Showing 1 - 10 of 425 posts found matching keyword: walter

Google has added an "AI Overview" to the top of its search results, and I don't like it. It's not that I don't like having a quick response for queries likes "define calumnies" or "weather radar newnan ga," it's that I don't trust the AI's fact checking abilities yet. And I especially don't like any response that starts "According to a Facebook post,...".

In my high school history classes, when I wasn't being told that I would fail Georgia's statewide standardized tests if I didn't say that the South fought the Civil War over "States Rights," I was taught to consult primary sources for accurate answers. (In hindsight, I'm sure this was the teacher's way of telling me the whole "States Rights" thing was bullshit, but we didn't have easy access to actual historical transcripts of the South Carolina Declaration of Secession in the days before the Internet.)

I've played around with Chat GPT enough to know that it is less reliable than a Wikipedia page. So when I already have to Google at least 6 different variations of "lg washer inlet valve" to find the correct replacement part number, I'm not inclined to believe whatever word salad response the AI scrapes from untrustworthy websites in response to even my casual queries asking for things like "children's television hosts atlanta 1950s 60s" or "who wrote transformers tv episodes."

I know that I'm in the minority here. I don't like explainer YouTube or TikTok videos, either. I happen to enjoy research. I grew up with libraries and printed periodicals, and I can read pretty quickly. Just give me a list of links, Google, and let me do the hard work of finding the right answers. I'd much rather have open questions than wrong answers.

If I have to get my mother to fact check all of Google's responses, I might as well start my own website called Ask My Mom. I don't want to have to do that if I can avoid it. Mom's smart, but there are definitely some queries I'd just never ask her, if you know what I mean. (I'm looking at you, "dua lipa acm awards dress.")

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I remembered that second (of three) thing I was going to post yesterday! I was going to say that I finally took a COVID test.

Not because I thought I might have COVID, mind you. I took it because our last government-provided COVID tests were expiring, and we were going to throw them away. As a shut in who aggressively shuns human contact, I had never had cause to take one yet, and I figured I didn't want to miss the opportunity to see what all the hubbub had been about.

For the record, yeah, that stick up my nose tickled... until it drew blood, so I might have been a little too enthusiastic. But it was all good news:

1526 days and counting (knock on wood)

My memory may not be doing so great, but still no COVID. Yet.

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Three things:

Thing One: Coca-Cola's summer promotion involves decorating their cans and bottles with pictures of Marvel Comics super heroes. I bought a 24 pack expecting an assortment of heroes, but no, all 24 cans were the same picture of Electra. Very disappointing. I've now drunk more cans of Coca-Cola with Electra's picture on them than I have bought comic books with Electra pictured in them. Meanwhile, my aunt bought me a 20-oz bottle of Coke Classic because she saw a picture on it of some guy in tights on it and thought I would like it even though she had no idea who it was or which characters I liked. It was Wolverine. To be fair to my aunt, even though I haven't bought a single Wolverine comic in decades, I have definitely bought more Wolverine comics in my lifetime than I have bought Elektra comics.

Thing Two: When I composed this post in my head while walking the dogs, I knew there were three things. However, I don't currently remember what thing two is. Give me a minute. I'll come back to this one.

Thing Three: I wore a kilt for the first time yesterday. I'd been saying for years that I was going to shop for one at the annual Georgia Renaissance Fair, but haven't, in part because it seems a little like cultural appropriation to me, even though Mom can trace her (and therefore mine) very WASPy ancestry well back to Scottish Clan Napier in the 18th century. I ended up buying one online, a modern cotton twill utility kilt instead of the traditional wool tartan because the whole point of wearing one was to stay cooler in the long Georgia summer. To my surprise, I liked it. I liked it a lot, especially while walking the dogs. I might buy another.

Thing Two Again: Hmm. I recently broke a part on our washing machine, but I don't think that was it. And my car was in the shop again, but that's not it either. Shit. What was I going to say here?

You know what? Never mind. It couldn't have been that important. So just two things, then.

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As I type this, the South Park episode in which Cartman inherits a million dollars and uses it to buy an amusement park (which causes Kyle to lose his faith in God) is on the 33-inch 16:9 ratio flatscreen LCD television beside my computer. According to Wikipedia, that episode, "Cartmanland," first aired on July 25, 2001. That's almost twenty-three years ago!

I distinctly remember watching the broadcast of the debut episode of South Park ("Cartman Gets an Anal Probe") on Comedy Central on basic cable via our communal 24-inch 4:3 ratio CRT TV in the apartment I shared with friends and former classmates Matt and Randy in unincorporated North Druid Hills. Matt had invited our old high school classmate, Tabitha, over for the evening, and she was absolutely appalled by the course humor, which, of course, only made it funnier. That was August 1997, and I was already in my second college.

To put those dates into perspective, I also distinctly remember watching the 20ish-inch wood-paneled TV in our family's basement as channel 46 (on the UHF dial) weatherman Denny Moore, wearing what we would now call Trekker cosplay, hosted a New Year's Eve 1980-something marathon of original Star Trek episodes. Although I'm not entirely sure of the year, I am sure that whatever year it was was definitely prior to The Next Generation being a thing.

The point of that being that in hindsight, there was less time between the date of that rerun marathon and the original broadcast dates of those Star Trek episodes than there has been between between now and 9/11.

Honestly, I'm starting to think that the real difference between the past and the present is that there were barely 3 seasons of Star Trek and South Park has a contract to keep making episodes into its 30th season. The Good Old Days were a very brief time indeed.

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Baby, don't hurt me

"Love is the most important thing on Earth. Especially to a man and a woman."

