Showing 1 - 10 of 411 posts found matching keyword: walter

Questions from Hannah, part 2:

Why do you like cemeteries so much?

Because they are awesome. You can keep your forests and "grand" canyons. I'll take a cemetery any day.

Cemeteries are a reminder that the world wasn't built for me, that life only has the meaning we give it, that the journey is always more important than the destination. Memento mori!

When built right, the Victorian way, cemeteries are a delightful combination of storybook and park, usually filled with a bunch of spectacularly crafted art. As a bonus, most living people treat cemeteries with a serene reverence you don't find anywhere else, so cemeteries are simultaneously full of people and very quiet.

Truthfully, I think the idea of burying people in boxes in the ground is kind of ridiculous, but I love, love, love the stone monuments left above ground to mark their territory. If nothing else, those tombstones say "I was here," and that sort of yelling into the void of eternity speaks to me. What is a tombstone but a very succinct and enduring blog post?

And why do you call them cemeteries instead of graveyards?

Because that's what they are.

In the modern Western tradition, a graveyard is a type of cemetery that is on a church grounds while a cemetery is a community's common burial ground not necessarily connected to a specific church. For example, my town's local burial ground (established 1833) is officially Oak Hill Cemetery, though there are plenty of churches around here with their own much smaller graveyards. It's my experience that cemeteries are often more welcoming to visitors (and usually contain more delightfully ostentatious monuments) than graveyards, but I've been in plenty of delightful graveyards, too.

Personally, I can't say as I like the word "graveyard." A yard of graves sounds so very bleak, while there's almost something celebratory in a "cemetery." I like both of those much more than I like the euphemism "memorial park." The government should make you explicitly declare if you have a park full of corpses.

Looking at Online Etymology Dictionary, it would appear that both "graveyard" and "cemetery" have historically referred to more or less the same thing, so their use prior to the 19th century probably derives from whatever languages were spoken by a region's ancestors. And I suppose that maybe you live somewhere where "graveyard" has remained the preferred term, which is fine by me. Regional differences are fun!

You often mention the fact that you work at night and sleep through the morning; is your brain really more alert in the middle of the night?

I do think I do my best coding and most often find myself "in the zone" between 1 and 3AM, but I don't know if I would say that I am especially more alert in the darkness than I am in sunlight — I'm no vampire. I really like the late night because everyone else is asleep. For one thing, it's useful for my work: coding is easier without distractions, and it's easier to update websites, databases, and video game files when they aren't being as widely used. But I chose my occupation, not the other way around. I just like being the only person around. It's like the entire world becomes a cemetery, and you already know how I feel about that.

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I'm proud to report that has picked up a new reader! According to her email (subject line: "I like your blog!"), Hannah has followed me over from and has let me know that she has now read every single post going back to the beginning in 2003. She might be more dedicated to this site than I am.

Obviously, after reading that much drivel, Hannah has questions. Fortunately, most of her questions are about my favorite subject: me.

Let the self aggrandizement begin!

Why did you start blogging in the first place?

Back in the day — this was before Facebook and smartphones existed, mind you — I was in art school in Athens, GA, and wanted an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family who lived across the country. I do not enjoy A) talking on the telephone or B) repeating myself. So I built a place where anyone who cared to know could come to get critical updates about whatever it was I was doing at the time. I can't say as it worked, really, as only a couple of my friends (and my mother) have ever visited regularly. I still have to answer "what have you been up to?" too often for my personal tastes.

How do you decide what to post about?

At the core, the point of everything that I do is to keep myself entertained. I am very selfish that way.

I come from the land of Lewis Grizzard. (Google him.) Grizzard made a strong impression on a lot of people; many thought he was a real bastard, but my favorite restaurant still has a menu item named after his favorite dish: brunswick stew on a pulled pork barbecue sandwich served with onion rings, I never met him personally, but my encounters with his writings during my formative years led me to believe that one of the best possible occupations was "humorist newspaper columnist." So I generally approach content at as my own soapbox and diary with a goal of making it an enjoyable read in the (poorly imitated) vein of curmudgeonly satirists like Grizzard or Dave Barry or television's Stephen Colbert or Andy Rooney. (Google him too.) Quoth the Poppins: "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down."

When it comes to creating individual posts, I start by saying to myself, "Oh, shit! I haven't posted anything at in the past two days!" I picked an every-other-day schedule because it's just often enough to keep me motivated and just long enough to let me regenerate ideas. I ask myself, "Is there anything on my mind?" Sometimes there is, and I type that. And sometimes there isn't, and I stall (or punt).

