johns. He's good at it.
10. (1069.) Here Comes the Groom (1951)
Bing Crosby stars in a Frank Capra musical! If your idea of romance is hitting a woman over the head with a club and dragging her back to your cave as you whistle Johnny Mercer tunes, this movie is for you!
11. (1070.) Too Hot to Handle (1938)
Another "love" story that shows its age as Myrna Loy's career is destroyed and saved by A Number 1 sleazeball Clark Gable (and B Number 2 sleazeball Walter Pidgeon).
12. (1071.) When Ladies Meet (1933)
Myrna Loy has a heart-to-heart with her lover's wife. The dialog is pretty darn good. I liked it.
13. (1072.) The Barbarian (1933)
Rich fiancee takes a trip to Egypt where she is kidnapped by a prince posing as a peasant. She refuses his love and escapes back to her fiance. Then, at the wedding, she pledges her love to the prince. "Stockholm Syndrome" wouldn't be named for another forty years, but it could have been called "Barbarian Syndrome." Myrna Loy is beautiful, but this is not her best work.
14. (1073.) Midnight Lace (1960)
Doris Day plays a role that should have gone to Grace Kelly in this would-be Hitchcockian thriller. I found it predictable, but the suspense was still top rate.
More to come.
Auburn was ranked 9. They were favored by 10 points. Yet they haven't won in Athens since 2005. Do I have to tell you what happened next?
The evening started well, with a rare US flag display in one end zone and an F-16 flyover. Then the fellow who sits next to me showed up drunk. A fight broke out between two UGA fans a few rows in front of me, and then a second scuffle erupted when someone spilled his nacho cheese on someone else's jacket. However, things didn't really get ugly until the teams started playing football.
Auburn began the game with a truly dominant rushing attack. Their first drive was derailed only by a fumble. Their second drive resulted in seven easy points. Georgia, on the other hand, had nothing. They couldn't even get a break on a clear pass interference non-call. Bulldogs fans were not happy. Through halftime, the score remained 7-0. It looked like the sun was setting on what was left of our season.
Then, after halftime, Auburn inexplicably moved away from their run game. Instead, they devoted themselves to a passing attack that was more pass than attack. Auburn eked out only 37 yards in 22 passing attempts for the game and never scored another point. (Next time Auburn fans want to make an argument about firing Gus Malzahn, this should be exhibit A. If quarterback Sean White was nursing an injury, why ask him to do more?)
Meanwhile, UGA intercepted and returned a pass 34 yards to tie the game. Auburn continued to struggle while, in consecutive drives, UGA managed one field goal, missed a second, then made a third. UGA won, 13-7, without ever scoring a single offensive touchdown.
In 2016, we'll take what we can get.
(Special thanks to Friend Randy, an FSU fan who bought me a Coke before the game started and another after the game was over. That's friendship!)
EDIT 2016-11-13: I've been informed that television audiences were informed that Auburn stopped running the ball because they ran out of healthy running backs. All I can say about that is that the running back attrition wasn't obvious to those of us in the stands. I still think Malzahn would have had more success calling running plays for the quarterbacks instead of passes, but I'll have to trust he knows his personnel better than I do.
My third book is currently out for galley printing. It will be on the market by the first week in November (target release date is Halloween). It's time to start thinking about marketing.
What's the best method? Keyword targeted Internet advertising is always available (Google Ads, Facebook Ads) for CentralKingdomsChronicles.com, but that costs money. I read a lot about networking (establishing a Twitter presence, participating in like-minded communities), but that's never made much of an impact for Boosterrific.com. I'm sure that I should pursue multiple paths, I'm just not sure which are worthwhile.
Obviously, since I wrote a fantasy genre story, it's fantasy genre readers I need to reach. Perhaps I could advertise at local comic book shops. I also plan to give away the Kindle edition of all three books for free over the Thanksgiving/Black Friday holiday. (Readers are more important than profits. Can't have one without the other!)
For the record, I knew going in that book marketing is very, very difficult. So many book, so few readers. For every author I read who has been even moderately successful, the trick seems to have been time: Grind out story after story, book after book until someone takes notice. I'll soon have three. I guess I should get to work on four. Maybe before I get to one hundred, I'll finally make my first buck.
(For the record, as I type this, the first two books have generated exactly $54.41 since release, $49.63 in paperback and $4.78 for Kindle. [Oh, plus Ken bought me a Coke. That counts as profit.] The publisher won't cut me a check until I pass the $100 threshold. Perhaps the release of book three will put me over the top.)
If anyone thinks of anything else I might try, please tell me. In the meantime, if you've read and enjoyed my books, please tell your friends!
Culver's pulled a sneaky Grand Opening on Monday, August 1. I wouldn't have known about it if not for friend Randy's text notification. That's true friendship. Thanks, Randy.
For future reference, I'll just leave this here. (As a former Boy Scout, I know the value in being prepared. You never can tell when the urgent need for a ButterBurger® may arise.)
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Okay, now that I'm rested, let's continue the vacation!
Day 4 (June 30): National Portrait Gallery
- National Portrait Gallery
- Smithsonian American Art Museum
- National Gallery Sculpture Garden
I loved the portrait and American art museums. Loved 'em. I could have spent the whole week in there.
America's Sweetheart, Myrna Loy
Day 5 (July 1): Newseum
- United States Capitol
- Library of Congress
- Supreme Court
The Newseum is the only museum we paid admission fee for. It was worth it. I must not have been the only person to think so; it was pretty crowded. The one exhibit that was totally empty was the section investigating journalistic ethics. I wish that was a joke.
Library of Congress Great Hall
Day 6 (July 2): Back to Virginia
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
- Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
- Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- George Mason Memorial
- National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
- Air Force Memorial
- US Marine Corps Memorial
Udvar-Hazy is the satellite campus (ha, ha) of the Air and Space Museum located 30 minutes away from DC in Dulles, Virginia. Like all Smithsonian museums, admission is free. Parking will set you back $15. This museum is home to the Enola Gay and the Space Shuttle Discovery. It also has a Concorde and some foreign military aircraft, but otherwise, I didn't find it as impressive as the Warner Robins Museum of Aviation. At least in Warner Robbins, parking is free.
Remember the Maine
Day 7 (July 3): Lexington, VA
- Lee Chapel & Museum
- Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery
Lexington is home to Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Academy. No surprise it also has the final resting place of General Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Brian was very excited to stop here because it meant we'd completed our pilgrimage to the graves of all three men on Stone Mountain. (Lee and Jackson's horses, Traveller and Little Sorrel, respectively, are also on Stone Mountain, and both buried in Lexington as well.) Mission accomplished.
We returned home in the wee hours of July 4, and that was all right with me. I enjoyed the trip, but there's no place like home.