—Captain James T. Kirk, "Gamesters of Triskelion"

My Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary, Unabridged has eight different definitions for the noun form of love, chief among them "a strong affection or attachment or devotion to a person or persons." That pretty much matches the good captain's use of the word. (I'm sure Kirk also loves the fifth definition: "sexual passion or its gratification," which, you may note, does not require any "person or persons" on this earth or any other).

Maybe I'm devoid of strong passion, but my personal definition of love has always been a little more concrete. So far as I can tell, anything you love is something that you value more than yourself. For most people, that's not a lot of things, if any. (It's no wonder I'm still single after all these years.)

The word gets thrown around a lot (especially by starship captains on the make), but how often is it accurately employed? It's a common trope of art and literature that one lover would be willing to die for another, and I accept that most parents (usually) place their children's interests before their own. But how often do you meet anyone willing to lay down their lives for property? Or strangers? Or a whole society? Or chocolate? Maybe we don't encounter those people often because they don't have long lives.

Conversely, my definition of hate is disliking something enough that you're willing to destroy yourself to destroy it (also a common trope in literature, usually for villains and anti-heroes). I've used that word a lot in my life, but like my use of the word love, it has usually been an exaggeration when all I really want is a word stronger than dislike or disapprove. (Despise? Detest? Disdain?) Rationally I recognize that anything I might hate is rarely actually worth my being sacrificed for it.

Obviously, human beings are not governed by the Three Laws of Robotics, which place the priority of self-preservation dead last, meaning that by my definition, Asimovian robots have a greater capacity for love (and hate) than human beings. I don't know what Mr. Spock would have to say about that, but I'm reasonably certain that Kirk wouldn't hesitate to love a machine, assuming it had enough I/O interfaces.

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Today is May 4, which is internationally celebrated as Star Wars Day. I was aware of this, but not consciously aware that's what the date was when I went to bed last night (er, early this morning). I guess my subconscious mind picked up the slack.

I dreamed that I met Mark Hamill, gray hair and gray beard, out at night walking his dog, a smallish, dark-coated mutt. (His dog actually met me first, as it had escaped its leash and ran up the street to greet me beside a blue chrome Dodge Charger parked on the wet street). Mark—we're on a first name basis now— arrived and apologized, and I told him not to worry, I like dogs and I like Mark Hamill. I told him that I was a big fan of his work ever since Star Wars. I was very careful not to tell him that I thought Luke was too whiney ("I care!") and preferred Han. We shook hands and parted ways, each of us continuing our separate journeys walking in separate directions.

That's it. The whole dream. Me telling Mark Hamill that his career has brought me great joy for decades. I sure hope he (and his dog) are as nice in real life as they are in my head.

May the Fourth be with you.

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As is usual this time of year, our power went out in yesterday's storm at 10:12PM. The first notice from the power company estimated a restoration by 1:15AM. After they missed that deadline, they said 4:30. Then they said 6:30. They did finally get it back on... at 11:30AM.

I get it; they were busy. It was a blustery night, after all. And mine was the only outage in my county, whereas there were many counties to my north fairing much, much worse. But if you know you're going to be busy helping others, can you at least give me better estimates, Georgia Power?

I've gotten used to these sorts of long-duration springtime power outages over the years. What made this one a little more annoying than usual was that I had just made the mistake of putting all my pillowcases in the washing machine just before the power failure, so I didn't have any pillows to sleep on during the long, dark night. (You don't think I'm going to put my head on a pillow without a case, do you? Ye, gods!)

Dad said that the lesson I should take away from this experience is that from now on, I should never wash all of my pillowcases in one load. I hate to say it, but he's probably right.

Don't expect me to say that again, Dad.

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Nope, I got nothin' today. I'm depressed, and it's rainy. So, like my dogs, you'll just have to find a way to entertain yourself elsewhere.

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The headline at Atlanta's Fox 5 was "Over 850 pounds of crystal meth found in Norcross storage unit." My first thought on reading the article was, "wow, that's a lot of drugs." My second thought was, "how do you dispose of that much meth?" The article didn't say, which if you ask me is a real indictment of the modern clickbait era of journalism.

Left to my own devices, I did what I usually do when I have a question: I googled it.

That was a mistake.

I only write this so that when I am arrested and the DA introduces into evidence my Google search history and social media feeds full of helpful instructions about what I should do with my stash when the cops inevitably come kicking in my door, I can say that it was all because I read a poorly reported news story.

(To save you the same trouble, let me report that the answer appears to be "mix it with bleach." I'm guessing a lot of bleach. I have not yet worked up the courage to google how to dispose of that.)

In addition to "how to dispose of crystal meth," these are some other actual Google searches I made in the last 2 weeks: "who likes licorice," "why am I paying 24% taxes," "life is not all sex and sun lamps," and "green lantern condoms." What can I say? I'm a curious guy.

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One of the drawbacks of having no hair left is that there's no cushion to protect your scalp when you climb a stepladder to replace insulation that has fallen from the ceiling joist in your studio and you smash your head against the corner of a dangling two-by-four you installed to hold canvas stretchers. It could happen to anyone.

It hurt. A lot. And the worst part was that I did it while I was home alone, so I had to clean and dress the hole in the top of my head myself. I'd show you a selfie picture of the damage, but Mom always says, "No one wants to see your injuries."

So instead, here's a picture of yesterday's sunset on my street.

He's too small to see here on the blog, but the neighbor's Irish Setter, Skipper, is standing in the driveway. Good boy, Skipper!

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To be continued...

 

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