And some days people ask me a bunch of questions and I answer them.

How long does it take you to craft a blog post?

I wish I was half as clever as I like to think I am. On average, probably about thirty minutes. Honestly, it's probably longer and I just don't want to admit that publicly. Sometimes it takes a very long time, especially for the five paragraph "college admission" essays in which I want to be sure I've gotten all of my punchlines just right. Grammar matters, but so does rhythm and timing. (The core of comedy is subversion of expectations. And banana peels.)

Hannah had more questions than that, but that's a good start. I have to have something to post later, after all. These posts aren't going to blog themselves.

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I'm an enthusiastic subscriber to The Week magazine, in part because it fills the void left by my newspaper subscription going digital. (Maybe I just need something to do with my hands while I read.)

Each week, The Week showcases an assortment of recently released books, and this past week their top recommendation went to Eve:

As it happens, there's a copy of Eve sitting on the table in my den right now. That's because Cat Bohannon is the daughter of my childhood piano teacher who moved back to New York state but still calls my mom to brag about her kids' accomplishments. (Hi, Rosemary!)

I haven't seen or spoken to Cat in many, many years, probably not since the last time I touched a piano keyboard. But it's still a kind of vicarious thrill to know that someone I once chased around a willow tree is a Big Deal now.

By the way, Rosemary is justified in her bragging. Cat's older brother is science journalist John, who has his own Wikipedia page (but I'll always think of him as the guy who teased me with prank phone calls in elementary school).

Meanwhile, I'm sitting in a basement reading old news and typing blog posts. Maybe I should have spent more time practicing the piano. Sorry, Mom.

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My aging computer, which I use 8 or more hours a day, has been showing signs of senility lately, so last Sunday I decided to buy a replacement. Specifically, I decided to buy a Razer, as that's what was available on sale at with the specs that friend (and boss) James recommended. Before going through a shopping cart, I did a little research and discovered that had an even better price on their own product. So I decided to order directly from the manufacturer instead. That proved to be a mistake.

No sooner had I completed their checkout process than Razer promptly sent me an email to notify me that the transaction had been "unsuccessful" and urged me to get in touch with their customer service, which I did immediately via chat. The representative told me they would "forward a support ticket to the relevant team" to verify me as a legitimate buyer so that my purchase would be processed by their system "automatically." Except it didn't.

On Monday, I got another email, telling me that the whole problem was my credit card processor. They said I needed a payment authorization code to clear up the problem, so I called my bank. Turns out the bank's AI was naturally suspicious of such a large purchase of nearly $3,000 — don't judge me — and killed the transaction. Fine. It happens. In fact, I appreciate the caution. Except they could not give me an authorization code because no payment had actually ever been authorized. They said I'd need the merchant to run the transaction again.

I told Razer this, and they said they couldn't run a charge against the original order; I would have to just place a whole new order. One small catch: between Sunday night and Monday morning, Razer raised the price of the machine by more than 13%. Since I was only shopping from them because they had been cheaper than Best Buy, I asked their customer service to honor Sunday's price. They declined. I explained that in that case, there was no longer any incentive for me to buy from and they followed up by politely suggesting that I "explore authorized Razer resellers, where you might find attractive deals and promotions."

In hindsight, perhaps I should have expected that. The Sunday representative ended our chat by telling me that "right after you end the chat, you might receive a survey for you to provide us with feedback. The survey is all about ME as your assistance buddy as how I tried my best to assist you today, and not with Razer services" (emphasis mine). Hint, hint, Walter.

Anyway. This is all just a longwinded way of explaining why I will not be buying a Razer computer from any Razer reseller, authorized or otherwise. If they don't want me to buy their product, I'm more than happy to oblige.

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Earlier this week, the Jeep overheated (again) and required a $600 radiator replacement. After a year of family car malfunctions, the receptionist at my mechanic's shop now recognizes me on sight and has started looking at me like she thinks I might be a little crazy whenever I try to explain why I'm bringing in another car. All I said this time when I dropped off the key was, "It's overheating and I don't know why. I mean I know it overheated because the water is all gone, but I don't know where it went." Nothing crazy about that at all.

Things did not get better when I went to reclaim my Jeep. Mother followed me inside and watched over my shoulder as I paid the bill because she wanted to be sure I asked the receptionist if they noticed anything wrong with the Jeep's oil levels while they were replacing the radiator. (The oil slick in the garage is quite noticeable when the Jeep isn't parked over it.) With Mom staring me down, I had no choice but to ask, and the receptionist kindly answered, "You're not supposed to put oil in the radiator." I might need to find a new mechanic who doesn't know me.

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I have a migraine. (Today's symptoms: headache, loss of vision, numbness in left hand.)

That is all.

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The lesson learned from 10 years of self portraits? Smart phone cameras sure have come a long way.

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After winning 2 consecutive National Championships, the University of Georgia football program has rewarded its loyal season ticket holders with a schedule consisting of traditional rivals Auburn, Vanderbilt, Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia Tech... all on the road. (Florida is the "home" team when the World's Largest Cocktail Party is played in odd-numbered years at the "neutral" site inside the state of Florida).

By comparison, the home schedule is UT Martin, Ball State, South Carolina, UAB, Kentucky, Missouri, and Mississippi. This is, without a doubt and by a very wide margin, the worst home schedule I've seen in my two decades as a season ticket holder. Mississippi is the only game with any promise of being a worthwhile watch, and I'm sure I could get pretty damn good seats to that for much, much less than what I paid for the entire slate. ($1,720 this year, if you're keeping track at home.)

I figured if any of those unworthy cupcakes was going to make for a fun experience, it would be the opener against UT Martin, with the debut of UGA XI "Boom" (following this week's unexpected death of Sonny Seiler), a rare 6PM kickoff, and a crowd eager to celebrate the 2022 National Title.

UT Martin 7, UGA 48

I was wrong.

In November of last year, I made a note to myself that games like the 2022 contest against Tennessee (ranked No. 1 at the time) were the reason I annually buy season tickets. Games like this are the reason no one should.

UGA rightfully treated the game against the NCAA Division I FCS Skyhawks like a glorified practice, with Mike Bobo's patented vanilla play-calling and an offense that looked like they could have used a few more weeks of minicamp. The shadows advanced down the field faster than either team. The word "boring" doesn't quite describe how uninspiring it all was. I've had more fun watching Pop Warner drills. If Georgia played like that against an SEC opponent, well, no one would be talking about three-peating, that's for sure.

What was worse was that UGA has now closed Gillis Bridge overlooking the West end zone on game days, which also closes our traditional route into the game. When we did finally arrive inside Sanford Stadium, Mom quickly overheated in the blaring late afternoon sun. So we left as the band cleared the field at halftime, having had a simply dismal experience. Given that a total time of 3 hours and 40 minutes would pass before the final whistle was blown (in a game that was televised to a very limited streaming audience but with a full complement of television commercials), I'm certain we made the right call.

Maybe I'll go back when a competent SEC team comes to town... in November.

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This is the 3,606th post at Well, actually, there were somewhat more than that; the earliest posts were uploaded via a flat file to be rendered in (now-defunct) shockwave format, and I periodically overwrote the file with updated content for the first 6 months or so. I'm sure that those lost posts weren't particularly noteworthy, and it's important for me to remember that what I am typing right now is just as pointless and ephemeral.

They say that the Internet is forever, but that's far from true. Digital doesn't outlast paper, and even stone eventually turns to sand. One day, my lease of this domain will lapse and/or my web host will stop serving this content. Then all of these 3,606 posts (plus however many else I get around to before then) will disappear. Presumably, when that happens, I won't be in any state to care.

I have never believed that everything (or even most) that I post is deep or insightful. Or interesting to anyone but me. The world should not mourn the loss of my drivel.

It's encouraging to hope that something I've posted will leave a lasting impression on someone somewhere, if only for a little while. But I don't think that really matters. Wriphe should be enjoyed each moment as it is encountered, without regard for the future or past.

So if you think this post sucks, just forget about it. Come back in a few days, and I'll have something new. That's just how Wriphe works.

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It seems that every news outlet today is reporting that Flamingo (a time management app) reported that the most common Sick Day in America (according to their data) is August 24.

First of all, congratulations to Flamingo for getting their product's name in everyone's mouth. I see what you did there. I didn't previously know what a "paid time off" app was, and I do now. Good job, guys. Someone was working hard on August 24th.

Secondly, I believe it. (Judging from the amount of coverage this "news" got, so do most other people.) Late August is too blisteringly hot, humid, and uncomfortable to work outside, and school just got back in, introducing everyone to strains of disease that had been developing in secluded households over the summer. It's a perfect storm!

Personally, I'm still doing work today, even though I don't want to. Frankly, I'm a bit depressed, which may be a result of working too hard and getting too little sleep for the past few days/weeks. I could probably use a day off.

If only there was an app that could help me schedule something....

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To be continued...


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